Johnson & Johnson is facing a record judgment in a talcum-powder case, which came in at $4.69 billion. That money is supposed to go to people who bought talc powder that contained asbestos, which can lead to fatal cancer and other serious complications. If those people have passed away, the money is intended to go to their families.
With that much money on the line, officials are now trying to determine if insurance companies are going to need to cover those costs. If so, what type of impact will that have on the insurance industry? Analysts point specifically to The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Chubb Ltd. and Travelers Companies Inc.
There are some potential complications here. Though the link between talc powder and issues like ovarian cancer has made its way into the headlines lately, a lot of the insurance policies are fairly old, having been drafted decades before. In some cases, experts warn that "liability may have been offloaded to reinsurers." These complications can make it difficult to tell exactly who needs to cover these payments, which could mean that a long string of legal cases will be needed to sort everything out.
Though things like this can be frustrating for family members, they are to be expected with all of the money involved in a high-profile case. These things do not just happen overnight. It is very important for these families to keep an eye on the proceedings so that they understand exactly what legal rights they have, what steps they need to take and when and how they should get their compensation.