A leading arbitration company says it resolved nearly 500,000 inter-company claims disputes valued at more than $2.4 billion in 2008, setting a new record.
Arbitration Forums, Inc. (AF), the nation’s largest provider of inter-insurance dispute resolution services, maintains that it is saving the property/casualty insurance industry more than $700 million in litigation costs annually through programs that resolve insurance claims disputes. AF has 4,300 carrier and self-insured members nationwide.
W. Russ Smith, president and chief executive officer of AF, said disputes leading to arbitration typically arise when insurance or self-insured companies believe their insureds are not at fault or due to disagreements over the percentage of liability or the amount of damages. Over 80 percent of inter-company arbitration disputes involve auto collisions.
“The growing interest in arbitration programs could be attributed to heightened company focus on saving expense dollars and the ease of use of electronic filing through the Internet and e-mail to further speed the arbitration process,” he said.
AF recently announced that it would no longer charge a fee to notify parties to a dispute that an arbitration action has been submitted by members who use its online filing service. Eliminating the fee for the notification service will save the industry $1 million annually and further speed the arbitration process and reduce paper consumption by encouraging even more online filing, said Smith.
More than 90 percent of the 497,692 arbitration filings in 2008 were made electronically— almost double the percentage of just a few years earlier, according to AF.
One of AF’s new applications provides members with a single web-based platform to interactively issue and respond to subrogation demands, share and manage documents electronically, as well as file and respond to arbitration cases.
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