November 2021 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. New Features of the Redesigned Website
  2. Introducing AF’s Data Science Initiative and Analytic Insights
  3. Concurrent Coverage/Priority of Payments Coming Soon
  4. TRS Redirect for PIP and Med Pay Cases
  5. Reminder: Auto and Special Agreement Changes

New Features of the Redesigned Website

Illustration of a laptop with the words New Features Coming SoonAs part of the new website redesign that will be launching soon, we are adding features that make it easier to find articles, training, and other resources on the site.

Articles and News
Browsing articles and news on the new site is as easy as selecting a filter. You’ll be able to filter articles by related programs, products and services, and frequently searched topics. You can also search by a specific issue of the E-Bulletin; as always, the site contains the last three years’ issues of the E-Bulletin.

Training Videos and Related Resources
In addition to articles and news, we’ve also improved how training tutorials are presented on the site. We’ve created channels of related videos by audience and linked to additional resources within the video where you can find more information on the topic.
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Introducing AF’s Data Science Initiative and Analytic Insights

Image of hands on a laptop with graphs and charts hovering above themAF is proud to announce our data science and advanced analytics offerings for members coming soon! What is data science at AF? Data science at AF is aimed at helping our membership make more informed and improved decisions with respect to subrogation, arbitration, and beyond. 

Imagine a symphony. Hosts of different instruments are working in tandem to create a masterpiece of sound. At first, the composition may seem complex; however, when broken down, we see the role each instrument plays and how they are leveraged to create a masterpiece. Like symphonies, data holds an initial complexity at face value. Data science attempts to make sense of the noise that an overload of intricate data can create. When we understand the role of data and how to utilize it, we can use that information to make more informed decisions. 

At its core, data science includes key principles such as thorough examination, testing, and cleansing of the data, trend-spotting, and the utilization of statistical models and machine learning to better understand all the directions the data can steer us. AF will apply these principles and methods to identify and better understand trends in the data over time with an initial focus on damage dispute resolution. AF seeks to empower members with more robust knowledge and insight into their own data in order to improve performance outcomes. Key performance indicators (KPIs), as captured within AF applications, will be shared so members can see how their recovery/reduction efforts are performing. 

By the end of this year, AF will be launching the Analytic Insights page in the Business Intelligence portal that will showcase the industry’s KPIs with respect to damage disputes in the Auto arbitration forum. Members will see how well they have recovered or reduced damages with respect to each damage type. At times, the amount of data captured and reported can leave more questions than answers. AF’s data science initiative is aimed at consolidating and sharing what’s most important for members and the success of their recovery efforts. 

As AF’s data science initiative evolves into 2022 and beyond, members will be able to look beyond the industry, evaluate their recovery efforts based on their own KPI’s, and pinpoint what’s worked for them in past negotiations. Members will be able to apply that knowledge to improve and streamline performance in the future. AF is excited to empower members with targeted knowledge and analytic insights that go beyond the numbers and deliver a message that members can build upon and embrace.  
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Concurrent Coverage/Priority of Payments Coming Soon

Illustration of a car in front of a clipboardIn the spirit of continuous improvement, AF is excited to announce that we will be bringing concurrent coverage/priority of payments functionality to TRS on December 12, 2021. 

More information, including screenshots and training materials, will be provided as we near the launch date.
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TRS Redirect for PIP and Med Pay Cases

Image of white paper airplanes with a red one moving away from the othersLast year, AF introduced enhanced functionality to allow the filing of new PIP and Medical Payment (Med Pay) coverages within Total Recovery Solution® (TRS®). Note: Does not include NY PIP. 

As we continue to expand TRS functionality, we wanted to notify our members that in January 2022, AF will be introducing an automatic redirect for users looking to file PIP and Med Pay cases. Users attempting to access OLF for PIP/Med Pay cases will be redirected to TRS (Note: NY PIP will remain in OLF). By filing these coverages in TRS, members benefit from reduced cycle time and improved decision quality.  

We will share an official release date and further information in the coming months.
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Reminder: Auto and Special Agreement Changes

Image of a post-it note with the words Don't Forget written on it stuck to a keyboardAs announced in the January E-Bulletin, Arbitration Forums, Inc. (AF)’s Board of Directors approved changes to the Auto and Special Agreements. These changes would make the Auto forum the exclusive forum for automobile physical damage disputes, whether the disputed issue concerns third-party contribution or concurrent coverage. Special Arbitration would remain compulsory for disputes involving third-party BI settlements, non-automobile property damage contribution or concurrent coverage, and workers’ compensation subrogation.

The changes will be implemented in two parts:
  • Effective December 2021, concurrent coverage disputes will become compulsory under the Auto forum.
  • Third-party contribution disputes will remain under the Special forum until 2022.
Below is the Agreement language that will go into effect.

Article First: Auto and Special Agreements
Bolded text shows changes.

Signatory companies must forego litigation and arbitrate any personal, commercial, or self-insured automobile damage dispute through Arbitration Forums, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as AF) where:
(a)    a subrogated insurer or self-insured seeks recovery from an at-fault party(ies); or
(b)    each has issued separate policies of property or casualty insurance providing, or as a self-insured provides, concurrent coverage to the same party or parties asserted to cover an accident, occurrence, or event out of which a first- or third-party claim or suit for automobile damage arises.

Upon settlement of a claim or suit, signatory companies must submit any unresolved disputes to Arbitration Forums, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as AF) where:
(a)    each has issued a policy of casualty insurance covering, or as a self-insured covers, one or more parties asserted to be legally liable for an accident, occurrence, or event out of which the claim or suit arises; or
(b)    each has issued separate policies of property or casualty insurance providing, or as a self-insured provides, concurrent coverage to the same party or parties asserted to cover an accident, occurrence, or event out of which a first- or third-party claim or suit for bodily injury or non-automobile property damage arises; or
(c)    a workers’ compensation carrier or a self-insured seeks to recover reimbursement of workers’ compensation benefits from an alleged tortfeasor.

Example Cases:
  • (Concurrent Coverage) A car being used as a temporary replacement vehicle is returned to the rental car company with moderate damage to the right quarter-panel. The renter's collision carrier denies the subrogation claim based on the insured's/renter's assertion that the damage was already there when the vehicle was rented. The matter will now be submitted under the Automobile Subrogation Arbitration Agreement.
  • (Contribution) Two vehicles collide and veer into a third vehicle resulting in injuries to the driver of the third vehicle as well as property damage. The carriers for the two vehicles can’t agree on the apportionment of liability. The case is settled with the third party on behalf of both vehicles and the case is submitted under the Special Arbitration to apportion liability and damages, if disputed.
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