June 2017 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Clerical Error Update
  2. Are Administrative Requests Becoming Obsolete?
  3. Deferment Needed? Don't Forget the Evidence

Clerical Error Update

AF is always listening to our members regarding our products and services, making sure they provide the highest possible quality and member satisfaction.

Based on member feedback, the following change to the definition of Clerical Error (noted by underline) will be effective for all cases heard on and after July 1, 2017.

Clerical Error — A mistake made by Arbitration Forums' staff or the arbitrator(s). Examples of AF staff error include not providing proper notice of the Materials Due Date or not assigning a requested three-person panel. Arbitrator errors include mathematical errors; switching the parties when recording the liability decision; referencing the lack of or need for evidence that was, in fact, submitted; applying, on his/her own, a state regulation or statute from a state other than the loss state; or misapplying an AF Rule or procedure. It is at AF's sole discretion to determine whether a correctible error was made.

For further clarification on this change, please see page 58 in the Reference Guide to AF's Agreements and Rules.

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Are Administrative Requests Becoming Obsolete?

The Administrative Requests section in AF's online filing application (OLF) includes specific requests that a party may make, including accepting policy limits, requesting a deferment, personally appearing, and requesting the return of physical evidence.

The Administrative Requests area also includes a blank area for other requests most commonly used by arbitrators with a specific claim handling background. With the advent of more detailed profiling and better case matching tools, these requests have become virtually unnecessary. Cases are randomly assigned by AF based on the disputed issues and the arbitrator's profile.

There are rare occasions in which the blank field can be used effectively, for example, if a company has video evidence it intends to include as part of the case, or to notify AF of a different contact person to present a video during a personal appearance. For New York PIP cases, the blank field is used to notify AF of a teleconference of a local personal representative hearing.

Screenshot of the applicant view

TIP: When intending to show a piece of video evidence to the Arbitrator, always answer "Yes" to Personal Rep at Hearing and list the video evidence in your submitted evidence. If the Personal Rep at Hearing field response is "No," the request cannot be accommodated.

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Deferment Needed? Don't Forget the Evidence

A deferment is a postponement on the hearing of a case for one year from the date of filing. Per the Rule 2-10:

  • Deferment requests by the filing company are automatically granted. If a responding company believes the delay is not warranted and challenges the request, an arbitrator will consider and rule on the validity of the request.
  • Deferment requests by a responding company are automatically challenged and, as above, an arbitrator will consider and rule on the validity of the request.

So, what makes a deferment request "valid"?

To start, as the requesting party, your Deferment Justification should tell the arbitrator why the case needs to be deferred for one year, or what impact the companion claim or suit has on the arbitration case. Some examples include a policy limit issue with a pending BI, or a coverage or fraud investigation is pending.

Secondly, support your deferment request with evidence. Examples of evidence include a letter of attorney representation, litigation documentation, and claim file documentation.

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