If you’ve suffered losses due to Hurricane Ida, you may have heard about the Hurricane Ida Voluntary Mediation Program. What is it? Is it right for you?
Our Hurricane Ida insurance claim lawyers explain what you need to know about the program.
8 Things to Know About the Hurricane Ida Voluntary Mediation Program
1. It’s for claims less than $50,000.
The Voluntary Mediation Program was started by the Louisiana Department of Insurance to quickly handle the tens of thousands of insurance claims that resulted from Hurricane Ida.
The purpose of the program is to resolve minor claims quickly. These are relatively simple claims compared to claims with higher dollar amounts. Your claim must be for $50,000 or less to participate in the program.
2. It’s for residential policies.
People filing claims on residential policies may participate in the program. It’s not for commercial policies.
3. Participation is voluntary.
As you consider your options following Hurricane Ida, remember that participating in the mediation program is one of your options to resolve your case. You don’t have to participate in the program. The program has settled many claims, but you don’t have to participate at all, and you don’t have to reach a settlement.
4. The insurance company pays for the first 90 minutes.
For the first 90 minutes of the mediation session, the policyholder doesn’t pay anything. The insurance company pays $600 for the session. If you don’t reach a settlement in the first 90 minutes, the session can continue – but expect a bill. The mediator can bill for extra time.
5. A trained mediator leads the process.
The parties can discuss the case directly back and forth, but a mediation session is different. The parties have a trained mediator who oversees the mediation session process. They are trained to make sure that both parties are heard and work constructively towards a resolution.
Mediators are trained to help the parties discuss the issues and work towards a settlement. They are not on either side. The firms handling the mediation sessions are Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions and Maps Arbitration.
6. You don’t have to accept a settlement.
Before and during your mediation session, keep in mind that you don’t have to accept a settlement. The mediator may talk about the uncertainty of the litigation process and the time involved in waiting for the case to move through formal channels. Those are things to remember and consider as you decide whether to settle your case – but don’t feel pressured to settle.
One common mediation tactic is to create doubt, hoping that it will make a party lean towards settlement. The mediator should also talk about insurance policy coverage and your right to compensation. Remember your rights.
When you work with our lawyers for Hurricane Ida insurance claims, you have a team of professionals that can help you decide whether to accept a settlement offer.
7. Contractors and appraisers may attend.
One of the reasons the voluntary mediation program is especially effective is that contractors and appraisers may attend. The parties can discuss the facts, details, and dollar amounts key to the claim. With all the information out in the open, the parties can work towards a mutually agreeable settlement. Learn about how mediation works and what parties may attend in advance of your session. Work to bring the evidence and the witnesses that you need to make your case.
8. A lawyer can represent you.
There are some situations where a lawyer is essential. If the dispute is over insurance coverage and policy language, having a lawyer is extremely important for advocating for your rights and interests. When the dispute is about the cost or the extent of necessary repairs, a lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to make your case compelling. Our lawyers can help you make the most of your participation in the Hurricane Ida Voluntary Mediation Program.
Disputes about insurance bad faith are not appropriate in the voluntary mediation program.
Lawyers to Represent You in the Hurricane Ida Voluntary Mediation Program
Are you looking for a lawyer to represent you in your Hurricane Ida claim? Contact us at (844) 587-8395 or fill out our contact form to begin.