Mediation of insurance disputes is experiencing greatly increased usage. Without binding the parties, mediation can, and often does, lead to a basis for settlement at a significant savings in cost from insurance arbitration or formal litigation. Success, however, depends greatly on your choice of an experienced insurance mediator.
Insurance Mediation – Capitalizing on the Opportunity
Superior Insurance Mediator Qualifications
To be successful, your mediator must be able to earn the respect of the parties and their attorneys quickly. This requires, as a minimum:
- insurance mediation experience;
- insurance industry knowledge;
- the basic legal knowledge to assess the merits of each side’s legal position; and,
- a clear, objective, neutral posture.
With the respect of the parties, your insurance mediator will be able to exercise a strong hand in guiding the discussions and be able to be direct without causing offense.
Some Basics for a Successful Insurance Mediation Process
An experienced insurance mediator will:
- Determine any preconditions that could derail efforts to reach a settlement. For example,
- Are the parties and their attorneys participating willingly or have they been forced into mediation as a precondition for formal litigation?
- Are there any indications that the discussions will not be open, frank, forthright?
- Are the attorneys accepting insurance mediation merely to examine the merits and strengths of their opponent’s case?
These issues must be recognized and resolved quickly or one, or both, of the parties are likely to be wasting time and money.
- Require the presence of the decision makers.
Lacking those with the authority to make a commitment, the best one can expect is that one, if not both, of the parties will leave the meeting and be faced with the need to convince others of the merits of support. Should either fail, you are back to the table generally to find an increased feeling of lack of faith in the bargaining process.
- Demand clear, convincing support for all claims and opinions.
Few, if any, lawyers and their principals will enter insurance mediation without expressing confidence that “they have an iron-clad” basis for a formal legal action. The insurance mediator will move quickly to analyze the merits each side’s case in order to minimize, if not dispel, these notions. Will the case meet legal standards of proof? In particular, will the experts’ opinions stand up to experienced cross-examination?
- Explore alternative solutions that satisfy each party’s objectives.
While most insurance disputes are resolved by a grant of money damages, many require a solution to underlying issues – often difficult emotional issues. In such instances, simple money damages will not resolve the issue delaying agreement.
- Be patient.
Lawyers often want to perform. Parties don’t want to “give in” or lose. Occasionally underlying issues result in strong emotional feelings. The experienced insurance mediator must recognize individual issues and motivations and, without losing control of the proceedings, accept the occasional digression or outburst while showing the confidence that settlement solutions are possible.
Why Moat Associates, LLC for Your Insurance Mediation Services
As a skilled insurance mediator, Mr. Moat may be your best choice.
- A lawyer with years of insurance experience as an agent, company officer and director;
- The founder and Chief Executive of The Manhattan Group, Inc., which specialized in insurance mergers and acquisitions, valuation and insurance agency and company consulting.
- An insurance veteran whose reputation and personal character will earn the immediate respect of the protagonists.
- A knowledgeable “insurance man” who has “been there and done that.”
- An experienced insurance expert witness on valuation and custom and practice issues.
For a confidential discussion of the insurance mediation services you need, call Douglas Moat at 843.705.2851 or 914.466.3711.
For a selected list of recent cases please visit our About Moat Associates page.
For further readings on the subject:
Mediation: Law, Policy and Practice Cole, Rogers and McEwen, West Publishing
Mediating Legal Disputes– Dwight Golann, ABA Publishing;
The Handbook of Dispute Resolution, Moffitt and Bordone and,
Organizing and Controlling the Arbitration or Mediation Process, D. Moat