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Company Guidelines and Standards: Conform or Compete in Damages Arbitration

Review any subrogation arbitration case where Damages are contested and as surely as you’ll see ‘in good faith’…you’re going to see the terms ‘Company Guidelines’ and ‘Industry Standards’. So…let’s take a look at what these mean in the context of an Arbitration and the eyes of an Arbitrator.

We start with ‘Company Guidelines’. We know these as recommended practices by an organization for the business in which they perform. The Guidelines can be discretionary in that some leeway can be allowed for their interpretation and use. We also know that an Arbitrator coming from the very industry in which the dispute they are hearing was created; may have Company Guidelines for their own organization.

It can also be asserted that a Company Guideline is not necessarily an Industry Standard. So for the Arbitrator the fact that you were performing within adherence to your Company Guidelines and upon which your insured relied receives due consideration. But then he/she looks to the Evidence while ensuring they remain with independent critical judgment. This is where that persuasive aspect of your Contentions can come in; not only were you operating within Company Guidelines, but you should recount the known facts that gave way to the Damages; offer reasons why parties took the actions they did (i.e. – why did your insured keep the Rental vehicle for 5 days ?); speak to the credibility of witnesses (such as to the sheer force of the impact that occurred) and explain why the Amount requested corresponds with common sense.

Lastly, be very specific with how the Amount was calculated. Company Guidelines are important and it can be helpful to mention them but once you’ve done that point the Arbitrator to the Evidence that supports in detail the Damages amount sought.

 

Case Presentation 101 is produced by Claims Resource Services; one of the nations top arbitration and subrogation services firms.  The writer Kevin Pike can be reached at kpike@claimsresource.com and has daily tips on arbitration via Twitter: @Arb2Win