I bought shares in The Gleaner Company some years ago. My aim was to show by action my belief that a free press is necessary to preserve democracy.
I have attended only one annual general meeting. However, reading the company’s report to shareholders is now one of my yearly routines. The merger a few years ago, between The Gleaner and RJR Communications Group, has reinforced that decision. To quote the merged entity’s newly appointed chairman, a “strong and independent media business (is) required to support our democracy”.
The theme of the company’s 71st annual report for the past financial year is ‘Promoting Accountability, Credibility & Transparency’. When I reviewed last week’s article – Arbitrating Insurance Disputes – through those lenses and its vision statement: “to be the most credible, trusted … media and communications brand”, my piece, unfortunately, was found wanting. It did not meet those high ideals. I will try to make amends today.
The headline writer used wishy-washy words to summarise my piece. The well-known local phrase, ‘Puss inna a bag’ followed by ‘arbitration?’ would have accurately captured the essence of the content. Also, they would have been more memorable. I didn’t do a particularly good job.
The article defined the arbitration procedures used by a respected international organisation. I suggested that insurance policies tended to follow those practices.
The second to last paragraph of my article said: “I found out that the decision about which party caused the accident was not determined using (generally accepted) arbitration procedures. The decision was made by a group of experienced insurance professionals.”
Careful readers would have concluded that neither the disputants and/or their attorneys were involved in the process that was erroneously called arbitration and differed from the standard arbitration condition of a motor policy.
The article ended with the statement that I was still awaiting a copy of the written procedures that governed the insurers’ dispute resolution process that the headline falsely called arbitration.
Two Fridays ago, the Insurance Association of Jamaica sent me a copy of a three-page document. It provided information about the IAJ’s Liability Resolution Process, the LRP – not arbitration, please note. LRP has four aims:
1. Provide an expeditious process for the settlement of motor claims disputes thereby reducing the lifespan of claims files;