Insurance disputes are often multi-faceted. Issues can arise with contractual interpretation, statutory duties, factual claims and loss analysis. Often insurance claims have a deeply emotional element to them too. New Zealanders have a heavy personal investment in their homes and in their businesses. They often see insurance as the ultimate back-stop against disaster. But insurers are bound to assess claims on their merits, and not all claims are equal.
The Courts are kept busy with insurance litigation, and arbitration is often seen as a good alternative to litigation. But mediation has also been long-recognised as an effective alternative in this sector. It enables the parties to have their say, and to seek a sensible basis on which claims can be settled. It can allow the parties to save significant unrecoverable net litigation costs if settlement is achieved.
Other dispute resolution options which may be particularly relevant to insurance disputes include early neutral evaluation and expert determination. Sometimes parties are simply faced with a sticking point on which they cannot reach agreement. In those cases a third party neutral can provide a binding or non-binding decision on that point, allowing the parties to then resolve their dispute. These processes can also work well together with mediation.
NZDRC has a number of arbitrators, mediators, expert determiners, and early neutral evaluators who are highly experienced, and effective, at dealing with insurance specific disputes.