In last month’s Fine Print column, “Navigating Workers Compensation Insurance Program Disputes
,” we discussed the disturbing trend of insurance companies seeking to recover retrospective premiums under old workers compensation programs. We noted that insurance companies are trying to have ancient claims heard by arbitration panels under provisions that rarely were recognized by policyholders as applying to the policies. This effort to deny a judicial forum to a purchaser of insurance goods or services builds upon 1) a set of U.S. Supreme Court decisions denying states the power to prevent contractual arbitration even where the intent is to promote consumer protection goals and 2) the insertion of arbitration requirements in consumer banking agreements
as a condition to opening accounts or taking out loans.