Making the Most of Virtual Mediation to Resolve Claims

The pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and play.

Many courtrooms are physically closing their doors in a bid to keep the community safe, which is changing how we resolve conflict. There is no doubt that mediation can be an effective tool for settling claims. However, until recently, online mediation was often discounted on the grounds that discourse via video conference was not as effective as a face-to-face discussion. Although this may be true in some respects, the current environment has proven that online mediation can also work effectively.

What is the biggest challenge for mediation post-pandemic?

The most obvious change in mediations since the start of the pandemic has been the shift to digital mediation via virtual platforms. However, the seismic shift to technology prompted by COVID-19 has had the greatest impact on the pre-trial or pre-mediation space.

With technology comes new challenges and layers of complexity for mediation engagements, such as briefing and questioning witnesses, gathering appropriate information, statements, and evidence, and clearly understanding the plaintiff’s position. These interactions are all easier when standing in front of a person and you can see their face, hear their voice, and understand their attitude, body language, and demeanor.

Despite the obvious challenges in the current environment, can mediation still be effective in resolving disputes?

As with many other aspects of our lives today, we have turned to virtual mediation sessions, which can be just as effective as in-person methods when leveraged with the right tactics.

When it comes to engaging with witnesses, having enough time is vital. You’ll need sufficient time to build rapport within the bounds of a virtual setting, take witnesses through deposition questions again, and again, and again, and ensure all bases are covered to avoid surprises. Ms. Siebert will speak on this topic during the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) Annual Conference on March 25, offering tips on how to develop and implement a strategy to help optimize settlement negotiations and claim outcomes.

The selection of a mediator is another key factor that can play a big role in the outcome of your case when it is managed virtually. The same practices apply here—select a mediator with whom you have previously had a positive working relationship, or at the very least, one who knows you as a professional.

Having a plan of action and following it is critical to successful negotiations. To ensure things run smoothly, you need to communicate plans clearly with the risk manager, carrier team, and defense lawyer more than ever before.

Are there any situations where online mediation is preferable over in-person mediation?

In many common personal injury claims such as automobile collisions, “slip and falls”, general liability claims, or workers’ compensation matters, mediation often focuses on the parties agreeing on an acceptable settlement. That is not to say that discussions are simplistic or that there aren’t other issues that need to be addressed; however, these are often secondary to the parties’ ultimate financial stance and involve less emotion than, say, a divorce or contentious commercial dispute.

Accordingly, because these claims are typically two or three-party disputes, the online environment allows for very effective discussions, making an online mediation relatively simple to navigate. In fact, reports indicate that settlement rates have remained consistent throughout the pandemic, despite mediation moving almost exclusively online.

The option of online mediation also opens the door to retaining mediators with a more diverse background and the ability to be more efficient because they and counsel are not spending time traveling.

Find out more

Gallagher Bassett is boosting efforts (such as online mediation) to maximize alternate dispute resolution strategies designed to achieve superior outcomes for clients and prevent files from languishing due to closed or backlogged courtrooms. Contact our team today for a confidential chat about your claim and how we can help.

Caryn Siebert

More Posts


How GB’s Award-Winning RMIS Platform Is Boosting Carrier Outcomes

In today’s carrier landscape, turning data into actionable strategies is crucial to staying ahead. Gallagher Bassett’s award-winning RMIS platform, Luminos, is leading the charge in reshaping risk management and harnessing data. Find out how Luminos is revolutionizing risk management practices and empowering carriers to achieve success.

Read more

Navigate Changing Customer Expectations by Accelerating the Claims Lifecycle

Navigating the dynamic carrier landscape requires a keen understanding of evolving customer expectations, the pursuit of service excellence, and staying across the latest technology trends. In our new whitepaper, “The Carrier Perspective: 2024 Claims Insights,” we delve into how carriers are adapting to meet these shifting demands while leveraging technology to drive innovation. As we move through 2024, the focus remains on accelerating the claims lifecycle and delivering superior customer service as a cornerstone of success.

Read more

Introducing the Carrier Perspective for Your 2024 Outlook

We are excited to launch “The Carrier Perspective: 2024 Claims Insights” whitepaper. Based on a global survey of 150 carriers, delve into the transformative shifts impacting carriers, from technology advancements to regulatory changes and global trends. The Carrier Perspective is a comprehensive exploration that offers invaluable insight into trends, challenges, and opportunities to drive success for carriers this year. Read on to stay ahead of the curve in 2024.

Read more
Group Of Businesswomen Collaborating In Meeting - Business Services

What Claims and Client Service Excellence Looks Like in 2024

In an insurance landscape shaped by shifting customer expectations, the key to success is understanding how to respond with quality service. With International Women’s Day approaching, we checked in with a few of the talented women in our claims and client services groups to explore what service excellence looks like. Amy Cooper, VP — Carrier Practice Sales, leads Gallagher Bassett experts Suzanne McCarthy, Margaret Viss, Vicky Kalasmiki, Jill Crane, and Kathy Doyle in a insightful roundtable discussion exploring explore what claims and client service excellence truly means.

Read more

Keep your finger on the pulse of the latest industry news and insights.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter today.


Hi there!

Want to drop us a line?  You can get in touch by filling out the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!