When you represent an insurance company, you have a difficult job, even with all of the natural beauty of Denver. People usually do not file insurance claims or disputes on their best days and in fact, they are usually filed on some of their worst days. It may feel like you only have one option, but there are several quality alternatives to litigation for insurance defense.
Alternative dispute resolution is a broad umbrella that represents alternatives to litigation. Three well known branches of ADR are mediation, negotiation and arbitration. Though, these are not exhaustive.
Negotiation refers to the exchange of solutions and compromises between the parties involved. In the case of most insurance claims, that would be you, the insurance provider, and the insured or the claimant. Though, in complex cases, there could be other parties and other insurance companies. So, rather than pursuing a lawsuit, the parties work together to resolve their issues to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Mediation refers to a dispute process where a third party enters the discussion to offer a solution from the neutral perspective. Mediation is useful in highly contentious cases, like insurance claims, because both parties have very secured interests. Mediators can generate more than one option or offer to settle claims, and having a neutral, third-party can sometimes build a bridge to consensus.
Forced arbitration clauses are all too common nowadays, so what is it all about? Arbitration passes the decision making to a neutral third party and allows both sides of a claim to present their respective case (a close alternative to court litigation). Arbitration is also useful in business cases, and while binding, findings can be challenged.
Negotiation, mediation and arbitration, or just three subsets of the heading of ADR methods. Other methods exist, and generally, ADR is less costly and offers greater flexibility than the unpredictability of litigation and jury trials.