Snapshot of Recent Trends in Asbestos Litigation 2021 Update

28 July 2021
Mary Elizabeth C. Stern and Lucy P. Allen

In their 13th annual review of recent trends in filings and settlements in asbestos litigation, NERA Director Mary Elizabeth C. Stern and Managing Director Lucy P. Allen use publicly available data to analyze trends in asbestos-related liabilities for more than 150 asbestos defendants spanning from 2001 to 2020.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Average dollars per resolved claim increased for a third year, up 11% in 2020, with a cumulative increase over the past three years of 84%.
  • Total payments increased 12%, after falling in 2019, but remained within their historical range.
  • Reserves dropped for a second year, reversing the growth in reserves from 2015 to 2018.
  • Dismissal rates reached a plateau, and the number of claims resolved in 2020 increased.
  • New claim filings fell 13%, as claim filings continued their six-year decline.

In addition to reviewing 10-K filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for 2020, the authors collected data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program on the incidence of mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States. The authors found that mesothelioma incidence dropped 12% in 2018, falling to the lowest level since 2010.

Please contact the authors if you would like NERA to analyze your asbestos data in conjunction with that of other public companies in a benchmarking study.