Mediation is an informal way to resolve a claims dispute between the policyholder and the
insurance company. It is a process where a neutral third party acts to encourage
and assist in the resolution of a dispute without dictating the outcome. The insurer
must provide a representative with full authority to settle the claim at the mediation
conference. The conference should be held at a location near the policyholder residence.
The insured and the insurer shall attend the mediation conference, have full knowledge
of the facts of the dispute, and be fully authorized to make an agreement to completely
resolve the claim. An insurer will be deemed to have failed to appear if the insurer’s
representative lacks authority to settle the full value of the claim. The authority
to settle the claim includes the ability to disburse the full settlement amount within
10 days of the conclusion of the conference.
Mediation is non-binding. Neither the policyholder nor the insurance company is legally
obligated to accept the outcome of the mediation conference. Settlements reached
at the conference can be rescinded within three days of the agreement as long as
the check has not been cashed.
Effective 07/01/2012, mediation may be requested only by the policyholder, as a first-party claimant, or the insurer. Disputes or denials of residential property claims (flood claims not included as they fall under rules of FEMA) in excess of $500 are eligible. Mediation is not binding on either party. The insurance company pays the entire cost of mediation. Eligibility: All property insurance claims (hurricane and non-hurricane) are eligible for mediation unless either of the following issues is present - 1) if a fraud complaint has been filed, or 2) if the insured and insurer agreed as to what has caused the loss and that cause is not covered under the policy. If there is a dispute concerning the cause of loss, and it could be covered, then it is eligible for mediation.
Cost of Mediation:
Property mediation is free for the policyholder. The insurance company pays the entire cost of the conference. However if the conference has to be rescheduled, there are associated fees. If the policyholder fails to appear for the conference, it can be rescheduled after the policyholder pays the mediator’s fee. Generally, the cost of mediation is $350. If the insurance company fails to appear, without good cause, they must pay actual cash expenses of the policyholder in attending the rescheduled conference and they must pay the mediator’s fee for the rescheduled conference.
The policyholder can bring their attorney to the mediation conference. However, the insurer must be notified of the attorney’s attendance prior to the conference.
Florida Statute 627.7015