There is a bit of mystery around Arbitration Forum, Inc. (AF)’s Special Forum. Many know it as a way to recover contribution for third-party damages, and it is often used for recovery under a concurrent coverage theory. Special is also a forum in which to file Workers Compensation and Construction Defect recovery actions. And, with the exception of cases in which a denial of coverage still stands from the tortfeasor’s carrier, Uninsured Motorist claim recovery can be filed in Special.
A highlight of the Special Forum is its allowance for non-compulsory disputes with written consent. In the Special Arbitration Agreement, it states that parties may have a case heard involving a non-signatory member in the forum. It also allows for the filing of claims that are “not included in this or any other existing Agreement.” In each case, the parties must agree and provide written consent to participate in such a hearing.
Our industry is changing based on new services and technologies around us. As claims handlers and subrogation professionals, we may run into cases that fall outside of AF’s Auto, PIP, Med Pay, or Property Forums. Consider that they may well have a home in our Special Arbitration Forum.