February 2020 E-Bulletin for Arbitrators

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Revisions to AF Agreements
  2. Arbitrators Needed
  3. Post-Decision Inquiries in TRS
  4. Arbitrator Obligations: Remember Rule 3-5!
  5. How Many "Credits" Do I Receive for Hearing TRS Cases?
  6. Damage Disputes Decisions: A Reflection on Quality
  7. Educational Opportunities
  8. Preserving Neutrality, Privacy, and Confidentiality
  9. Valuable Studies

Revisions to AF Agreements

Image of someone signing a piece of paperUpdates to Article Fifth and Sixth of the AF Agreements have been made to include arbitrator participation. These changes will become effective March 1, 2020.

Article Fifth – AF’s Function and Authority
  • (c) determine qualification criteria, provide for the selection and appointment of arbitrators, and establish arbitrator participation requirements for the signatory companies;
Article Sixth – Arbitrator Participation
  • Signatory companies agree to provide qualified arbitrators from among full-time employees, and hear as many cases as they file.
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Arbitrators Needed

Image of business people around a table with a man and woman shaking handsEffective June 2, 2020, AF is implementing the Member Participation Policy to ensure timely resolution of arbitration cases.

Do you know someone qualified to hear cases? Please notify your AF Arbitration Manager and forward them a link to our website for more information.
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Post-Decision Inquiries in TRS

Conceptual image of question marksSometimes, clarification from the arbitrator is needed on a published decision. When this occurs, AF sends the arbitrator an email notification, which includes details about the inquiry and a link to respond to it. 
  • Please respond within 24 hours of receipt for prompt resolution of the issue.
  • Note the email indicates “do not reply” because it is not monitored.
  • Use the post decision inquiry details link, as shown in the message below, to respond. 
Screenshot of a PDI notification
For more information to complete the response, including navigation, please view our PDI job aid
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Arbitrator Obligations: Remember Rule 3-5!

Image of wood blocks with various words on them; one red block with the word rules on itThe role of an arbitrator is to be a neutral evaluator. This includes reviewing the case thoroughly and considering whether the arguments made by each party are supported by a preponderance of the evidence. 

An arbitrator must resolve the dispute as it is presented by the parties and should never add arguments, enter pleadings, raise exclusions, request a deferment, or dispute damages on behalf of any party to the arbitration case. Arbitrator consideration of evidence is limited to items that are listed and submitted by each party. 

Please take a moment to review 3-5 below, from Arbitration Forums, Inc. Rules, for clarification on what an arbitrator may consider when deciding a case:

Image of rule 3-5
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How Many "Credits" Do I Receive for Hearing TRS Cases?

Image of the scales of justice on a tableIn TRS, the term “Feature” refers to a set of damages for a claim, such as auto damages. 

If a Recovering Party seeks recovery of auto damages, and the Adverse Party answers and defends its theory of liability and/or damages but does not file a counterclaim, there is one Feature on the case and the arbitrator receives one credit. If the Adverse Party files a counterclaim that details and supports its damages, the arbitrator receives two credits because there are two Features on that case. 

If the Adverse Party instead indicates that it has a counterclaim with a total loss pending, the case has potential for two Features. After the Adverse Party completes its salvage sale and has a final subrogation figure, if liability is decided in favor of the Adverse Party, the Adverse Party can then file its damages and a new arbitrator receives the case. That new arbitrator will get one credit for handling the Feature submitted as a counterclaim.
Screenshot of the feature window

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Damage Disputes Decisions: A Reflection on Quality

Image of someone using a cell phone to snap a photo of damage to a carLet’s review processes put into place to ensure high-quality decisions are being made pertaining to damage disputes. This guide walks you through the entire process from both the Total Recovery Solution® (TRS®) and Online Filing (OLF) perspectives.
Evaluating the case and keeping an open mind is the responsibility of an arbitrator. Your company may have a guideline for certain repair procedures or costs, but that does not mean that this guideline is accepted as an industry standard. Each claim has its own unique circumstances that drive how it is adjusted; your decision should be made based on the quality of contentions raised and the strength of the evidence presented.
AF would like to take this time and recognize your hard work and dedication to providing high-quality decisions. We truly appreciate your service!

For more information on damage disputes considerations, please visit:
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Educational Opportunities

Illustration of a graduation capDeveloping oneself in order to achieve one’s fullest potential is a no-brainer. Many organizations allocate significant resources for their staff to develop their knowledge and skills.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) is an organization that offers unique educational opportunities for subrogation professionals. Their Subro College program offers several series and webinars.
Learn more about development opportunities through NASP.
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Preserving Neutrality, Privacy, and Confidentiality

Illustration of a digital lockObjectivity, neutrality, and confidentiality are the foundations of a credible arbitration system. All decisions must be based solely on the arguments made in the contentions and the evidence submitted by the parties to avoid any perception of bias on the part of the arbitrator.

In addition, an arbitrator must excuse himself/herself from hearing a case if he or she has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome (financial, business, personal, or professional). We also recommend that arbitrators excuse themselves from hearing a case that involves a prior co-worker or claim adversary if their decision could create an appearance of impropriety.

AF policies also help ensure the privacy and confidentiality of our membership’s data. The Neutrality, Privacy, and Confidentiality Statement reinforces to arbitrators that the information submitted by parties is private and confidential and may only be used to resolve the dispute. It may not be copied, printed, or used for any other purpose.

Neutrality, Privacy, and Confidentiality Statement
This decision is according to my understanding of the current local law and the facts presented. I may not render a decision on a case where I or my company is directly or indirectly interested, or where there is even an appearance of bias. Also, I understand as an arbitrator, I will have access to confidential material involving company and/or insured information. All information related to this case will be utilized for the sole purpose of rendering this decision. I agree to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of all information related to this case. I affirm that I have read and understand the above.

For these reasons, arbitrators acknowledge the Neutrality, Privacy, and Confidentiality Statement on each case they hear.
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Valuable Studies

AdvertisementNASP’s collection of Subrogation Benchmarking Studies are ready to go when you need them. From recoveries, to staffing, these detailed studies are the foundation to improving your business.

National Association of Subrogation Professionals
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