January 2018 E-Bulletin for TRS
This month's E-Bulletin topics include:
- Reminder to Attach Evidence
- Credit for Prior Payments in TRS
- Upcoming Enhancements
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Reminder to Attach Evidence
To ensure evidence that has been uploaded to a TRS case (either through Direct Upload, AFClient, or Data Integration) is actually attached to the case for arbitrator consideration, a warning message has been incorporated into TRS when a party “submits” its filing or response and has not attached any evidence.
The warning displayed will be as follows:
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Credit for Prior Payments in TRS
Before arbitration is filed, the parties may come to a satisfying agreement, resulting in payment exchange between the carriers or from a carrier to the other insured for out-of-pocket expenses and/or the deductible.
In these cases, please remember to enter this prior payment information correctly, so the award amount incorporates and reflects these previous payments.
To have any prior payment considered for credit, it must be correctly identified and submitted as evidence. Credit can be applied if: (1) the recovering party enters the prior payment made by the adverse party in the "Total Payments Received" field
or (2) the adverse party enters the amount in the “Payments” field
or disputes the recovering party’s claim to the Insured Deductible
AND submits proof of the prior payment(s) clearly showing the check has been cashed or honored.
If entries are correctly made in these fields and supportive evidence submitted, the arbitrator will be able to apply the credit and enter an accurate award.
If entries are not made in these fields, the arbitrator may choose not to consider including the payment, and the resulting award amount may not be accurate.
AF will not amend the award after the hearing in these instances, since this is not the result of a clerical/jurisdictional error by the arbitrator but an omission by one of the parties involved. It will be incumbent upon the parties to amicably resolve any post-decision issue regarding the prior payment and award amount owed.
This will be true even if a party references the prior payment in its contentions but does not make the appropriate entry or fails to submit the supporting evidence.
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In the next month or so, we’ll be seeing some exciting enhancements appearing in TRS, based on feedback provided by our members.
Embedding Evidence Links – Disputed Damages
The ability to allow a responding party to insert evidence attachments into its damage dispute justification will be available, if desired. Similar to inserted evidence attachments in Liability Arguments, the arbitrator will be required to comment on the linked evidence.
Automatic Closure of Pending Features
Certain actions will not be allowed if a party is deemed to be in a non-recovering position. If a filer has created a supplemental filing or a responder has pending salvage in a counterclaim, these features will be automatically closed once the initial filing is heard, if no recovery is allowed. For example, if the filing party is deemed 100% at fault for its own damages, there is no need to submit the supplemental damages; if the filing party proves enough liability on the responding party to bar recovery in a contributory or modified comparative state or the responding party is deemed to be 100% at fault for the filing party’s damages, filing a counterclaim after salvage is resolved is meaningless.
Another enhancement will deal with housekeeping. Evidence browsers that were opened by the arbitrator while hearing a case will automatically close when the arbitrator submits the decision for that case. When evidence is viewed, a new browser window opens. Arbitrators often open multiple evidence PDFs when hearing cases, resulting in multiple browsers being opened. Currently, when the decision is submitted, these open browser windows remain open until the arbitrator manually closes them. Now, these browser windows will automatically close upon decision submission, so there is no chance the arbitrator may be inundated by evidence that pertains to a case he/she has already heard.