Mediation / Arbitration Endorsement
With all of the craziness in the insurance market, and the ridiculous rate increases, American Integrity has come up with an optional discount on their policy which is a Mediation/Arbitration discount. This their attempt to save homeowners premium dollars that are otherwise being wasted on the inflated costs of handling claims due to the abusive litigation tactics used by a handful of unscrupulous attorneys.
The endorsement offers a discount (20% or so generally) simply by you agreeing that you and the insurance company will work with a mediator on any claims value disputes, instead of going through the Florida Court system.
The mediation/arbitration process is considerably faster and less expensive for those involved because it’s very simple (especially when compared with the very complex and cumbersome nature of the court system). Basically it’s a discussion (mediation) about the situation and disagreement on the claim payment/value/etc with a mediator who’s there to mediate and guide discussion so both parties can get the claim settled fairly, quickly, and efficiently.
After that initial discussion, if an agreement that satisfies everyone can’t be reached, the next discussion is arbitration. Arbitration is where both sides present their arguments and information to an impartial third-party arbitrator (generally a retired attorney or a retired judge), and that arbitrator will review the information and make a decision as to what is appropriate. Both parties are then bound by that decision and move on. American Integrity will pay all of the costs for the mediation and arbitration other than any attorney fees or other expenses you may choose to incur.
Going through the court process often takes years whereas the mediation process generally takes months or even weeks. You’re still allowed to have an attorney if you want one; you’re just not entitled to have the insurance company pay for your attorney. Some unscrupulous attorneys have made a practice of causing claims to take significantly longer than they should, because they know they can bill for their time AND the insurance company then MUST pay that (sometimes inflated – or very inflated) bill. Unfortunately, this is not true of MOST attorneys. MOST practice law ethically and appropriately which is why the rules are the way they are. Like a lot of things, once one figures out how to game the system, everyone suffers. Like I say to my kids, “this is why we can’t have nice things!!!!”
We are comfortable with this discount and endorsement because American Integrity is one of the good companies out there. They work very hard to pay every dime that is owed to put their customers back together after a disaster and to do that all while keeping their rates as competitive as they can. There are insurance companies out there where, if they offered this endorsement, we would not recommend or even offer this option because it would allow the few bad insurance companies to take advantage of their policy holders. With American Integrity, I am not concerned about you being taken advantage of because American Integrity handles their claims with actual integrity. That’s not saying everything will be perfect 100% of the time – there’s always friction between what a property owner would want done on their home, and what is allowed by the insurance contract. That’s why there are mediators and arbitrators to help with an outside view.
Bottom line, with that said, I’m comfortable with American integrity’s claims process and philosophy, as well as the ability of Florida’s professional mediators and arbitrators, that you are getting back more in a discount than you’re giving up with this optional endorsement.
If you want to add this endorsement, it has to be requested to your agent AT LEAST 7 days prior to your renewal date. Additionally, the sooner it is added, the more likely your mortgage company can pay the updated premium, and not end up paying more from your escrow initially than is needed.
As always, call us with questions and make sure you refer to your specific policy language to make coverage or claims decisions.