Umpire selection is one of the most important aspects of a reinsurance (or any other) arbitration because it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Traditionally, parties have utilized the “strike and flip” method of umpire selection where the parties nominate a specified number of candidates, strike all but one of the other side’s candidates and then select the umpire using a “coin flip” – which can also be based on the closing number of the Dow Jones Industrial Average – between the remaining two. While the simplicity of the strike and flip method makes it easy to use, some industry professionals have been critical of the fact that something as important as umpire selection effectively comes down to the “flip of a coin.” For those critics, an umpire selection process utilizing a ranking system offers an alternative.
With a ranking system, the parties (or a neutral third party) come up with a certain number of candidates (usually totaling between 8 and 12). An umpire questionnaire may then be sent to each of the candidates so the parties can be better informed prior to the striking process. The parties may then strike one or more candidates to come up with the final list. From there, the parties agree on a date and time to “rank” the remaining candidates (from 1 to the number of umpire candidates). The candidate with the lowest combined total is selected as the umpire.