Anyone who understands the realities of business and our legal system knows that insurance is an indispensable part of our economy. As a mirror image of risk, insurance pervades every facet of our professional and personal experience. No responsible medical practice or other business can operate without it. Indeed, even insurance companies need to insure (called reinsurance) the riskiest forms of coverage offered to insureds. In this environment, critical elements of every dispute — who was involved; what happened, where and when; and how much is available to settle claims and pay lawyers — implicate the existence and form of identifiable insurance.

In mediations involving insurers, lawyers and mediators need answers to unique questions: What kind of insurance exists? Why was it obtained? Do parties perceive it as a “blank check”? How and when does the topic of insurance come up and who raises it (parties or mediators)? Does it raise unique issues, such as multiple representation, confidentiality and conflicts of interest? What type of mediator do insurers prefer? What mediation best practices apply and how should a mediator work with parties and lawyers? And, what should mediators know about the typical goals and objectives of claims adjusters?

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