As property owners, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the options available to us when filing a claim for property damage. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is one of the procedures that we should be aware of during this process. ADR allows both the insurance company and the insured to reach a resolution to an insurance claim that a court may not be able to impose legally. One of the solutions that may be available to us is mediation.
Mediation is a process that facilitates settlement between the policyholder and the carrier. It’s available at all times in Florida, and in other states during and after a state of emergency is declared. However, it’s essential to note that mediation does not guarantee a settlement.
The mediation process starts with a negotiator reviewing the claim to determine the availability of mediation. Once the application is submitted, the state notifies the carrier of the mediation request made by the policyholder. The carriers are given 21 days from the time they receive the notification of the mediation request to resolve the dispute. If they don’t reach a settlement by day 21, the state assigns a mediator, and mediation is scheduled.
In this blog, we will take a closer look at the mediation process and what it means for property owners who are navigating the claims process.
What is Mediation?
In the event that a client is unable to come to a resolution with their insurance company regarding the amount of their claim, mediation may be necessary. Mediation involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps parties in a dispute find a mutually agreed upon solution. For property insurance claims, mediation may be utilized to settle disputes between policyholders and their insurance providers.
The mediator’s main responsibility is to facilitate communication between the involved parties and help them identify areas of agreement and disagreement. Additionally, they may offer guidance and information to help the parties understand their rights and obligations under their insurance policy. Mediation’s goal is to reach a mutually acceptable settlement that doesn’t require further legal action. However, it’s important to remember that the insurance company is required to participate in the mediation process, and not showing up may result in fines.
It’s also crucial to understand that mediators are impartial and do not take sides, nor do they dictate what either party should do. They work to facilitate dialogue and promote mutual understanding to find an acceptable outcome. Surprisingly, mediation results in a mutually agreed settlement roughly 50% of the time.
Is there a cost for Mediation?
One of the benefits of mediation is that it is completely confidential. This means that anything said during the mediation process cannot be used as evidence in court, and mediators cannot be called to testify about the discussions that took place. As a result, both parties can speak openly and honestly without fear that their words will be used against them in the future.
If you’re facing a dispute with your insurance company, it may be worth considering mediation as an option for resolving the issue. With the help of a mediator, you may be able to reach a resolution that satisfies both you and your insurer, without the need for a lengthy and expensive legal battle.
How long does Mediation take?
The timing of scheduling a mediation session can be influenced by multiple factors, such as the mediator’s availability and the schedules of all parties involved. Typically, it takes about 21 to 45 days for mediations to be scheduled after submitting the application. However, the timeline may differ depending on the specific case.
Despite the variability in scheduling, mediation remains a faster alternative compared to waiting for a court date. In some instances, mediations can even take place much sooner, providing parties with an efficient and timely resolution to their disputes.
Where does Mediation take place?
In recent years, virtual mediations have become the norm, eliminating the need for in-person meetings at offices or libraries. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype have enabled all involved parties to attend the mediation from the comfort and safety of their own homes, without the hassle of traveling.
Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that in-person mediations are still an option for those who prefer them or if a virtual session isn’t feasible. You can arrange for a mediation session to take place at an office or library that is within a 15-mile radius of your residence.
What happens if we can’t reach an agreement in mediation?
It is crucial to understand that mediation is a voluntary process. If the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, it does not necessarily mean that it will remain unresolved. There are several alternatives that may be explored to help resolve the matter.
One option is to continue with the mediation process and schedule additional sessions. This will give both parties more time to work towards finding a middle ground. Another option is to opt for an appraisal. An appraisal is a binding process in which the decisions made by the appraisers are final. In the event that the appraisers cannot reach an agreement, an umpire, who is previously elected, will settle the dispute. Although appraisals usually do not require an umpire, they do involve costs for both parties.
Finally, litigation is an option that may be pursued if all other forms of dispute resolution have been exhausted. Litigation is the last resort and is mainly used for denied claims that cannot be settled through mediation or appraisal. While litigation is available in all states, the costs associated with it vary by state. Furthermore, not all claims will be accepted by attorneys for continuation.
Will I be able to appeal the mediation decision if I disagree with it?
When it comes to insurance claims, the process can sometimes be overwhelming, and it’s not always clear what your options are if you’re not satisfied with the outcome. Depending on your insurance policy and the laws in your jurisdiction, you may have the right to appeal a decision reached in mediation or take legal action.
If you’re unsure about your rights and options, it’s best to consult your insurance policy or speak with an attorney during the mediation process. They can help you understand what steps you can take to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
However, navigating the insurance claim process doesn’t have to be stressful. That’s where Your Large Loss Adjuster comes in. Our team of expert adjusters is here to guide you every step of the way, from filling out paperwork to going to mediation.
We understand that dealing with an insurance claim can be overwhelming, which is why we strive to make the process as stress-free as possible. You can trust us to be your advocate and ensure that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Don’t let the stress of an insurance claim consume you. Contact Your Large Loss Adjuster today for a stress-free claims experience. Let us handle the hard work so you can focus on getting your life back to normal.