NY Auto Insurance Cases Overview

For over 35 years, the New York State Department of Financial Services has provided consumers and insurance carriers with the opportunity for the conciliation or arbitration of disputed claims in certain automobile insurance programs. In partnership with the New York State Department of Financial Services throughout those years, the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”) has administered the arbitration of such disputed claims on the Department’s behalf. The programs in which the arbitration of disputed claims has been administered by the AAA include No-Fault insurance, uninsured motorist (UM) insurance and supplemental underinsured motorist (SUM) insurance. In late 1999, at the request of the Insurance Department, the AAA also undertook the conciliation function in No-Fault insurance cases.

ECF for Parties
The AAA has implemented a case search function called ECF for Parties, which enables the parties to view the status of their own cases online. Using ECF for Parties to draw upon current information from the AAA’s computer records, the parties can confirm the disposition of their previous cases, identify new filings, check the status of their cases, and view their upcoming hearing calendars. The parties can sort cases by various criteria including opposing party or counsel, arbitrator, filing dates, or hearing dates. Each party has access only to its own case records, protected by password and user ID codes. Pre-registration of the party or attorney is an important security mechanism for use of this tool. The AAA provides training to one administrator for each company or firm, and that administrator is responsible to train and enroll other users at that organization. The AAA trainer can provide your company’s administrator with training entirely over the telephone, while you view the ECF for Parties screens online at your office computer and refer to the AAA’s manual. The response to the ECF for Parties, which was first implemented in the summer of 2003, has been very favorable.

The Neutrals' eCenter
A similar online resource is also available for the arbitrators. With it, an arbitrator can view current information online about the cases assigned to that arbitrator and about the arbitrator’s upcoming hearing calendars. There is also an automated task reminder that can advise an arbitrator of a matter that is due, such as the award in a case previously heard. This resource for arbitrators is known as the Neutrals’ eCenter, and it too was implemented in the summer of 2003 with very favorable response.

Emailing of Hearing Notices
The AAA is now providing hearing notices by email to any party that requests this service. Email provides faster notification, a computerized record of the sending of the notices, and a databank for the receiving party of electronic copies of the notices, to which the party can refer to sort or retrieve its notices. For those parties who do not use email at this time, the AAA will provide hearing notices by fax, upon request. There is only one category of cases in which email or fax notices will not be used. In cases brought directly by the injured person – which are about 2% of the cases – there can be no presumption that the injured person has ready access to either email or fax; therefore, to preserve equal access to notification, the AAA will still mail the hearing notices for those cases to each party.

Maureen Kurdziel
Vice President
William Considine
Division Vice President
New York Insurance
Case Management Center
120 Broadway - 11th Floor
New York, NY 10271
Tel 917-438-1500
Fax 917-438-1600