On Wednesday, March 13, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law held a hearing on H.R. 982, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013. Introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) with Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), the FACT Act is bipartisan legislation that would combat fraud and abuse of the asbestos trust system.
The NAM supports H.R. 982 and appreciates the leadership of Reps. Farenthold and Matheson on this important issue. The Subcommittee’s hearing helps expose areas of fraud that plague the asbestos trust system. Without proper oversight and checks on the system, increasing fraud and abuse will harm the truly needy and diminish asbestos trust fund resources.
The FACT Act would require trusts to quarterly disclose information on their claim payments and to cooperate in requests for information on claims and, while protecting a claimant’s sensitive personal information, would deter fraud and abuse without impacting legitimate claims. Opportunistic individuals currently are able to file claims for the same claimant with numerous trusts using different and conflicting theories of exposure, seeking multiple payouts. The FACT Act is a commonsense reform of the system that would inject transparency, creating a disincentive for fraudulent activity and protecting the individuals for whom the trusts were established. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation.
Erik Glavich is director of legal and regulatory policy, National Association of Manufacturers.