The number of inter-insurance claims disputes resolved in 2011 set a new record, reports

Arbitration Forums, Inc. (AF), a membership-driven, not-for-profit organization that provides inter-insurance dispute resolution services. AF processed nearly 520,000 claims disputes valued at more than $2.4 billion in 2011. More than 85 percent of inter-company arbitration disputes involve auto collisions.

According to W. Russ Smith, president and CEO of AF, arbitration services are saving the property/casualty insurance industry more than $700 million in litigation costs annually through programs that effectively resolve insurance claims disputes. Nearly 98 percent of the arbitration filings in 2011 were made electronically — more than twice the percentage of just a few years earlier. On an annual basis, AF projects its paperless systems will save more than 49 million sheets of paper weighing nearly 642,000 pounds.

Smith says that the goal of arbitration is to enable insurers to return deductibles to their policyholders faster, which reflects positively on customer service.

“Companies are increasingly focused on controlling their expense dollars, and arbitration offers a proven, cost-effective way of generating those savings while enhancing customer service,” said Smith.

Utilization of AF’s E-Subro Hub, an electronic subrogation claims system, grew by more than 200 percent between 2010 and 2011. The system was expanded to all 50 states in 2011 and processed subrogation cases valued at more than $1.4 billion.

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