Enforcing Unpaid Arbitration Awards

Enforcing Unpaid Arbitration AwardsAccording to Arbitration Forums, Inc.’s website, the 5,200 members who subscribe to Arbitration Forums file over 949,000 disputes and nearly 1.7 million subrogation demands worth more than $13.9 billion in claims annually. Most of the insurance companies in the U.S. are members of Arbitration Forums under one or more of the programs offered by Arbitration Forums. You would be hard pressed to find a subrogation professional who does not have first-hand knowledge and experience in working with Arbitration Forums.

Arbitration Forums provides companies with an expedited and efficient way to have disputes submitted, heard, and ultimately decided by an independent arbitrator. Most of the time the process works well. However, there are numerous instances where a party who was granted an award by Arbitration Forums does not get paid by the adverse carrier. It happens more often than you would think.

You may be asking yourself “What are my options to get paid when this occurs?” There are specific rules in place to address enforcing unpaid arbitration awards. Pursuant to Arbitration Forum Rules, Section 5-2, when a party does not honor the award within thirty (30) calendar days after publication:

(a)  The prevailing company’s local representative must immediately send a written request for payment to the adverse company’s local senior representative, addressing him/her by name.

(b)  If the award remains unpaid thirty (30) calendar days after written request for payment, the company should send a copy of the letter to Arbitration Forums requesting assistance with the award payment.

(c)   Arbitration Forums will notify the non-paying company.

(d)  If the award remains unpaid for an additional thirty (30) calendar days, the company may seek legal recourse in pursuit of collection and is entitled to statutory interests and all legal fees and costs incurred in pursuing collection until the award is paid.

Once you are granted an award, the adverse party only has thirty (30) days to pay the award. If the reward is not paid within thirty (30) days, the winning party must send formal written notice to the other side. If the award remains unpaid another thirty (30) days, the winning party must seek assistance from Arbitration Forums, who will send out a notification to the adverse party that the award is owed and past due. If after thirty (30) days after Arbitration Forums sends the letter the award continues to be unpaid, the winning company can proceed with collection efforts. As part of those collection efforts, attorneys’ fees and costs may be collected under the Rules.

MWL handles unpaid arbitration awards every single week. MWL is aggressive in pursuit of the awards owed and the attorneys’ fees incurred in having to pursue the past-due awards. We have an established protocol we follow in order to maximize recoveries for our clients. Our clients appreciate our efficiency in recovering the money owed in a quick manner and at no cost to the client, assuming the provisions of Rule 5-2 mentioned above are followed.

Don’t leave money on the table and don’t get discouraged if an award remains unpaid. Follow the process provided for under the Arbitration Forums’ rules. If that still does not work, reach out to us, and allow us to recover what is rightfully owed. For questions about enforcing unpaid arbitration awards or to refer a past-due arbitration award claim to MWL, contact Mark Solomon at [email protected].

Mark A. Solomon

Mark A. Solomon is an insurance trial lawyer and the managing partner of Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer’s Austin, Texas branch office. Mark is licensed to practice law in Texas,  Colorado, and Georgia. Mark’s practice focuses on complex property and casualty subrogation, workers’ compensation subrogation, and automobile subrogation.