Bondex International (St. Louis)
There are many companies in this country that have been affected by their previous use of asbestos. One of them is Bondex International. For 20 years this company has been dealing with lawsuits involving asbestos, most of which were filed in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Mississippi, and Texas. They are all connected to people who were exposed to asbestos contained in products sold before 1977. These products included joint compound, two types of joint cement, liquid aluminum coating, masonry coating, ready-mixed finish, mobile home roof coating, and many more.
Starting in 2002, Bondex has made a number of bankruptcy claims that have aided in depleting a majority of the company’s insurance coverage. Before that, their insurance took care of close to 90 percent of claims against them as well as their legal costs. Bondex has recently challenged the ruling that their insurance policies have been depleted. This will make funds available for Bondex to pay any outstanding asbestos-related claims.
The asbestos products that Bondex made were used mainly in the construction industry. This means that not just those who worked in the factories making these products were at risk, but those who worked with them in construction were affected. Asbestos fibers can become airborne, so anyone working in an area where these products are in use could have been at risk of inhaling or ingesting them. Once inside the body, the fibers can become lodged in lining of a lung. This can lead to mesothelioma and other conditions related to asbestos.
There came a time when Bondex knew it was virtually impossible to estimate the costs related to the asbestos claims against them, partially because of the unavailability of a history and not knowing how many claims would be filed in the future. They provided estimates based on the number of claims already filed, the cost of known claims as well as unknown claims, how much insurance may be available, and the future profits of the company. These estimates were made without knowing what influence other companies filing bankruptcy would have and being unable to predict trial outcomes as well as other intangibles. Because they were able to come up with an estimate of their liability, they created a reserve of money to cover known claims and extra money for future claims.