Since 1999, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (“OID”) has provided free mediation services for policyholders who find themselves at odds with their insurance company.1 The program is called “E.A.G.L.E. Mediation,” which stands for “Ending Arguments Gently, Legally, and Economically.” Per the OID website, E.A.G.L.E.’s purpose is to “reduc[e] the amount of litigation that ultimately costs policyholders money” by helping “citizens and insurance companies settle disputes early enough to avoid becoming embroiled in lawsuits.”2
Continue Reading Does Oklahoma EAGLE Mediation Help Policyholders?

The Louisiana Department of Insurance established a voluntary mediation program for residential claims less than $50,000 in dispute that went into effect yesterday. The bulletin announcing this program explained the historical basis for this program:

In the wake of property devastation caused in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (‘LOI’) issued Emergency Rule 22, which established a mandatory mediation program. The mediations conducted pursuant to Emergency Rule 22 resulted in the mediation of approximately 12,000 property damage disputes with a very high success rate. Given the success of that mediation program, the LOI is optimistic that a similar mediation program, to be known as the “Hurricane Ida Mediation Program” (the ‘Program’), could yield similar success.

Continue Reading Hurricane Ida Voluntary Mediation Program For Residential Claims

Arbitration has been showing up as a requirement more frequently in some property insurance policies. A past President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) recently asked me ‘what exactly is arbitration and how is it different than litigation or a trial?’ I figure that it may be a good time to have a Tuesday at 2 With Chip Merlin session to go over the various dispute resolutions involving trial, litigation, arbitration, appraisal, mediation and department of insurance sponsored mediation.
Continue Reading What Are the Differences Between Mediation vs Arbitration vs Appraisal vs Litigation When It Comes To Resolving a Property Insurance Claim?

United States magistrates are federal judges with extensive authority over civil cases. Many policyholders are surprised to learn that magistrate judges can preside over mediation conferences. For example, during initial case management conferences, many districts allow litigants the opportunity to schedule a mediation conference with a magistrate judge. This can be a great option for policyholders when the case appears to have discrete litigation issues, the facts and circumstances of the case are unusual, or the matter is close to settlement.
Continue Reading Mediations with Federal Magistrate Judges

A number of public adjusters and contractors have inquired whether I’ve seen recent forms that require the selection of a mediator by the flip of a coin. I was going over a policy sent from a mid-west public adjuster yesterday and came across the following negotiation and mediation condition in the loss settlement portion of the policy:
Continue Reading Can A Flip of The Coin Be a Part of Mandatory Pre-Suit Insurance Dispute Mediation Process?

If you have been following Hurricane Sandy news, you may already be aware of Judge Brown’s recent November 7th order in Raimey v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company,1 in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) which requires defendants in all Hurricane Sandy cases to provide plaintiffs by December 12th:2

[C]opies of all reports described in CMO 1 not previously produced – plus any drafts, redlines, markups, reports, notes, measurements, photographs and written communications related thereto – prepared, collected or taken by any engineer, adjustor or other agent or contractor affiliated with any defendant, relating to the properties and damage at issue in each and every case, whether such documents are in the possession of defendant or any third party.

Continue Reading Hurricane Sandy Update – Case Management Order No. 12

Most people battling their insurance carrier over Hurricane Sandy claims have received a notice that they are entitled to participate in a nonbinding mediation process set up by the Department of Banking and Insurance. A recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling mandates that any settlement reached in this or other mediation program must be reduced to writing to be enforceable.

Continue Reading New Jersey Mediation Settlements Must Be Reduced to Writing

Floridians with residential property damage claims have a right to demand participation in the state mediation program if they have a dispute with their insurance company, but are disputes really getting resolved in these non-binding mediations? The Department of Consumer Services, a section of the Department of Financial Services, oversees this alternative dispute resolution process. This form of mediation is not to be confused with pre-trial mediation.

Continue Reading Florida’s DFS Mediation Program Needs Help

Policyholders in New Jersey with open Hurricane Sandy claims most likely received an interesting piece of mail in recent weeks: letters from their insurance carriers inviting them to participate in mediation to resolve their claims. This was probably a welcome invitation for many who have not heard from their carrier in a long time; they likely viewed it as a signal their carrier was ready to resolve their claim.

Continue Reading Insurance Claim Mediation in New Jersey

Mediation is defined as “[a] method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution.”1 Appraisal is defined as “[t]he determination of what constitutes a fair price; valuation; estimation of worth.”2 A bit more specifically, appraisement is defined as “[a]n [alternative dispute resolution] method used for resolving the amount or extent of liability on a contract when the issue of liability itself is not in dispute.”3

Continue Reading Insurance Policy Conditions (a/k/a/ Land Mines): Part 6 – Mediation and Appraisal Basics