A Norfolk widow has called for the Government to help asbestos victims and their families overcome barriers to obtaining compensation.

Caroline Squires from Wacton in Norfolk, has voiced her support for an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) after her husband, Almer, died from asbestos related cancer mesothelioma.

Mr Squires, died in October 2008, aged just 66 after undergoing surgery and radiotherapy to treat the disease.

There is no cure for mesothelioma which is caused by asbestos.

Exposed to asbestos by County Oil Heat Company, Woodbridge Road, Guildford

Mr Squires, who left behind two children and four grandchildren, was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a management trainee for County Oil Heat Company on Woodbridge Road in Guildford between 1962 and 1964.

The company later changed its name to Oilheat Services (Guildford) Limited.

Mr Squires instructed specialist lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors in Nottingham, to pursue a claim for compensation, but it is likely his family will be left to shoulder the financial burden of his loss because the employers are no longer in business and their insurers cannot be traced.

Mrs Squires has joined with the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team, Trade Unions and Thompsons Solicitors in calling for the Government to set up an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB).

No record of insurers can be found

Currently anyone who cannot trace the insurer of an employer which has gone out of business is unable to obtain compensation. Thompsons Solicitors has always pointed out that whilst the Motor Insurance Bureau enables those injured by uninsured drivers to get full compensation, as many as one in 10 asbestos victims unable to trace their employers’ insurers are left with nothing.

An ELIB would act as a fund of last resort to compensate injured workers where the employer has ceased trading and the insurer cannot be found.

This would plug the black hole in records of employers’ liability insurance into which an estimated 5% to 10% of asbestos related disease claims fall.

Specialist asbestos claims solicitor, Neil Baines of Thompsons, has made extensive enquiries on behalf of Mrs Squires. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) could find no record of who the insurers were. Mr Baines’ enquiries extended to instructing a specialist insurance archaeologist to trace the insurers but this has also been unsuccessful.

Information needed about County Oilheat Company and Oilheat Services (Guildford)

Mrs Squires is also calling for anyone who worked for local insurance companies or for insurance brokers to come forward if they have any information about the insurance history of County Oilheat Company and Oilheat Services (Guildford).

She said: “It was important to my husband to claim compensation. He was worried about providing for his family following his death.

“It is difficult to believe that there are no records of who the insurers were. The quicker an ELIB is put in place the better, not just for me but for all victims of asbestos disease.”

Please contact Thompsons with information about County Oil Heat Company and Oilheat Services (Guildford) Limited of Woodbridge Road, Guildford

Joanne Carlin from the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team said “Unfortunately, the number of people suffering from asbestos related disease is increasing. Mrs Squires’ predicament is common because many of the employers who negligently exposed their workers to asbestos have ceased trading and records of their insurers have been lost or destroyed. An ELIB is the only answer to ensure that innocent victims like Mr Squires and his family receive the compensation they are entitled to”.

Neil Baines of Thompsons said “Asbestos victims don’t have time for the ABI to sort itself out. There should be an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau funded by a levy on the insurance industry that mirrors the right to full compensation that is available to people injured or killed by uninsured drivers”.

Any former management employees of County Oil Heat Company and Oilheat Services (Guildford) Limited of Woodbridge Road, Guildford or anyone with information about the company’s insurance history please contact Neil Baines on 08000 224 224.