To help policyholders with disputed insurance claims related to Hurricane Ida, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) has established a new mediation program.
The “Hurricane Ida Mediation Program,” which begins this week, is open to all authorized property and casualty insurers, as well as surplus lines insurers. It will facilitate disputes for personal lines residential insurance claims of up to $50,000, a release from the LDI said.
Either the insurer or policyholder can make a request for mediation through the program – the other party may accept or reject the invitation, LDI said. Those who decline the invitation are still eligible to participate again in the program. When a mediator is assigned to a case, they will ask the parties involved to provide all relevant documentation related to the claim and explain why they have not been able to resolve their differences.
Policyholders can bring an attorney or other representative in the mediation, and both insurers and policyholders can bring adjusters, appraisers, contractors or other expert witnesses.
“I’m confident this new mediation program will be helpful in solving claim disputes between insurers and policyholders and getting people what they need to put their homes and lives back in order,” said Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.
Mediators will have 30 days to set the date for mediation. All mediations will take place in either the Baton Rouge or New Orleans metropolitan area at locations provided by the mediators. In addition, mediations can last up to 90 minutes; if the parties reach a partial agreement, they can continue to use the mediator’s services beyond the 90 minutes, but they will have to pay for the additional costs.
Participation in the mediation program is voluntary for insurers and policyholders. LDI also noted that the two mediation providers – Mediation & Arbitration Professional Systems (MAPS) and Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions – are charging a flat fee of $600 for their services.
The program is expected to run through June 30, 2022, LDI said in a release.