Most states have established mediation programs to bring policyholders and their insurance companies together to find common ground (see contact information for "State Regulators"
How Do I Get Started?
Your insurance company is required to notify you in writing of your right to mediation. If you wish to request mediation, contact the American Arbitration Association at (800) 7787879 or contact your insurance company or agent. Once mediation has been agreed to, the mediator will notify you and the company of the date, time, and place of the conference. Mediation will be held at a neutral site.
How to Prepare for Your Mediation Conference
Be sure to bring any supporting documents, including your policy, photographs, estimates, bills, reports, letters, etc. It is important to have specific dollar estimates or quotes for all items that are in dispute.
In order to make your case for damage being wind damage rather than flood damage, collect statements about wind damage. You might be able to get a statement from neighbors who stayed during the hurricane. Be sure to include a time line (when the wind and rain occurred, when the flooding occurred) and note if the water rose slowly or gently.
Who Can Attend the Mediation Conference?
If you are relying on architects, adjusters or contractors to justify your claim, you may ask them to attend. Review your policy carefully and look for names of those listed as named insured.If the people listed there cannot attend, send someone who has the authority (often called "power of attorney") and can make a decision about settling a claim to act for the â€œnamed insured. Since mediation is designed to be non-adversarial, it is not necessary to have a lawyer present. However, you may choose to have one attend.
How Much Time and Money Is This Going to Cost?
Mediation can continue as long as both parties agree that they are making progress. Most mediation procedures only last a few hours. Mediation is paid for by the insurance company, except in the case where the consumer cancels without good cause and wants to reschedule the mediation. In that case, the consumer pays.