As homeowners, it’s important to understand the process and options available to us when filing a claim for damages to your property. In this process, there is a procedure known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR allows both the insured and the insurance company to come up with a solution to an insurance claim in a manner that a court may not be able to impose legally. One such solution that may be available to you is mediation.
Mediation is a process designed to encourage settlement between the policyholder and the carrier. It is available in Florida at all times and in other states during and after a state of emergency is declared. However, it’s important to note that mediation does not guarantee a settlement.
The process begins with a negotiator reviewing the claim to verify the availability of mediation. Once the application is submitted, the state will notify the carrier of the mediation request made by the policyholder. Carriers are given 21 days from the time they are notified of the mediation request to resolve the dispute. If by day 21 there is no settlement, a mediator is assigned by the state, and mediation is scheduled.
In this blog, we will delve deeper into the mediation process and what it means for homeowners.
What is Mediation?
A client may need to go to mediation if they are unable to resolve a dispute with their insurance company over the amount of a claim.
Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, known as a mediator, helps two or more parties in a dispute to reach a mutually agreed upon resolution. In the context of property insurance claims, mediation may be used to resolve disputes between the policyholder (the person making a claim) and the insurance company.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication between the parties and help them identify areas of agreement and disagreement. They may also provide information and guidance to help the parties understand their rights and obligations under the insurance policy. The goal of mediation is to reach a settlement that is acceptable to all parties without the need for further legal action. It’s important to note that the insurance company must come to mediation. If someone does not show up, they must pay a fine.
It is also important to understand that mediators are not judges. They do not take any sides and do not tell either of the parties involved what to do.
Mediations result in an agreed settlement about 50% of the time.
Is there a cost?
Mediation is a free service that is offered to policyholders as a means of resolving disputes and reaching a settlement with their insurance company. It is a confidential and voluntary process in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates a conversation between the policyholder and the insurance company to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
Because it is confidential, mediators can not be called to testify about what was said in mediation.
How long does it take?
The timeframe for scheduling a mediation varies depending on several factors. This includes the availability of the mediator assigned by the state and the schedules of all parties involved. On average, mediations are scheduled 21-45 days after the application is submitted. However, this can vary on a case-by-case basis.
Regardless, mediation can happen much more quickly than if you were to wait for a court date.
Where does it take place?
Mediations have mostly been conducted virtually over the last few years. This means that instead of meeting in person at an office or library, the mediation is conducted over a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Skype. This allows all parties involved to participate from the comfort and safety of their own homes, without having to travel.
However, it is important to note that if a virtual mediation is not possible or preferred, it can still take place in an office or library not more than 15 miles from your residence.
What happens if we can’t reach an agreement in mediation?
It’s important to understand that mediation is a voluntary process, so if a resolution cannot be reached, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dispute will go unresolved. In fact, there are several options that may be considered to help find a solution.
One option is to continue with the mediation process and schedule additional sessions, giving both parties more time to work towards a compromise. Another option is to head into an appraisal. An appraisal is a binding process and the decisions the appraisers make are final. In the case that the appraisers could not come to an agreement, an umpire (who is previously elected) will settle the dispute. Appraisals are settled without an umpire most of the time. Appraisals do incur costs to both parties.
There is also the option to go to litigation. Litigation is the last dispute resolution process used mainly for denied claims that we are unable to settle. Litigation is available in all states, however, the cost varies by state and not all claims will be accepted by attorneys for continuation.
Will I be able to appeal the mediation decision if I disagree with it?
It depends on the specific terms of your insurance policy and the laws in your jurisdiction. Some insurance policies may provide for an appeals process if you disagree with the outcome of a mediation, while others may not. In some cases, you may have the right to take legal action if you are not satisfied with the decision reached in mediation. It’s best to check your policy or consult with your attorney (should you decide to use one during mediation) to understand your rights and options in this situation.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the insurance claim process? Look no further than Bulldog Adjusters. Our team of expert adjusters will guide you every step of the way, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Whether you need help navigating the paperwork or need to go to mediation, we are here to support you. With Bulldog Adjusters, you can rest easy knowing that your claim is in good hands. Don’t let the stress of an insurance claim consume you – let us be your advocate.
Contact Bulldog Adjusters today for a stress-free claims experience.