October 2019 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. AF Reduces Fees in 2020
  2. Revisions to AF Agreements
  3. Ride Hailing and Usage-Based Recovery
  4. Avoid These TRS Entry Errors
  5. Insured Calls Regarding Claims
  6. Reference Guide Update: Affirmative Defenses/Exclusion
  7. Reminder: System Maintenance, December 2019

AF Reduces Fees in 2020

Image of the word feesArbitration Forums, Inc. (AF) is pleased to announce additional changes to our fee structure, providing our members with even more cost-effective services. In addition to a five dollar reduction to filing fees, AF will continue to provide the use of E-Subro Hub at no charge.

These changes will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

AF is dedicated to ensuring you, our members, are at the center of everything we do. We appreciate your continued participation in AF’s programs.
Top of this bulletin

Revisions to AF Agreements

Image of two hands across a table holding a sheet of paperUpdates to Article Fifth and Sixth of the AF Agreements have been made to include arbitrator participation. These changes will become effective March 1, 2020.

Article Fifth – AF’s Function and Authority
  • (c) determine qualification criteria, provide for the selection and appointment of arbitrators, and establish arbitrator participation requirements for the signatory companies;
Article Sixth – Arbitrator Participation
  • Signatory companies agree to provide qualified arbitrators from among full-time employees, and hear as many cases as they file.
Top of this bulletin

Ride Hailing and Usage-Based Recovery

Image of a woman holding a cell phoneThe world around us is evolving. We can use our modern phones to order up a car at a moment’s notice, or we can purchase insurance based on vehicle usage. While things certainly are changing, Arbitration Forums, Inc. (AF) still provides services for recovery that fit the modern world.

Selecting the correct forum for recovery can be confusing when considering these new entries into our industry. A good clue to figuring out how to properly file a case is to focus on the position of the filer (Recovering Party [Applicant] or Company 1) to the case.

Here are some examples:
  • Recovering Party (Applicant)’s insured is in an accident with a ride-hailing vehicle and is trying to recover collision damages and rental costs. This still fits within our Auto Forum.
  • Recovering Party (Applicant) pays damages for an accident under a usage-based policy, and seeks recovery from the tortfeasor. This, too, fits in the Auto Forum.
  • The filing carrier paid out of its liability coverage for damage to a third party while its named insured was transporting a ride hailing customer and seeks recovery from the ride- hailing company’s carrier. This falls under the Special Forum.
AF’s rules and agreements are flexible enough to allow for losses encompassing these new and interesting services that have entered the marketplace. With new insurers and self-insured entities arising as a result of the ever-changing world, it is important to remember that AF allows for non-signatory companies to be party to arbitration with written consent. 
Top of this bulletin

Avoid These TRS Entry Errors

1. Prior Payments must be entered where provided (Add Payment on the Feature Response page). Credit will not be given for payments noted anywhere else. (Proof that payment cleared is also needed.)
Image of the Payments screen
2. Policy Limits – Add Exposure: Users should only add exposures not included in the specific arbitration filing. Do not enter the filing company’s claim amount if a prior payment was made. The prior payment must be entered as noted above.
Image of the Add Exposure option
3. Disputing Damages: Unless the appropriate damages type is selected, your damage dispute may not be considered. For example, if you are disputing the filing company’s Fees, you must select this damage type. If you select Tax Amount in error, the arbitrator will not consider the damage dispute.
Image of the Recovery Sought screen
4. Include all parties involved in the loss in the filing, not just the party from which recovery is sought. This allows all recoveries to be addressed, if applicable, and eliminates filing issues later on.
Top of this bulletin

Insured Calls Regarding Claims

Image of a hand holding a red telephoneWe’ve experienced an increase in phone calls from insureds wishing to discuss the arbitration decision on their claim. As a reminder, we do not discuss arbitration cases/decisions with insureds. We refer insureds back to their carrier to discuss their claims.

Intercompany arbitration resolves subrogation disputes between insurers and self-insureds. While any deductible interest is included in the award as a courtesy calculation, and paid “in the interest of good will between the member companies,” the insured is not a party to the dispute. The subrogated carrier is free to adjust the claim as it deems appropriate, and not base its handling on the decision.
Top of this bulletin

Reference Guide Update: Affirmative Defenses/Exclusion

Image of wooden letters spelling out the word rulesWe occasionally receive questions asking if a disputed issue is a liability argument, damage dispute or exclusion to compulsory arbitration. To help clarify, we’ve updated page 32 (Chapter 17, Rule 2-4) in the Reference Guide. The update follows:

An affirmative defense/exclusion, on the other hand, is an argument that does not address the dispute itself (i.e., negligence or damages owed), but rather raises an objection to compulsory arbitration’s jurisdiction based on Article Second, Exclusions, of the arbitration agreements. Regardless of who is at fault or what damages are owed, the assertion of an affirmative defense/exclusion suggests the case cannot be heard because arbitration lacks jurisdiction over the matter. Affirmative defenses/exclusions include:
  • Items listed in Article Second of the various agreements, such as
    • Non-signatory party
    • Action does not exist in law or equity (includes no right of recovery or prior release)
    • Policy limits, etc.)
  • Rule infractions, such as
    • Filing a late counterclaim (Rule 2-2)
    • Failing to make reasonable accommodation for the inspection of an alleged defective product (Rule 2-11)
Top of this bulletin

Reminder: System Maintenance, December 2019

Image of a maintenance symbol on a keyboardAF is scheduled to perform system maintenance and upgrades. As a result, AF's website will be unavailable from 9 p.m. Eastern on Friday, December 6, 2019, to 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, December 8, 2019.

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.
Top of this bulletin