Unlike the frequently short term nature of Property/Casualty reinsurance agreements, most life reinsurance treaties last literally for life – until the last reinsured whole life policyholder dies. The typical lifespan of such treaties requires the quarterly administration of premiums and claims from anywhere between 25 and 50 years. Given this long term relationship, historically life insurers and reinsurers have worked together over the course of decades to resolve potential disagreements amicably, with give and take and both sides and in the spirt of utmost good faith. Formal life reinsurance arbitrations were thus extremely rare, and until recent years most participants in the industry could count on one hand the arbitrations they had been involved with over the prior quarter century.
In recent years, however, a spate of troubling issues have plagued the industry, leading reinsurers and cedents to resort to arbitration with greater frequency. Given their prior lack of reinsurance disputes, however, life reinsurers and insurers have often lacked experience with the dispute process. Likewise, because of the technical and actuarially driven nature of life reinsurance treaties, the most qualified arbitrators are often actuaries, who generally lack first-hand knowledge of standard arbitration procedures. Industry consolidation has exacerbated this problem by creating more conflicts, with major direct writers usually doing business with virtually all of major life reinsurers. These factors have left the industry with a shortage of experienced arbitrators with the requisite business and technical backgrounds at a time when they are needed more than ever.
Most life reinsurance treaties require that arbitrators must have served as officers of life insurance or reinsurance companies to qualify as arbitrators. Those arbitrators that meet that qualification would be well served to become more educated not only in the arbitral process, but with respect to some of the troubling issues causing friction in the long marriages between life insurers and their reinsurers.
Eric Haab and colleagues at Foley & Lardner haves been representing insurers and reinsurers in complex life reinsurance disputes for over 20 years, and have been involved in leading disputes regarding virtually all of the issues that have arisen in the industry. Haab has vast experience in handling these issues for a major ceding insurer and understands the important ways in which life reinsurance disputes differ from the P&C context. Arbitrators Susan E. Mack and Thomas M. Zurek are two of the most experienced reinsurance arbitrators who have backgrounds in the life reinsurance world and collectively have resolved hundreds of disputes. Join them in this webinar to hear their insights regarding the current issues facing the industry.
Opportunities for arbitrators to become educated regarding issues causing reinsurance disputes and for which qualified arbitrators are needed.
Opportunities for life insurers and reinsurers who may lack experience with life reinsurance arbitrations to learn more about how lawyers and arbitrators are addressing some of the issues they are facing.
Opportunities for counsel to gain insights into the nature of disputes that likely will continue to trouble life insurer and life reinsurers.