10-K
UNION CARBIDE CORP /NEW/ filed this Form 10-K on 02/15/2018
Entire Document
 

Estimating the Liability for Asbestos-Related Pending and Future Claims
Based on a study completed by Ankura Consulting Group, LLC ("Ankura") in January 2003, the Corporation increased its December 31, 2002, asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims for a 15-year period ending in 2017 to $2.2 billion, excluding future defense and processing costs. Since then, the Corporation has compared current asbestos claim and resolution activity to the results of the most recent Ankura study at each balance sheet date to determine whether the accrual continues to be appropriate. In addition, the Corporation has requested Ankura to review the Corporation's historical asbestos claim and resolution activity each year since 2004 to determine the appropriateness of updating the most recent Ankura study.

In October 2016, the Corporation requested Ankura to review its historical asbestos claim and resolution activity and determine the appropriateness of updating its December 2014 study. In response to the request, Ankura reviewed and analyzed asbestos-related claim and resolution data through September 30, 2016. The resulting study, completed by Ankura in December 2016, provided estimates for the undiscounted cost of disposing of pending and future claims against UCC and Amchem, excluding future defense and processing costs, for both a 15-year period and through the terminal year of 2049.

Based on the study completed in December 2016 by Ankura, and the Corporation's own review of the asbestos claim and resolution activity, it was determined that an adjustment to the accrual was necessary. The Corporation determined that using the estimate through the terminal year of 2049 was more appropriate due to increasing knowledge and data about the costs to resolve claims and diminished volatility in filing rates. Using the range in the Ankura December 2016 study, which was estimated to be between $502 million and $565 million for the undiscounted cost of disposing of pending and future claims, the Corporation increased its asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims through the terminal year of 2049 by $104 million, included in "Asbestos-related charge" in the consolidated statements of income. At December 31, 2016, the Corporation's asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims was $486 million, and approximately 14 percent of the recorded liability related to pending claims and approximately 86 percent related to future claims.

Estimating the Liability for Asbestos-Related Defense and Processing Costs
In September 2014, the Corporation began to implement a strategy designed to reduce and to ultimately stabilize and forecast defense costs associated with asbestos-related matters. The strategy included a number of important changes including: invoicing protocols including capturing costs by plaintiff; review of existing counsel roles, work processes and workflow; and utilization of enterprise legal management software, which enabled claim-specific tracking of asbestos-related defense and processing costs. The Corporation reviewed the information generated from this new strategy and determined that it now had the ability to reasonably estimate asbestos-related defense and processing costs for the same periods that it estimates its asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims. The Corporation believes that including estimates of the liability for asbestos-related defense and processing costs provides a more complete assessment and measure of the liability associated with resolving asbestos-related matters, which the Corporation believes is preferable in these circumstances.

In October 2016, in addition to the study for asbestos claim and resolution activity, the Corporation requested Ankura to review asbestos-related defense and processing costs and provide an estimate of a reasonable forecast of defense and processing costs associated with resolving pending and future asbestos-related claims facing UCC and Amchem for the same periods of time that the Corporation uses for estimating resolution costs. In December 2016, Ankura conducted the study and provided the Corporation with an estimate of future defense and processing costs for both a 15-year period and through the terminal year of 2049. The resulting study estimated asbestos-related defense and processing costs for pending and future asbestos claims to be between $1,009 million and $1,081 million through the terminal year of 2049.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Corporation elected to change its method of accounting for asbestos-related defense and processing costs from expensing as incurred to estimating and accruing a liability. This change is believed to be preferable as asbestos-related defense and processing costs represent expenditures related to legacy activities that do not contribute to current or future revenue generating activities of the Corporation. The change is also reflective of the manner in which the Corporation manages its asbestos-related exposure, including careful monitoring of the correlation between defense spending and resolution costs. Together, these two sources of cost more accurately represent the "total cost" of resolving asbestos-related claims now and in the future.

This accounting policy change was reflected as a change in accounting estimate effected by a change in accounting principle. As a result of this accounting policy change and based on the December 2016 Ankura study of asbestos-related defense and processing costs and the Corporation's own review of the data, a pretax charge for asbestos-related defense and processing costs of $1,009 million was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016, included in "Asbestos-related charge" in the consolidated statements of income. The Corporation's total asbestos-related liability, including 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.


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