In the last six months, several documentaries on asbestos have been broadcast on public German television. Notably, the German ARD broadcast a documentary with the title "Asbestos! A toxic substance returns" (Asbest! Ein Schadstoff kehrt zurück) and the ZDF has aired a documentary with the title "Asbestos – Curse of the Death Fiber" (Asbest – Fluch der Todesfaser). These documentaries can also be streamed online:
A key aspect of these documentaries were reports on the compensation of persons that suffer from an allegedly asbestos-related disease. In particular, cases have been addressed in which the German Social Occupational Accident Insurance (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung – DGUV) denied insurance coverage.
It appears that media interest in asbestos and the risks it poses is rising again in Germany. Several channels broadcast documentaries that might reanimate public awareness. Showing cases in which insurance coverage was denied might put the spotlight on alternative sources of compensation, e.g. private claims against employers, former manufacturers, distributors and importers. Due to the availability of compensation through the German insurance regime, until now, there was hardly any public asbestos litigation in Germany. An increased media interest might inspire private claims against national and international companies and trusts. Possible defendants should closely monitor the developments in Germany and – if necessary – prepare for potential claims.