Conflict Resolution|International|Mediation|Negotiation

Practical Guide for Insurance Dispute Management

Attention must be paid to an important new publication from the Insurance Institute of London, Alternative Dispute Resolution in Practice.  Written by a team of contributors (of which I am one) under the Chairmanship of Paul Moss of Montpelier Re, and assembled through the tireless efforts of General Editor Alex Oddy of the firm Herbert Smith, this volume is just what the industry has been craving: A practical, hands-on resource book for claims adjusters, lawyers and other insurance and reinsurance professionals charged with managing disputed claims.

As may be expected, the book concentrates on the London market, both for primary coverage disputes and for reinsurance disputes.  But it is so authoritative, and its content so practical, that it has real value to any insurance professional.

The book’s scope and intent is best set forth in its Preface:

As the largest users of the court system in virtually every jurisdiction across the globe and as major users of arbitration, the insurance and reinsurance industry has become well acquainted with the undesirable aspects of both litigation and arbitration.  In parallel with that, the industry has also become one of the largest users of [ADR] processes and has an unrivalled ability and opportunity to use and encourage the spread of ADR processes to assist in resolving disputes more constructively, efficiently and economically.

. . .

This book is not a legal text.  It is a practical guide for professionals in the insurance and reinsurance industries.  It is intended to provide basic guidance and education to new entrants to the profession… [and] also includes material that should be of interest and utility to the most seasoned professional handlers of insurance and reinsurance claims….

The text has been written by insurance and reinsurance professionals for the industry….

After an introduction to ADR processes with an emphasis on mediation, the book offers explanation and comparison of litigation, arbitration, expert determination, early neutral evaluation, and other ADR processes.  It then includes a chapter on “The Role of the Claims Manager in Mediation” that is simply the best writing on the topic I have seen.

The practicality of the volume is further evidenced by later chapter titles: “Enhancing ADR Within the Claims Function,” “Use of ADR Clauses in Insurance and Reinsurance Contracts,” and “Practical Issues for Use of ADR in Disputes Between Cedants and Reinsurers.”

In his generous introduction, former Chief Justice Lord Harry Woolf calls it “a most valuable book” that he predicts “will fill a real need of those in the insurance industry for a practical, reliable and easily understood handbook….”  It is impossible to dispute this conclusion.  This book, if taken on seriously by the international insurance community, will change the course of how business is conducted.

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