A friend who is an insurance agent recently told me about a client of his who was having trouble getting his insurance company to pay a flood damage claim. The client had gone to an attorney, but his attorney had gotten nowhere with the insurance adjuster, so the attorney recommended filing a lawsuit - proving once again that to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The client wasn’t sure the claim was big enough to warrant the time and expense of a lawsuit, so I asked if they had considered mediation. They said the insurance company wouldn’t talk to them anymore. That is completely understandable. They are obviously not communicating well. That is where a mediator comes in. Once I convinced the insurance agent’s client that getting the other side to agree to mediation was MY JOB, it was a simple matter to get both parties to agree to mediate rather than litigate. Or at least they will give it a try before going to court.
I think too many people fail to give mediation a try because they attempt to get it started by themselves. The only thing necessary to start mediation is for one of the parties to contact a mediator. When communication between disputing parties breaks down, it is a mediator’s job to contact the other potential participants and get things rolling. In other words (the words of the Rolling Stones, to be precise), just call me to “Start Me Up!”