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Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

In response to the article “No-fault RFP process called sloppy, unfair,” Minnesota Lawyer, June 11, the American Arbitration Association would note that the AAA’s proven success administering No-Fault arbitrations is a result of remarkably high levels of satisfaction by parties, competitive pricing, and a committed and knowledgeable staff.  In addition, the AAA has unmatched expertise both locally and nationally, and a well known reputation for being the gold standard in terms of organizational integrity and ethics.  We believe parties to an arbitration process and the State of Minnesota deserve no less.  The AAA would also like to make clear that the AAA has not received any preferential treatment in being allowed to administer Minnesota’s No-Fault Arbitration caseload.

We also believe a few assertions made in the article require clarification.  First, the article references the untrue assertion that the AAA was allowed to lower the prices contained in our proposal after all proposals were submitted during the 2008 RFP process.  In fact, the AAA submitted only a single pricing proposal that was included in our response to the RFP in 2008, which was the one accepted by the Screening Committee, the Standing Committee and ultimately the Supreme Court.

Second, the RFP did require an expectedly fast deadline from all organizations interested in administering the No-Fault caseload.  However, it is not unreasonable to expect a nimble response from a focused organization that will administer Minnesota’s significant No-Fault arbitration caseload.  Moreover, quotes from representatives of the other organizations interested in administering the No-Fault caseload reflect that each had been anticipating that an RFP would be issued for a number of months and that the organizations had previously participated in a similar RFP process for the same caseload.

Third, the National Arbitration Forum’s complaints of unfairness and lack of neutrality in the RFP process, and its casting aspersions on others when it was not chosen as the case administrator, ring hollow in light of the Minnesota Attorney General’s lawsuit against NAF.  In the lawsuit, the Attorney General alleged that NAF violated Minnesota’s consumer-fraud, deceptive trade practices, and false advertising laws.  NAF’s aggressive tactics in criticizing the Standing Committee on No-Fault Arbitration as a way to attempt to intimidate those involved in the decision-making process is without basis and is unfair.

The AAA is honored to have administered the No-Fault Arbitration caseload, and believes it is well positioned to further serve the State and parties in this role.

William K. Slate II

President and Chief Executive Officer

Kathryn Stifter

Vice President

Minnesota Insurance Center

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