In a dispute involving an earlier arbitration ordering American United Life Insurance Company (“AUL”) to make a commutation payment to The Travelers Indemnity, the parties filed cross petitions for arbitration pursuant to different clauses of a reinsurance contract. AUL argued arbitration should proceed pursuant to the Article 16 in the contract requiring all disputes between the company and the reinsurer be submitted to arbitration. It further argued that Travelers had forfeited its right to name umpire candidates, and that the court should appoint an umpire from the names submitted by AUL. Travelers, for its part, argued that the matter should proceed pursuant to Article 6 of the contract that required actuaries to make the determination concerning the amount of the loss.

The Court sided with AUL stating that an arbitration panel needed to decide the threshold issue of whether the matter should proceed pursuant to Article 16 or Article 6. The court reasoned that in order to determine whether to proceed by a panel of actuaries, the reinsurance contract had to be interpreted and that Article 16 was clear that “any dispute between the Company and the Reinsurer arising out of, or relating to the formation, interpretation, performance or breach of this Contract, whether such dispute arises before or after termination of this Contract, shall be submitted to arbitration.” Regarding AUL’s request that the court appoint an umpire from its list of candidates, the court noted that the parties were engaged in settlement discussions and Travelers had offered to name umpire candidates but AUL never responded. Based on this, the court held that Travelers never knowingly waived its right to name umpire candidates, and ordered Travelers to comply with Article 16. American United Life Insurance Co. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-1339 (USDC D. Conn. Aug. 18, 2015).

This post written by Barry Weissman.

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