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Hurricane Sandy Mediation Program A Success

Thursday, August, 22, 2013

As natural disasters emerge and flood the insurance market with numerous claims, several states have responded by allowing mediation programs to cut down on the number of disputes that policy owners have with their insurance companies.  The areas hit by Hurricane Sandy are certainly no different, and New Jersey has had an overwhelming number of claims that have backlogged companies and frustrated consumers. 


The claims mediation program in New Jersey has received 488 requests for mediation so far, showing that consumers are certainly interested in resolving their issues in a more expedient manner.  Of the claims that have already been mediated through this program, 68% have already achieved settlement in one form or another.  Mediation has proven itself as a valuable tool for getting resolution for disgruntled homeowners who are attempting to resolve their claims many months after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region. 


The mediation program is assisting individuals with claims involving automobiles, commercial property, and homeowners’ insurance policies.  Thousands of unresolved claims in New Jersey alone have led many people with claims to argue that the process has reached a standstill, a problem which mediation hopes to eliminate.  The mediation program has also taken items one step further by helping consumers craft their claims and ensure that all documents are in place before contacting insurance policies.  The hope of such an approach is to limit the number of claims that get “stuck” while also helping consumers already in that situation. 


In the mediation program, experienced dispute resolution professionals help both sides by reviewing the evidence and hearing the claim, leading the parties towards a conversation that generates a resolution in the form of a closed claim.  Many homeowners have already achieved success with this method.  Other states affected by Hurricane Sandy have also included mediation as an option to help cut down on the number of cases stuck in the system.