Making Your Mediator Work Harder for You

By Denise Johnson | November 17, 2014

  • November 18, 2014 at 9:53 am
    John says:
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    In my 40 years in the insurance industry, I have been involved in many successful and a few unsuccessful mediations. This article is really slanted on how to get a unfair advantage over the claimant, or insured.
    While most insurance contracts now require mediation, the insured or claimant goes into this process thinking it is a fair and necessary process. But this article suggest using legal ways to get an advantage over this process, by getting to know the mediator beyond his qualifications and knowledge , getting the mediator to make the first offer and talking to the mediator in advance of mediation about the case. Although all of this is legal, does the insured or claimant know this? Is the insured or claimant present when the adjuster speaks with the mediator about the case. Is any of this disclosed in advance to the insured or claimant? If not whether it is legal or not it is not the moral way to settle a claim.
    Insured’s expect a fair and reasonable mediator. But they don’t expect that their insurance company is trying to get an advantage in this perceived process. I am all for checking out the mediator for his or her knowledge the facts and their qualifications, but that is as far as it should go.

    • November 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm
      Reagan says:
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      You are wrong.

      The process is already unfair and slanted against the carrier!

      Of course any angle to try and get some semblence of fairness is necessary here.

      Especcially in workers’ compensation and liability cases where the subjective medical given “credibility” by whore doctors is the “evidence” used to make the claimant’s case.

  • March 4, 2015 at 1:53 am
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    Thanks for the comments, guys. This interview isn’t about gaming the system, or gaining an unfair advantage, it’s quite different than that. A mediator can help you must more completely if you bring them into your camp and help them to understand your perceived strengths, weaknesses, constraints, internal politics, and any other influencers on your decision-making process. And yes, John, the same goes for the claimants or plaintiffs. As most of the claims I mediate have represented claimants, the plaintiffs’ bar is working hard to get to know the mediators and building relationships with them. It is mutual. And it’s about getting more value out of that mediator – putting more of their skills to work for you by getting them more engaged with your case. If you only use them to call balls and strikes, and then send them home, you haven’t tapped into the deeper knowledge, negotiation skills, people skills, etc. that they spend years studying. All I’m saying here is that the responsibility to do that is on you, whether you’re a claims professional or a claimant. But my experience tells me that claims professionals, more than any other group, rely on their own skills alone, leaving a lot of good know-how unused in the mediator’s back pocket. Try some of this in your next mediations and see if it doesn’t help!

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