Frequently Asked Questions

Online Filing - FAQ

  1. What is Online Filing?
  2. What AF Programs are available to file via Online Filing?
  3. What is the cost of Online Filing?
  4. How do I get an individual User ID?
  5. How do I access Online Filing?
  6. How do I respond to a case online?
  7. Can I respond online if the applicant did not file their case using Online Filing?
  8. I have my own User ID but I do not see a menu option for Online Filing.
  9. What companies can I file against using Online Filing?
  10. Is there a limit to the size of my Contentions?
  11. My Contentions do not look like they do in my word processor. Why?
  12. My evidence/damage item type does not appear on the list of available evidence/damage items. What should I do?
  13. What is the difference between the Salvage Invoice/Expense Damage Types and the Net Salvage Recovery line item within the Damages Summary section?
  14. Should I list my Insured’s deductible as a separate damage item?
  15. How do I specify that I want a Three-Person Panel?
  16. How do I file a Counterclaim?
  17. I know of a related case, but it does not appear on the Related Docket Page. What can I do?
  18. I have filed my case using Online Filing, now what?
  19. What happens if I do not send my evidence to AF?
  20. Can I upload my scanned evidence?
  21. Can I request a paper Hearing Notice when filing my Online Filing case?
  22. When filing some Counterclaims, I see an option to maintain the current hearing date; however, that option is not always available. Why?
  23. I have multiple evidence items of the same type, i.e. witness statement, recorded statement, etc. How do I distinguish between evidence items on my Contentions Sheet?
  24. How do I file an amendment to an Online Filing case?
  25. Can I withdraw cases online?
  26. I have a question about filing my case. Where can I receive assistance?
  27. Can a User obtain individual Online Filing usage information under the Reports section? Can a manager see usage reports for a unit?
  28. If an employee leaves the company and e-mail notifications sent to this person are returned advising that he/she is no longer employed, does AF monitor this or take corrective action? If not, what are we to do?
  29. I find that the Online Filing system will shut down after 5 to 10 minutes if not used. Can this be expanded?
  30. Are non-members able to file or respond to cases online?
  31. What if an insurer or self-insured is signatory to one forum, say Auto, but wants to file a claim in another forum, say Property. Can they file the Property case online even though they are not signatory to that Agreement?
  32. If a member has multiple subsidiaries within their group - some are signatory, some are not - can they file online for a subsidiary that isn't signatory?
  33. Can a third-party that represents a member (i.e. TPA, lawyer) use Online Filing?
  34. Can I fax my arbitration application or response?
  35. Can I fax my supporting arbitration evidence?
  36. What is the actual 'time' cut off on the last day to respond and how does that integrate with time zone considerations?

 

 
  1. What is Online Filing?
     
    • Online Filing allows you to easily file your arbitration case or respond to one via AF's Web site and electronically upload your evidence. You have the ability to enter case information on a series of Web pages and receive a docket number and ready-to-be-heard date at the end of the process. Once you receive the docket number, you will receive a link that will allow you to print the Application, Contentions, and bar-coded Evidence Cover Page for each evidence item listed in your Contentions (if you are unable to electronically upload your evidence). You will then attach the Evidence Cover Page to your supporting evidence and fax to the Member Service Center identified on the Evidence Cover Page for inclusion in a case file that AF has prepared by printing the incoming Online Filing Application. You will be notified via e-mail when all file material is received by AF. Additionally, any change to an Online Filing case will automatically generate an e-mail notifying you of the change, i.e., reschedule, deferment, answer, amendment, etc.
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  2. What AF Programs are available to file via Online Filing?
     
    • Online Filing currently allows you to file your case in all AF programs. You may also enter a Response for all programs.
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  3. What is the cost of Online Filing?
     
    • There is no charge to file or respond online. The fee schedule can be found on the homepage under the FAQ tab.
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  4. How do I get an individual User ID?
     
    • First, your company will need to assign a Security Administrator. This is accomplished by completing a Security Administrator Profile Form and faxing it to our Member Services Department at 813-915-4165. The appointed Security Administrator will be responsible for assigning additional Security Administrators and/or users for your company. The Security Administrator Profile Form can be found on AF’s homepage under the Online Filing section or by clicking here.
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  5. How do I access Online Filing?
     
    • For starters, you will need an individual User ID and Password to log in to AF's website (unless your company uses an integrated log in process). Once logged in, you can:
      1. Add a new case - click Member Access>Online Filing then select the appropriate forum in which you wish to file arbitration, i.e. Auto, Property, Special.
      2. Access a case - click Member Access>Case Lookup then search by AF Docket Number, Claim File number, or Insured Name; or, click Member Access>My Watches if you have already added the case to your My Watches list.
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  6. How do I respond to a case Online?
     
    • You will need to log in to AF's Web site using your individual User ID and Password. Once logged in, access the case you want to respond to (Member Access/Case Lookup). Once you have accessed the case you want to respond to, access the Response page by clicking the Docket Actions/Enter Response for Respondent.
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  7. Can I respond online if the applicant did not file their case using Online Filing?
     
    • Yes. You can respond to any case file against you using OLF, regardless of how the Applicant filed the case.
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  8. I have my own User ID but I do not see a menu option for Online Filing.
     
    • Check with your Security Administrator to ensure that you have been granted access to Online Filing, and that your user account is not marked as a shared account.
    • You can contact our Member Service Department at 1-866-977-3434 to find out who your company’s assigned Security Administrator is.
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  9. What companies can I file against using Online Filing?
     
    • You can file your case against any company regardless of signatory status. You can also file against companies not listed in the AF Member Directory. Cases filed against non-signatory companies will be withdrawn prior to the hearing if consent is not received in the form of a letter or response to the arbitration filing.
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  10. Is there a limit to the size of my Contentions?
     
    • There is no limit to the size of your Contentions. We recommend typing your Contentions in your word processor, e.g. Microsoft Word, Corel, or WordPerfect prior to filing your case. This will allow you to make use of your word processor’s spell check feature and reduce the chances of your session timing out while filing your case. To transfer your Contentions from your word processor to Online Filing, simply cut and paste them.
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  11. My Contentions do not look like they do in my word processor. Why?
     
    • The contentions are stored in our database as pure text. You will not be able to format (bold, italicize, etc.) or control fonts in your Contentions. If you are trying to bring attention to a particular area of your Contentions, we recommend you type that section in all capital letters.
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  12. My evidence/damage item type does not appear on the list of available evidence/damage items. What should I do?
     
    • We have tried to provide a comprehensive list of the most widely used evidence and damage types by program, however, if the type you are trying to select does not appear on the list, simply choose OTHER and provide your description. If you are specifying OTHER for the same type of evidence/damage item, please notify our help desk for its inclusion on the list.
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  13. What is the difference between the Salvage Invoice/Expense Damage Types and the Net Salvage Recovery line item within the Damages Summary section?
     
    • We have tried to provide a comprehensive list of the most widely used evidence and damage types by program, however, if the type you are trying to select does not appear on the list, simply choose OTHER and provide your description. If you are specifying OTHER for the same type of evidence/damage item, please notify our help desk for its inclusion on the list.
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  14. Should I list my Insured’s deductible as a separate damage item?
     
    • No. There is a separate data entry element for you to enter your Insured’s Deductible. The Insured’s Deductible amount will print as a separate line item in the Damages Section of your Contentions.
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  15. How do I specify that I want a Three-Person Panel?
     
    • The Three Person Panel request is the last question in the Damages Summary section. This question will not be available if the minimum claim amount has not been reached for the program in which you are filing. See Rule 3-3 for specific information pertaining to Three Person Panel requests in each forum.
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  16. How do I file a Counterclaim?
     
    • There are two methods to file your counterclaim:
      1. Enter Counterclaim and Response from original case.
        1. Locate the original docket number using Member Access/Case Search.
        2. Select Docket Actions/Enter Counterclaim for Respondent
        3. You will then be presented with a series of pages that will allow you to enter your Counterclaim and Response at the same time.
      2. Select relationship to original case while entering a new case.

        There may be times when you are filing a case and are unaware of the original case being filed against you. When you enter a new case, the system will scan for potential related and duplicate filings.

        The data elements used by Online Filing to search for related and duplicate cases include:

        Companies Involved
        Date of Loss
        Claim Number
        Insured Name

        You will be shown a list of cases that are possibly related or duplicate claims. To mark your new case as a Counterclaim, simply select Counterclaim from the drop down menu provided.

        If you are filing a related claim that is not a Counterclaim, e.g., a MedPay case from the same loss as an existing Auto case, select the Companion Claim option. This will ensure the cases are heard together by the AF Panel.

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  17. I know of a related case, but it does not appear on the Related Docket Page. What can I do?
     
    • When searching for related cases, we compare the following items:

      Companies Involved
      Date of Loss
      Claim Number
      Insured Name

    • There is a possibility that we may miss a related claim if some or all of this information does not match your case. If you know of a related case that does not appear on the Related Docket Page, simply click the check box that indicates you know of a related case, and you will be prompted to enter the Docket Number of the related case. Online Filing will then compare your case to the Docket Number listed. The companies involved in the case MUST match the companies in your case. We will not compare file numbers and insured names. Your new case will be related to the listed Docket Number if the companies and date of loss match.
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  18. I have filed my case using Online Filing, now what?
     
    • Upon submission of your case, you will receive confirmation with the assigned docket number, ready-to-be-heard date, materials due date, etc.
    • Your only remaining step will be to electronically upload your evidence or print the evidence cover page and fax it along with your evidence packet to AF by the materials due date. NOTE: You do not need to include a copy of the Application and Contentions. (You can view the status of your evidence by viewing the Contentions page located within docket details. There is a column that lists whether AF has received each of your evidence items. There is also an outstanding evidence report available to managers to ensure AF received all file materials. When AF has received all listed evidence, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.)
    • Within 2 to 3 days of your online submission, AF will send the application and contentions to the responding company(ies) along with a hearing notice that provides the ready-to-be-heard date, materials due date, etc.
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  19. What happens if I do not send my evidence to AF?
     
    • There have been many safeguards and tracking mechanisms put in place to ensure all evidence specified is sent to AF; however, your case will proceed to hearing without your evidence if it is not received by the materials due date listed on the Evidence Cover Page.
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  20. Can I upload my scanned evidence?
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  21. Can I request a paper Hearing Notice when filing my Online Filing case?
     
    • AF will NOT offer paper Hearing Notices to parties that file or respond to cases using Online Filing. You will receive a docket number, ready to hear date, estimated heard by date, materials due date and the last reschedule request date upon completion of the case. You will be notified via e-mail of any status change within minutes of that change.
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  22. When filing some Counterclaims, I see an option to maintain the current hearing date; however, that option is not always available. Why?
    • If Hearing Notices have not been sent for the original case, you will be given the option of maintaining the current hearing. Maintaining the current hearing will expedite the hearing process. If notices have already been sent for the original hearing, the case must be rescheduled.
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  23. I have multiple evidence items of the same type, i.e. witness statement, recorded statement, etc. How do I distinguish between evidence items on my Contentions Sheet?
     
    • When selecting your evidence, you have the ability to choose as many of each evidence type as you require. You also have the ability to enter a description for each evidence item, e.g. John’s Witness Statement, Joe’s Recorded Statement. Descriptions are not required, but are recommended, especially when you have more than one evidence item of the same type, e.g. multiple witness statements, recorded statements, etc. To enter a description on your evidence item, simply click the icon on the selected evidence item. You will be taken to a page where you can enter a description for each evidence item. The description you enter here will appear on the printed Contentions Sheet.
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  24. How do I file an amendment to an Online Filing case?
     
    • To amend an Online Filing, access the Docket Details page. From the Docket Actions menu item, select Amend Application.
    • Your case will be displayed. Make any corrections and save your case. You will have the ability to reprint the Application and Contentions.
    • Please note, you must send a copy of all Amended Applications to the adverse parties or you may utilize AF's Notification Service.
    • You will not be able to amend cases sent to AF via traditional means, i.e., mail, E-File, etc., by using Online Filing. You must submit those amendments to the Member Service Center via mail.
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  25. Can I withdraw cases online?
     
    • Yes, you can withdraw cases online by accessing the Docket Details page of the case in question. From the Docket Actions menu item, select Withdraw Docket. You will then be prompted to enter a reason for withdrawing the case, e.g. settled with Respondent, etc. and press the Withdraw Docket button.
    • Please note, YOU MUST be the Applicant to withdraw the case. Respondents are not permitted to withdraw cases.
    • However, you can withdraw ANY CASE where your company is the Applicant regardless of filing method. This is not limited to Online Filing cases.
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  26. I have a question about filing my case. Where can I receive assistance?
     
    • For general rules or process-related questions, you can receive assistance by calling our Member Service Center at 1-866-977-3434.
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  27. Can a User obtain individual Online Filing usage information under the Reports section? Can a manager see usage reports for a unit?
    • A manager can run an Online Filing Productivity report so long as their company’s System Administrator has granted them admin or report rights. The Productivity Report feature is found under Reports/Online Filing Reports. Reports can be run for a given date range and is broken down by Date, User, and Transaction Type (e.g. Add Docket, Respond). They can also request the report in Excel format if they want to manipulate the data in a way the report does not give them.
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  28. If an employee leaves the company and e-mail notifications sent to this person are returned advising that he/she is no longer employed, does AF monitor this or take corrective action? If not, what are we to do?
     
    • AF does not monitor returned e-mail notifications. The member's dedicated System Administrator should proactively manage the leaving employees email account by having his/her emails forwarded to another representative. This can be done by either forwarding their e-mail through your company's e-mail system or contacting the AF Help Desk (support@arbfile.org) to have the user's open cases changed to another user. Another suggestion would be to have a group e-mail box that all adjusters use when filing to eliminate this problem. For managers, the Case Workflow Reports help manage the process of identifying filings involving this individual (found on "My Arbfile" page under "Reports").
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  29. I find that the Online Filing system will shut down after 5 to 10 minutes if not used. Can this be expanded?
     
    • We are sorry to hear about your problem you are having with your connection. The time out on AF's website is 30 minutes, and we have code in place to keep sessions 'alive' while you are in a case, e.g. filing or responding. If you are timing out in 5 - 10 minutes, this might be a problem with your company's proxy server and is something you should address with your IT Department.
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  30. Are non-members able to file or respond to cases online?
     
    • Yes, but only if they have previously filed or responded to arbitration (which means a company code was already established) or they received a non-signatory company / billing code and are set up with online access - after completing our Security Administration form.
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  31. What if an insurer or self-insured is signatory to one forum, say Auto, but wants to file a claim in another forum, say Property. Can they file the Property case online even though they are not signatory to that Agreement?
     
    • Yes, they are able to file the Property case online. They will be prompted, however, to confirm that the member they are filing against has provided consent. The nonmember will select "Yes" and submit a copy of the consent letter they received from the member respondent. If prior consent has not been obtained, the nonmember will select "No" and the case will be diaried and reviewed prior to hearing to see if the respondent answers, implying consent. If no answer or consent letter is submitted, the case will be administratively closed.
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  32. If a member has multiple subsidiaries within their group - some are signatory, some are not - can they file online for a subsidiary that isn't signatory?
     
    • Only if that subsidiary was involved in a previously filed arbitration via paper (which means a company code was already established) and/or received a non-signatory company / billing code and are set-up with online access.
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  33. Can a third-party that represents a member (i.e. TPA, lawyer) use Online Filing?
     
    • Yes, so long as we have created a specific company code for the TPA, they have a dedicated Security Administrator, and the member has provided written consent for the TPA to have access to file or respond on their behalf.
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  34. Can I fax my arbitration application or response?
     
    • No, Applications, Responses, or Contentions are NOT accepted via fax. You can utilize our Online Filing system to submit applications or responses. Online Filing offers a number of benefits including saving you both time and money and having a positive effect on the environment by eliminating paper from the arbitration process
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  35. Can I fax my supporting arbitration evidence?
     
    • Yes, supporting evidence will be accepted via fax up to the Materials Due Date but ONLY if the following conditions are met. Faxed evidence must be:
      • Sent with the AF bar-coded document coversheet printed from the system (with the AF coversheet placed on top of each evidence item; no other coversheet should be included) AND
      • Faxed to 813-889-4060
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  36. What is the actual 'time' cut off on the last day to respond and how does that integrate with time zone considerations?
     
    • The cut off time to submit amendments, responses, evidence, etc., on the Materials Due Date is midnight Eastern Time (11:59:59 ET), regardless of the time zone in which you are located.
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