May 2015 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. System Maintenance, August 2015
  2. Clarification to Rule 2-4 and Denial of Coverage
  3. Contentions Are Not Evidence
  4. Auto Damages: Personal Versus Commercial
  5. Upcoming E-Subro Hub Enhancements, May 2015
  6. Especially for Arbitrators — Enroll in Upcoming QwikShares!
  7. An Update on Conserving Resources

System Maintenance, August 2015

Hammer and screwdriver crossed in front of a cloudAF is scheduled to perform system maintenance and upgrades. As a result, AF's Web site will be unavailable from 8 PM Eastern on Friday, August 14, 2015 to 10 PM Eastern on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our members. AF is committed to continuously enhancing our products and services. We thank you for your continued support.

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Clarification to Rule 2-4 and Denial of Coverage

Chapter 17 of the Reference Guide to AF's Agreements and Rules has been updated to provide further clarification on Affirmative Defenses, specifically for no liability policy in effect on the date of loss and denial/disclaimer of coverage. Some of the updates include:

  • Clarifying the distinction between the two coverage prompts that a Respondent must answer when submitting a response (a liability policy was in effect on the loss date and has coverage been denied for the claim in dispute)
  • Scenarios where a denial of coverage defense for the claim may still be appropriate even when a denial of coverage letter to the alleged negligent driver may not be available
  • Arbitrator consideration and discretion over "conditional" denial of coverage letters

AF strongly encourages all filers, responders, and member arbitrators to read Chapter 17 for understanding and awareness. AF will consider the same viewpoint when a coverage defense is raised post-decision per Rule 3-9.

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Contentions Are Not Evidence

In rare instances, we have seen parties submit their contentions as part of their evidence (see example below). This is not acceptable, and contentions submitted in this manner may not be considered by the arbitrator. When filing or responding, be sure to enter your contentions in the Contentions section and refrain from declaring/submitting them as an Evidence document.

Screenshot of the Contentions screen

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Auto Damages: Personal Versus Commercial

Arbitration cases are predominately filed in the Auto Forum, dealing with both personal and commercial vehicles. Personal passenger vehicles have pretty common damage items; collision repair, towing, storage, total loss evaluation, and rental are the most prevalent. Periodically, there is inclusion of car seat replacement as well, covered as that vehicle's equipment. There is not much deviation from those damage items.

Image of commercial vehiclesIn commercial lines, however, the variance between vehicles and their repair expense/total loss value is much greater. The size of vehicles in commercial lines varies from utility pickups and relatively small box trucks to larger delivery trucks and tractor-trailer units. Some may be outfitted with cherry-pickers, interior shelving, exterior storage units, or fifth wheels. Business lettering may be included or tandem rear axles known as twin screws.

To correctly support the value of the vehicle or repair, it is critical to submit evidence that proves the presence of and cost to replace these items. Without evidential proof of the presence and value of these unique items, the arbitrator has the right to omit them from the award, regardless of whether the respondent disputed them. So from a filer's or responder's perspective, be sure to include proof of the existence and value. From an arbitrator's vantage point, confirm that the evidence supports the presence and value of the unique items before entering an award that includes them.

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Upcoming E-Subro Hub Enhancements, May 2015

E-Subro Hub logo

Arbitration Forums, Inc. will be releasing a new enhancement to E-Subro Hub in May 2015 that enables a party to make private evidence public after a demand is issued. For more information, see the March issue of the E-Bulletin for E-Subro Hub.

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Especially for Arbitrators — Enroll in Upcoming QwikShares!

Enroll

Enroll today for our upcoming Arbitrator QwikShare Webinars! Our QwikShares are short, topic-specific Webinars that focus on issues that frequently generate questions from arbitrators and post-decision corrections. During these 20-minute, instructor-led Webinars, attendees may ask questions via Chat. We know your time is valuable. We hope you'll appreciate and take advantage of the opportunity for AF to quickly share important feedback and tips without a significant investment of your time.

Enroll in Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims. During this session, you will be shown how to determine the validity of an Affirmative Defense, explain how the liability assessment affects the Affirmative Defense validity, and demonstrate hearing and deciding the counterclaim case.

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An Update on Conserving Resources

In 2008, AF began a Going Green initiative to look for ways to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint. Since that time, AF has instituted a recycling program for everything from toner, ink, and paper, to cans, plastics, and cardboard. We have also moved many of the processes of arbitration and subrogation online, significantly decreasing the amount of paper sent and received. We would like to share some of the results from the last five years of our Going Green initiative.

Our latest efforts in 2015 are E-Statements, electronic billing statements that members retrieve from the AF Web site.

Chart of paper sent

Chart of paper received

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