Decisions Are Final and Binding

Arbitration Forums, Inc. has received positive member feedback as we focus on decision quality. Per the various arbitration Agreements, a decision by an arbitrator is “final and binding without the right to rehearing or appeal.” For this reason, the member needs to be familiar with Rule 4-2 and Rule 3-9.    

Rule 4-2

Pursuant  to  Article  Third,  the  arbitrating  companies  must  notify AF  of  a  clerical  or  jurisdictional  error  via  AF’s  website  within  30  calendar  days  after  the  decision’s publication  date. The determination as to whether an actual error was made is at AF’s sole discretion and is not subject to further review, appeal, or inquiry. AF may also find and correct clerical or jurisdictional errors without notice from the arbitrating companies within 30 calendar days after publication of the decision.

Below are examples of clerical and jurisdictional errors:

Clerical Error – A mistake made by AF staff or the arbitrator(s). Examples of AF staff error include not providing proper notice of filing or not assigning a requested three-person panel.

Correctable Arbitrator Errors
  • Mathematical errors 
  • Switching the parties when recording the liability decision
  • Referencing the lack of evidence that was listed in the filing
  • Applying a state regulation or statute from a state other than the loss state
  • Misapplying an AF Rule or procedure
Jurisdictional Error – Occurs when an arbitrator fails to rule on an Affirmative Defense/Exclusion; asserts an Affirmative Defense/Exclusion was not pled by a party; renders a decision on an issue not in dispute or over which arbitration lacks jurisdiction; or improperly dismisses a case for lack of jurisdiction where jurisdiction exists.

Rule 3-9

When there is a policy limits issue or a coverage of denial that was not raised in the filing, members have 60 days from the date of the published decision to raise and support it. 

A  copy  of  the  denial  of  coverage  letter  to  the  party (insured) seeking  coverage for  the  loss  or  proof  of  policy limits must accompany the inquiry or no action can be taken. 
When  an  award  exceeds  policy  limits,  the  filing  company  will  have  the  option  to  accept  the  policy limits as final settlement and forego recovery of the claim against the insured directly or have the decision voided to pursue alternative means of full recovery.
(a)  Filing  company  made  its  filing  at  least  120  calendar  days  before  the  statute  of  limitations  expires; and 
(b)  Responding  company  pleads  its  defense  at  least  60  calendar  days  before  the  statute  of  limitations expires.

When not to submit a Post-Decision Inquiry (PDI):
  • Disagreeing with the decision regarding liability or damages.
  • The arbitrator did not comment on specific evidence.
  • Wanting further explanation. 
  • Disagreeing with a decision based on the belief that the arbitrator misunderstood the facts or misread the evidence.
  • Failing to submit specific evidence or attaching the evidence to the wrong location (i.e., Counter Claim Response section).
  • Failing to raise an exclusion in the filing other than policy limits or denial of coverage.
  • Not raising Prior Payments in the Prior Payment field. Prior Payments not supporting cashed, cleared, or paid at the time of evidence submission/filing.