Liberty Mutual Has Other Resolution for Disputed Katrina/Rita Claims

December 15, 2005

Liberty Mutual customers in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas have an option to promptly resolve their complex hurricane Katrina and Rita claims: independent mediation or arbitration.

Liberty Mutual has teamed with Kenneth Feinberg of The Feinberg Group to create an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program: a voluntary, three-phase process available to Liberty Mutual customers in the four states after the traditional claim-adjustment process is complete. Feinberg will oversee the program and serve as administrator.

“More than 80 percent of our Katrina claims and more than 90 percent of our Rita claims are already settled, but there undoubtedly is a small group of customers who will remain dissatisfied. We want to give them a voluntary alternative to potentially expensive and protracted civil litigation,” said Tom Willson, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Personal Claims. “Resolving claims disputes through proven alternatives to the court system could accelerate the settlement process from possibly years to just a few months.”

The three-phase Liberty Mutual ADR program is available once the traditional claim-adjustment and settlement process is exhausted. It includes:

Phase I – Post-Adjustment Claim Review: Liberty Mutual reassigns the claim to a new team manager, who meets with the customer (and any agent of the customer, such as an attorney or public adjuster)
within 14 days after the customer requests the ADR program. This
resolution meeting includes a comprehensive review of the loss and
coverage, and reconsideration by all parties of the disputed issues.

Phase II – Nonbinding Mediation: If Phase I does not result in a mutually acceptable agreement, Liberty Mutual will participate, at the customer’s request, in nonbinding mediation. A mediator assigned by Administrator Feinberg will meet with the parties within 14 days of the customer’s request, to review the claim and make settlement recommendations.

Phase III – Voluntary Binding Arbitration: If mediation does not result in settlement, the customer and Liberty Mutual can mutually agree within 14 days to binding arbitration. An arbitrator assigned by Administrator Feinberg will make a final, indisputable determination on claim settlement, and both parties agree to waive their appeal rights. Arbitration will be completed within 30 days after the parties agree to enter this phase.

Liberty Mutual customers can request participation in, or learn more about, the Alternative Dispute Resolution program at

“The devastation endured in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas is overwhelming. Quick resolution of residents’ insurance claims will help restore homes and lives, and is far preferable than waiting for a hearing in what will be an overcrowded court system,” added Feinberg.

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