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Retired Zurich Insurance employee appeals for help with asbestos exposure investigation

Posted on: 11th August 2017

A 60-year-old Croydon man is seeking answers about the source of his asbestos exposure in the 1980s and 1990s, which has led to him being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

William McCormack, who worked as a computer operator, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer, in March 2017. The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos which William was exposed to at some time during his employment with either International Computers Limited (ICL) in the 1980’s or Municipal Mutual Insurance, later taken over by Zurich Insurance Group, between 1991 to 2001. He is appealing for his former colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions at either of these employers.

Mr. McCormack joined ICL at their premises in Feltham around 1981 and worked in a large, open plan warehouse, with around 200 other employees.

Mr. McCormack recalls: “The building was of steel frame construction with false ceilings and a suspended floor, to cover all the computer cabling. I worked 12-hour night shifts in there.”

Between 1990 and 1993, Mr. McCormack worked at Municipal Mutual Insurance (MMI) in Farnborough. MMI was initially based in a large complex of six or seven buildings as well as a computer room. In 1994, the company was taken over by Zurich and he remained with them until 2001.

Of his time at MMI, and then Zurich, Mr. McCormack says: “They were forever doing maintenance on the electrics up in the ceiling void and under the floor. The ceiling tiles used to break and were damaged when they were taken out to do maintenance. They were often replaced.”

“I had a biopsy in March 2017 and was told that my cancer was asbestos-related, and that I have mesothelioma. I feel out breath and tired all the time. I also find that I am unable to walk very far. Since having chemotherapy, there has been no improvement in my breathing and I still feel tired.”

His solicitor Isobel Lovett, partner and head of industrial disease at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “Mesothelioma is only caused by exposure to asbestos. It is likely that Mr. McCormack contracted this disease as a result of his employers exposing him to asbestos at work and failing to protect him from this deadly substance. In the years of his employment office ceiling tiles were often made of asbestos, and suspended ceiling and floor voids were lined with asbestos board. We are appealing on behalf of Mr. McCormack to all former colleagues who worked with him at ICL in Feltham and MMI in Farnborough to help with the investigation into his exposure to asbestos.

If you have any information, please contact Isobel Lovett, a Partner and Head of Industrial Disease at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors on 020 7874 8502 or email


For further information, please contact Lizzie Hannaway on 020 3567 1208 or at

Notes for Editors

Hodge Jones and Allen

  • Hodge Jones and Allen is one of the UK’s most progressive law firms, renowned for doing things differently and fighting injustice. Its senior partner is Patrick Allen, recently awarded a lifetime achievement award by Solicitors Journal and managing partner, Vidisha Joshi (recent winner of an Asian Woman of Achievement Award).
  • For 40 years’ the firm has been at the centre of many of the UK’s landmark legal cases that have changed the lives and rights of many people.
  • The firm’s team of specialists have been operating across: Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
  • In 2016, the firm launched Hearing their voices – a campaign to raise awareness and build conversations around the issues and the injustices we might all face.


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