Francine Schlaks has been a mediator for the California Department of Insurance for the past 4 years and a member of the American Arbitration Association (AA). She has mediated hundreds of case involving all types of insurance losses.
Natural Disasters: Assessing the Damage
When hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters strike, insurance companies are inundated with claims. Policyholders – both individual and commercial – who have lost their businesses and homes request immediate relief. Hard-working adjusters assess the damage and determine payouts to the best of their ability, but often, in such emotionally overwhelming and stressful situations, denied claims and reduced payouts can lead to heated legal disputes.
Insurance companies and public insurance departments are not equipped to handle thousands of disputed claims simultaneously. Nor is a fully-functioning court system (let alone a court system operating at a diminished capacity). When time is of the essence, insurers, policyholders and public interests require a better solution.
The Mediation Solution
An effective mediation program is an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve large-scale insurance policy disputes. Mediation provides disputing parties with the opportunity to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution themselves; trained mediators facilitate the negotiations and help insurers and insured’s avert costly, acrimonious, litigious battles. Valued relationships are preserved, and both sides can achieve a satisfying solution in a short period of time while sparing the resources of an overburdened court.