Alternative Dispute Resolutions
Mediation allows you the opportunity to meet with your insurance company in attempt to settle any dispute you may have with your claim. One of the benefits of mediation is that it is non-binding, which means none of the parties are required to accept the outcome or last offer on the table.
The attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin routinely assist clients in resolving their disputes through mediation. Facing off against an insurance company can be intimidating. Hiring legal counsel to assist with mediation is often necessary for many Floridians who do not have the time, resources, or experience to deal with their insurance company.
We have seen the tricks and games several insurance companies routinely employ in attempting to sway insureds into accepting much less than they’re owed. Our law firm can help you maximize your recovery by gathering and presenting all of the evidence needed for a successful mediation.
If you have questions or need assistance with a mediation over a property insurance dispute, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin.
Appraisal is much different than mediation and is often a complex process that can be difficult to navigate. Additionally, appraisal can be very expensive for a policyholder who typically is required to bear any amounts owed to their chosen appraiser and split the cost for any time expended by an umpire.
Put simply, appraisal for a property insurance claim is a process whereby the policyholder and insurance company both pick their own appraiser. Both appraisers will then agree to a neutral umpire. The parties chosen appraisers attempt to work together to set the total amount of the loss, the scope of necessary repairs, and other dollar amounts for other coverages, such as additional living expenses, law and ordinance, or damaged personal property. If the parties chosen appraisers agree on an estimate containing the total amount of loss for the claim, they will sign an appraisal award with their agreed upon estimate. If the parties chosen appraisers cannot agree on the total amount of loss for the claim, the neutral umpire will resolve any discrepancies between the appraisers and enter an appraisal award based on the umpire’s final estimate.
Unlike mediation, the appraisal process is often binding. The insurance companies utilize the same appraisers and umpires over and over again, while often having the benefit of paying lesser amounts than policyholders due to their repeat business with appraisal. Insurance companies regularly use gamesmanship and their hidden claim file to tilt the appraisal playing field in their favor. The attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin can assist policyholders throughout the appraisal process and help identify any bad-faith actions or unwarranted edits made by insurance companies with respect to appraisal awards.
If you have questions or need assistance with an appraisal over a property insurance dispute, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently approved the addition of mandatory arbitration provisions in Florida property insurance policies. Like many rights that have recently been stolen from Florida policyholders, the addition of arbitration provisions was a surprise to many who almost unanimously agree arbitration can be a costly and time-consuming trap for policyholders.
The vast majority of Florida policyholders simply will not have the experience, time and resources needed to successfully dispute an insurance claim through a complex arbitration process. On the contrary, your insurance company likely has a team of adjusters, experts, and attorneys who are familiar with the arbitration process and can use it eviscerate a policyholder’s chance to a fair outcome.
Arbitration is a binding legal process governed by a complex set of laws known as Florida’s Arbitration Code. This process takes place outside of a courtroom and occurs with the presence of an arbitrator or arbitration panel, often times a former Judge. The arbitrator is not on your side and is required to remain neutral, which generally means the arbitrator cannot provide advice or assistance regarding the insurance claim to the policyholder. Similar to a lawsuit, both parties will gather and serve formal evidence, present evidence, interview witnesses and argue the merits of the case. At the conclusion of the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator will issue a final decision.
A link to the Florida Arbitration Code can be found here:
Your insurance company will most likely have a lawyer attend the arbitration on their behalf who is familiar with the rules of arbitration. As a policyholder, attending an arbitration on your own without the necessary knowledge and resources can be a monumental task. The attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin have the experience and resources needed to put forth the strongest evidence and place the policyholder on a level playing field. If you have questions or need assistance with an arbitration over a property insurance dispute, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin.