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Don’t Go Into Mediation Cold: Settlement Requires A Game Plan

It’s Football Season: Break Out The “X’s” and “O’s” And Prepare

Ninety-eight percent of all lawsuits do not go to trial. The vast majority of those are settled.

It’s time to get more pro-active with your retained counsel to prepare adequately for settlement.

As a lawyer trying cases, I would spend at least a week in 12 hour/day trial prep mode for a three-week trial. Then I’d work between 14 and 16 hours a day during trial. (OK, maybe only 10 hours on Sundays.)

Preparing for mediation? Not so much. I’m not sure what it is about lawyers who gravitate toward litigation, but it seems as if we think we already know how to negotiate. (Unfortunately, I’ve suffered from that same hubris myself.)

I regularly give seminars to lawyers about mediation and negotiation and ask how many of them took a formal negotiation class in law school. The average, over a wide pool in many different states, is less than 15%.

Leigh Thompson, a professor at the Kellogg business school at Northwestern, says, “Excellent negotiators do not rely on intuition; rather, they are deliberate planners.”

A week or so before your next mediation or settlement conference, ask your counsel what his/her plan is for the negotiation. Expect a long pause, or an answer like, “My plan is to start really low and go up r e a l l y, r e a l l y slowly.”

Tell your counsel you want to pay them to be thorough and think creatively about the settlement negotiations. Ask them to send you their mediation game plan. It should include a plan of disclosures and a plan of concessions. You might not stick to it religiously, and of course you will modify it as circumstances dictate, but it will be a guide and it will significantly reduce reactivity and negative emotions which can get in the way of settling those cases you don’t want to try.

Posted in Mediation & Settlement, SPOT on Issues.

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2 Approaches To Early Resolution And Cost Savings For Litigation Guidelines September 19, 2011

Posted in Mediation & Settlement, Negotiation, SPOT on Costs.

We welcome Nancy Hudgins as a contributing author to the Claims SPOT. Nancy is is a national mediator based in San Francisco and will be writing on resolving claims. In her first post, she points to two methods to early resolution and ways they can cut litigation cost.

5 comments
100 Posts And Counting September 6, 2011

Posted in Commentary, My SPOT.

100 articles and counting. In today’s post we stop to reflect on our latest accomplishment and provide some context as to our last 100 articles. Thanks for the continued support and we look forward to writing the next 100.

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6 Ways To Conquer Procrastination – A Primer For The Claims Professional August 17, 2011

Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

Continuing with more insight from the Business Insider War Room, our most recent post deals with ways to fight procrastination. One of the hardest things to do sometimes is avoid distractions and focus on the work. Claims can be exceptionally exciting but at times can be rather repetitive. Working to deal with those times of procrastination in a positive way will help you become a better claims person. Take a look at these ideas and let us hear from you about others.

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7 Steps To Effective Problem Solving For Every Claims Professional August 2, 2011

Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

Let’s face it solving problems in claims is a core reality to what we do. From the second a claim hits your desk until the minute it leaves it there are a series of problems that need to be solved. Should this claim even be accepted? Was there any liability? What experts should I hire? How much is it worth? What are my next steps? At every turn there is another problem that needs to be solved. As you probably have experienced, some people are very good problem solvers and others are not. In claims, however, there is no escaping the need to solve a variety of issues on a daily basis. Don’t fret if you don’t consider yourself a good problem solver as it turns out there is help for you. In our latest post we discuss 7 effective step to problem solving.

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“Summer’s Here And I’m For That” With 2 Ideas To Improve Your Claims Operations July 11, 2011

Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

It’s another summer and it can be a slow time for many. Don’t waste the opportunity of a slow time period to improve your operation. In our latest post, we suggest 2 ways to make your claims organization better. First we write about developing a better claim review process and create a value added claims auditing process that goes beyond crossing the “T”. Second, conduct a worklow audit and you will find hours of wasted time for those working even the most basic tools such as Excel or Outlook.

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5 Must Haves To Consider When Implementing a New Claims System June 21, 2011

Posted in Claims Technology, SPOT on Ops.

Implementing a new claims system can be fraught with issues and concerns. It is important to understand the people aspect both before and after a system is put into place. At the end of the day the system must support people and those people should be involved in the process way before you go live. This week we learn 5 suggestions to assist in the implementing a claims system learned from Paul Tuhy, Global Head of Claims for XL Insurance who recently spoke about technology at the most recent Americas Claims Event in New Orleans.

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Shakespeare & Claims: Looking Inward June 6, 2011

Posted in Claims Auditing, Commentary.

Cassius said in Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars — but in ourselves…” This was a frequent theme of Shakespeare’s, who put it another way in All’s Well That Ends Well, when Helena says: “Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to Heaven.” In claims and the insurance world we are quick to blame everyone when things don’t go well. In our latest post we discuss the importance of self review and reflection as a means to improved performance.

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Take Advantage of Great Learning Opportunities In Claims May 25, 2011

Posted in My SPOT.

War stories are really a great way to learn about how to improve claims handling. Claims professionals love telling a great claims story and I know I have learned so much from those stories of the past. When the opportunity to learn from those involved in major past events occurs it is best to jump at that chance to learn something new. The upcoming Americas Claims Event Conference in New Orleans this June 14-16, 2011 is just one of those opportunities to learn from some great speakers.

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3 Ways to Make Your Claim Notes Better May 11, 2011

Posted in Best Practices, SPOT on Issues.

Recently I have been spending a lot of time auditing claim files. It’s really a great exercise to review files, and an important part of well-run claims organization. One thing that continues to amaze me is the number of files that have poor documentation. Writing good claim file notes are an important part of handling a claim file. Claim notes record the history of what is going on in addition to the reasoning behind claims decisions. Good claim notes tell a story.

In our latest post we discuss three suggestions to make claim notes better.

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