The Special Arbitration Forum resolves disputes between insurers, self-insureds, and commercial insureds with retentions for claims involving third-party liability and/or disputes regarding concurrent, overlapping, or excess/primary coverage. The losses are not to exceed $250,000 unless agreed upon by the parties.

Special Arbitration is used:

  • To apportion liability/damages when there are two or more parties allegedly responsible for the bodily injury and/or property damage of a third party
  • To resolve coverage disputes when there are two or more insurers or self-insureds allegedly providing coverage for the same insured
  • To resolve workers' compensation subrogation claims against the alleged responsible party

Settling the underlying claim and resolving the disputed liability and/or coverage issue via the Special Arbitration Forum helps member companies:

  • Reduce severity by capping exposure
  • Reduce litigation costs
  • Increase productivity through faster closings
  • Prevent potential bad case law that can result from cases going to trial

The following are examples of the wide range of cases that can be submitted:

  • (Concurrent Coverage) A car being used as a temporary replacement vehicle is returned to the rental car company with moderate damage to the right quarter-panel. The renter's collision carrier denies the subrogation claim based on the insured's/renter's assertion that the damage was already there when the vehicle was rented. The matter is submitted to Special Arbitration for resolution.
  • (Contribution) Two vehicles collide and veer into a third vehicle resulting in injuries to the driver of the third vehicle as well as property damage. The carriers for the two vehicles can’t agree on the apportionment of liability. The case is settled with the third party on behalf of both vehicles and the case is submitted to Special Arbitration to apportion the liability and damages.
  • (Contribution) A man is injured when the blade comes off an electrical saw and makes a claim against the manufacturer and the company who recently made repairs on the saw. The carriers for the manufacturer and repair companies can't agree on liability. They settle the case with the claimant and submit the claim to Special Arbitration to apportion the liability and damages.
  • (Concurrent Coverage) An individual has an accident resulting in damage to a third party while driving his personal car on his employer’s business. The carriers for his personal auto and his employer can’t agree on how their coverage applies. The third party claim is settled and the case is submitted to Special Arbitration to resolve the coverage dispute.
  • (Concurrent Coverage) An individual obtains coverage for his auto with another company but failed to cancel his existing policy. He submits a collision claim to the new company who pays the claim and then learns of the existence of the first policy. The two carriers can’t agree on how their coverage should apply and the case is submitted to Special Arbitration to resolve the first-party coverage dispute.
  • (Uninsured Motorists) Company 1 has made an Uninsured Motorists' settlement with its insured because no liability insurance was identified for the tortfeasor. Company 2 subsequently acknowledges coverage for the tortfeasor but has been unwilling to reimburse Company 1. Note that in this example the carrier for the tortfeasor has been acknowledged coverage. If there were still a dispute over the denial of liability coverage, the case would be filed in the Uninsured Motorists' Forum to determine the validity of that denial.
  • (Concurrent Coverage - Construction Defect) The insurer of a general contractor receives and defends a lawsuit against their insured for damages resulting from a construction project for which the general had subcontracted with Company 2's insured. The contract required that Company 2 name Company 1's insured as an additional insured under their policy. Company 1 files in Special Arbitration to recover all or part of their loss payment and/or legal expenses from Company 2.
  • (Concurrent Coverage - Construction Defect) Company 1 and Company 2 both insure the same general contractor for different policy periods over which a construction project takes place. Suit is filed against their mutual insured for negligence arising from the project. Company 1 defends their insured and resolves the claim and seeks apportionment of loss payment and/or legal expenses from Company 2.
  • (Workers Compensation Subrogation) A delivery person is injured when he trips and falls making a delivery resulting in a workers compensation claim. The workers compensation carrier makes a subrogation claim against the premises owner, whose carrier denies liability. The workers compensation carrier submits the workers compensation subrogation claim against the premises owner's carrier in Special Arbitration.

If your organization fits the qualification of an insurer, self-insured, or commercial insured with a large retention, and you wish to become signatory to the Special Arbitration Forum, please complete the Agreement, or call 1-866-977-3434.

For more information about the Special Forum, please refer to our Special FAQ.

Please refer to the Rules Document for more information about the Special Forum rules. If you need further information about these rules, please contact the Forum Rules Department.

 (24 minutes) - This tutorial covers the basics of Special Arbitration - from the types of disputes that must be resolved to how to file as Company 1 or respond as Company 2.

View the Special Forum e-brochure.