August 2019 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. A Look Ahead at TRS
  2. Updates to AF's Arbitration Rules
  3. Notifications in TRS
  4. TRS Resource Page and Upcoming Webinars
  5. Enhancements to the TRS Worklist Queues
  6. Upcoming TRS Q&A
  7. Expand Your Arbitrator Experience – We Need You!
  8. Payment Received? Don't Forget to Withdraw the Case!
  9. Quick Tips on Filing or Responding
  10. Thank You for Joining TRS

A Look Ahead at TRS

Image of a calendar with October 1 on itAs you know, TRS will become the exclusive platform for all automobile subrogation arbitration program cases by October 1, 2019. And what about the other programs?

AF currently anticipates:
  • PIP and Med Pay arbitration programs will transition to the upgraded technology in 2020.
  • All remaining arbitration programs will be upgraded to the TRS platform by the end of 2021.
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Updates to AF's Arbitration Rules

Image of a magnifying glass over the words AF RulesTotal Recovery Solution (TRS) will become the exclusive platform for all automobile subrogation arbitration program cases (cases filed in our Auto program) on October 1, 2019. Additional coverages/forums will be added in 2020 and 2021 (PIP, Med Pay, Property, and Special Arbitration).

As we upgrade Online Filing (OLF) to the TRS technology platform, we want to share updates to the Rules noting TRS terminology and changes for new Auto filings effective October 1, 2019.

Substantive updates include:
  • Rule 2-1 and 2-2: Amendments and reschedules are replaced by revisits and extensions in TRS; Materials Due Date is replaced by Due Date; all supporting evidence must be attached to the filing; and allowance is made for counterclaims where salvage is pending at the time of the original filing.
  • Rule 2-6: Companion claims across different coverage lines will be heard separately in TRS.
View the updated Rules.
 
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Notifications in TRS

Image of a triangle with an exclamation point in itElectronic notifications ensure immediate notice of arbitration filings and provide activity updates on cases. They also eliminate the need for users to enter/edit mailing addresses on each filing or response.

Notifications are set at the company level, not by individual user. View the Total Recovery Solutions® (TRS®) Notifications guide for more information.

With TRS’s improved cycle time, please call us at 866-977-3434 to discuss electronic notifications if your company is still receiving paper/mail notifications.
 
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TRS Resource Page and Upcoming Webinars

Image of a chalkboard with the words We Are Here to Help written on itWant more information on TRS? Visit the TRS Resources page to view job aids, recorded demos, TPA information, and to sign up for upcoming webinars.

We have several webinars in August. Click the links below to sign up.

TRS Filing TRS Responding TRS Hearing (for TRS Arbitrators)
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Enhancements to the TRS Worklist Queues

Conceptual image of a list on a paperIn April, AF introduced enhancements to filtering and sorting functions in Total Recovery Solution (TRS). Users are now able to utilize multi-field filtering and column-level sorting to make searching for information easier!

In addition, cases are now ordered by due date, making it easier to see which items require immediate attention. Users can also create and save their own views for each of their worklist queues.

For more information, please view the worklist job aid on the TRS Resources page.
 
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Upcoming TRS Q&A

Image of chat bubbles with the letters Q and A in themDo you have questions about TRS? Join us for a live Q&A!

We will be hosting a 30-minute webinar geared toward members who are not currently participating in TRS and are interested in learning more and/or have questions about TRS. Sign up for the webinar.
 
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Expand Your Arbitrator Experience – We Need You!

Image of people sitting around a tableThe ability to request a three-person panel and/or personal appearance in Total Recovery Solution (TRS) was implemented in February 2019 and has quickly become a popular option among filers and responders. This functionality, along with increasing filing volume and the forthcoming Auto Forum upgrade from OLF to TRS scheduled for October 1, will significantly increase the number of TRS-eligible cases and TRS usage. The need for member arbitrators has never been greater!

If you are an arbitrator interested in hearing cases as part of a three-person panel or involving a personal appearance, please advise your AF Arbitration Manager, so he or she can update your profile.

Some useful information:
  • Participation on a three-person panel provides a great learning and growth opportunity by allowing you to discuss a case with peer arbitrators from different companies across the country.
  • All three-person panels and personally represented cases are heard telephonically on a date/time acceptable by the arbitrators and/or appearing representative.
  • The volume of personal appearances in the Auto program has historically been nominal, and we do not foresee a change simply because the functionality exists. Most member companies do not see the need to have a representative take the time to appear before the arbitrator(s) when the case is supposed to “speak for itself.”
  • The duration of appearances is not long. Rule 3-7 provides that no oral arguments are allowed; a party may only clarify, at the arbitrator’s request, its arguments and/or evidence. If the arbitrator(s) has no questions, the call is ended.
  • A three-person panel may only be requested if the Total Company-Paid Damages are $7,500 or higher.
  • The duration of a three-person panel hearing will vary based on the complexity of the case, but the collaborative time needed will be limited because the arbitrators will thoroughly review the case prior to the call. The purpose of the hearing is to deliberate and reach a final decision.
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Payment Received? Don't Forget to Withdraw the Case!

Image of letter blocks that spell out reminderDid you know filers are required to withdraw cases from arbitration when a full settlement has been reached? Rule 2-7 states:

The filing company must immediately withdraw its filing online if the dispute is resolved, or immediately notify AF. Upon notification, AF will withdraw the case from arbitration.

Withdrawing prevents the needless hearing of cases when the parties have amicably resolved the dispute and helps reduce case cycle time by ensuring arbitrators are hearing only disputed claims.

The filing company can easily withdraw its filing online by selecting “Withdraw Docket” under Docket Actions.
Screenshot of the Withdraw Docket option under Docket Actions

It should be noted that AF cannot withdraw/close a filing based upon the responding company’s request. Only the filing company can withdraw its filing. If payment has been made in full to the filing company and the case is not withdrawn by the filing company, the responding company should submit a response and include cleared/cashed proof of payment to the filing company to support its case.

View this rule or learn about other AF rules.
 
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Quick Tips on Filing or Responding

Image of post-it notes with don't forget written on themWhen filing or responding in TRS, remember to:

1. Attach evidence to the applicable area, i.e., Liability Arguments, Damages, and Exclusions. The arbitrator will review all attached evidence, but it’s helpful to have the relevant evidence when reviewing specific issues. For example, it is helpful to be able to view the policy declarations when confirming the amount entered for policy limits.

2. If a prior payment has been made to, and accepted by, the recovering party, which the recovering party has not accounted for, enter the amount paid and attach the supporting evidence in this section. Again, it allows the arbitrator to easily confirm the payment, so proper credit is given and an accurate award is rendered.

3. Select the correct damage type, i.e., auto damage, rental, or towing, when entering damages. This is critical for many reasons. It allows the responding party to know what damages are being sought and dispute the correct damages type, if needed. It allows the case to be matched to an arbitrator with the appropriate skillset and presents the case clearly, i.e., rental damages are sought that may have been disputed. It also allows your company to run accurate analytics on arbitration usage and performance. The selection of the wrong damages type, i.e., selecting towing as the damages type when, in fact, the damages type sought is rental (and a rental bill is submitted) will be subject to arbitrator discretion; the arbitrator may or may not award the damages sought.
 
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Thank You for Joining TRS

Image of a piece of paper torn back to reveal the words Thank You!Thank you for your partnership and early adoption of the TRS platform. We appreciate your participation and feedback, which has positively contributed to its success. TRS users are currently enjoying the benefits of the upgraded platform, which includes improved decision quality, convenient arbitrator workflow, and enhanced cycle time, with decisions currently averaging 21.7 days from filing a submission. In the past two years, we have introduced new functionality including Video Evidence, 15-Day Extension, Third-Party Administrators, Collaborative Hearings, increased dollar threshold, and the elimination of the E-Subro Hub requirement, allowing all of our membership to participate. Along the way, we picked up some new E-Subro participants as well!

We are looking forward to October 1, 2019, when all automobile subrogation arbitration cases will be filed exclusively in TRS. In the interim, we continue to encourage your TRS users to utilize the upgraded platform as frequently as possible.

Reminder: All remaining OLF filers and responders at your company will be given comparable access in TRS, effective October 1, 2019. At this time, and in anticipation of the significant volume increase forthcoming, AF would like to offer your organization any additional support and/or training you might need. Please check our TRS page for recorded demos, job aids, and to sign up for informative webinars. In addition, AF will provide on-site support and training upon request!

If you have any questions regarding the TRS platform, please contact either Maria McNally, your Field Arbitration Manager, the Member Service Center at 866-977-3434, or email TRSSupport@arbfile.org.
 
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