April 25, 2019

The Art of Mediation of Coverage Disputes

By Paul J. Van Osselaer

Mediating and settling insurance and risk transfer disputes involves interpretation of contracts and insurance policies, challenging legal issues, and the interests of multiple stakeholders. Such mediations are not just a matter of exchanging numbers. For insureds and insurers, how do you advocate your coverage position while, at the same time, exploring settlement? For a mediator, how do you navigate through such specialized advocacy and find common ground? In third-party claims, indemnity agreements are often also at play. And the so-called underlying lawsuit often has coverage issues that pose a principal impediment to settlement. Then there are the pitfalls when an insurer evaluates the underlying case differently than the insured. Or even when two or more carriers for the same insured differ in their views of coverage and exposure. All of these fall under what are sometimes all called “coverage disputes” or “insurance disputes.”

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