How to Effectively Mediate a Claim

Posted on September 15, 2015

Mediating a claim is one of the most difficult jobs an insurance adjuster can be tasked with. Often, the two sides have vastly different starting points (otherwise, they would not need a mediator). As the mediator, it is your job to try and find a solution that both opposing parties will agree to. There is no magic trick to make this easy. Nevertheless, there are some ways to make the process as smooth as possible. Whether you are just learning how to mediate a claim or have many under your belt already, here are a few tips that will make your job easier:

Be Flexible

James Curry has over three decades of experience defending insurance companies and now runs his own mediation company. When Claims Journal asked him for tips, his advice was simple: be flexible. New information often comes out in the mediation process, although it usually does not significantly impact the negotiations. Insurance adjusters need to quickly process any new insights that are shared and adapt the negotiations accordingly.

Pace Negotiations

Often mediators focus on finding a final solution that both parties agree to, but it is also important to find a pace that both parties are comfortable with. Plaintiffs may want to rush negotiations, because the windfall they will receive significantly impacts them. Insurers may be less inclined to move quickly, because at the end of negotiating they often have to pay. It is the mediator’s job to move the process along at a reasonable speed.

Project the Final Outcome

When first beginning mediation, most adjusters have an idea of what the first few offers and counteroffers will be. Many do not project beyond the initial offer or two, though. As the mediator, you should know where negotiations are headed throughout the process, even to the very end. Try to know what each party will offer and counter, until you find a final solution.

When it comes to knowing how to mediate a claim wisely flexibility, pacing and predicting are key.