|UNION CARBIDE CORP /NEW/ filed this Form 10-Q on 04/27/2017|
Union Carbide Corporation and Subsidiaries
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
Estimating the Asbestos-Related Liability
Since 2003, the Corporation has engaged Ankura Consulting Group, LLC ("Ankura"), a third party actuarial specialist, to review the Corporation's historical asbestos-related claim and resolution activity in order to assist UCC management in estimating the Corporation's asbestos-related liability. Each year, Ankura has reviewed the claim and resolution activity to determine the appropriateness of updating the most recent Ankura study. Historically, every other year beginning in October, Ankura has completed a full review and formal update to the most recent Ankura study.
Based on the December 2016 Ankura study and the Corporation's own review of the data, and taking into account the change in accounting policy that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2016, the Corporation's total asbestos-related liability through the terminal year of 2049, including asbestos-related defense and processing costs, was $1,490 million at December 31, 2016, and was included in “Asbestos-related liabilities - current” and “Asbestos-related liabilities - noncurrent” in the consolidated balance sheets.
Each quarter, the Corporation reviews claims filed, settled and dismissed, as well as average settlement and resolution costs by disease category. The Corporation also considers additional quantitative and qualitative factors such as the nature of pending claims, trial experience of the Corporation and other asbestos defendants, current spending for defense and processing costs, significant appellate rulings and legislative developments, trends in the tort system, and their respective effects on expected future resolution costs. UCC management considers all these factors in conjunction with the most recent Ankura study and determines whether a change in the estimate is warranted. Based on the Corporation's review of 2017 activity, it was determined that no adjustment to the accrual was required at March 31, 2017.
The Corporation’s asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims and defense and processing costs was $1,460 million at March 31, 2017. Approximately 14 percent of the recorded liability for pending and future claims related to pending claims and approximately 86 percent related to future claims.
The Corporation's management believes the amounts recorded for the asbestos-related liability (including defense and processing costs) reflect reasonable and probable estimates of the liability based on current, known facts. However, future events, such as the number of new claims to be filed and/or received each year and the average cost of defending and disposing of each such claim, as well as the numerous uncertainties surrounding asbestos litigation in the United States, could cause the actual costs for the Corporation to be higher or lower than those projected or those recorded. Any such event could result in an increase or decrease in the recorded liability.
While it is not possible at this time to determine with certainty the ultimate outcome of any of the legal proceedings and claims referred to in this filing, management believes that the possibility is remote that the aggregate of all such other claims and lawsuits will have a material adverse impact on the results of operations, cash flows and financial position of the Corporation.
A summary of the Corporation's purchase commitments can be found in Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in the Corporation's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016. There have been no material changes to purchase commitments since December 31, 2016.