Last week Byfield attended a seminar on mediation in the insurance sector, and was privileged to hear several mediation greats discussing their experiences.
The seminar, which was organised by JAMS International, was entitled ‘Settling Cross-Border Insurance Claims: facilitating effective mediation’. The panel discussion was chaired by the firm’s former Managing Partner, JAMS International panellist Peter Rogan. Also on the panel were: Miles Banks, Chief Claims Officer, Willis Ltd; James Wilson, Senior Partner, Ince & Co; Christine Williams, Claims Manager, Kiln, and Larry Pollack, Mediator & Arbitrator, JAMS New York.
There was extensive discussion of misunderstandings arising from cross-cultural differences: even between the US and the UK these can wreck prospects of a settlement. We greatly enjoyed hearing one or two anecdotes involving multi-billion dollar arbitrations and mediations. Suffice to say that all the panellists agreed that it is the mediator’s role to act as a bridge between two cultures.
JAMS New York panellist Larry Pollack, participating via videolink, emphasised the importance of finding the ‘nugget’ at the start of the mediation; in other words, the common ground between the parties that will (hopefully) guide them towards settlement. This might, for example, be a desire not to run up costs, or perhaps to maintain a business relationship. Whatever it turns out to be, the ‘nugget’ will be very helpful as the debate moves on.
Mediation continues to play a huge role in international disputes, and with more and more countries introducing mandatory mediation, its importance looks set to increase. As experts in litigation PR, we at Byfield look forward to seeing how alternative dispute resolution develops on the world stage.