DEFINITION of Act-as-One Provision

An act-as-one provision is a reinsurance contract provision requiring reinsurers that are party to a single contract to work together to choose a single arbitrator in the case of a dispute. An act-as-one provision is used when multiple reinsurance companies are involved in the same dispute and prevents a situation in which multiple arbitration panels are being used to represent different reinsurers.

BREAKING DOWN Act-as-One Provision

Act-as-one provisions streamline the settling of disputes by treating all reinsurers associated with the dispute as one, rather than involving many different arbitration panels in the proceedings. By forcing the reinsurers to work together, the process bypasses confusion. The dispute is thus between the reinsured and a group of reinsurers that are all treated as if they were part of a single reinsurance company.

A third arbitrator may work with the reinsured’s arbitrator and the reinsurers’ arbitrator as a sort of umpire. The arbitrators selected by the reinsurers and the reinsured choose the umpire.

How the Act-as-One Provision Works in Arbitration

Insurance companies and the reinsurers that they go into contract with may go to arbitration to settle disputes they have about coverage. For example, the insurance company may work with multiple reinsurers under a single treaty to provide reinsurance coverage on some of its insurance contracts. If the insurer submits a claim to the reinsurers that is denied, it may take the issue to arbitration. The treaty and its act-as-one provision would treat all the reinsurance companies as one, and the reinsurers would choose a single arbitration panel to represent their interests.

If one of the reinsurers does not want to participate in arbitration proceedings, and thus opts out, it may be compelled to participate on procedural grounds.

An act-as-one provision does not change the liabilities owed by each of the reinsurance companies. This means that a reinsurance contract with several liabilities does not change to joint liability just because the reinsurance companies are required to choose a single arbitrator. 

What Is a Reinsurer?

A reinsurer is a company that insures insurance companies. Primary insurance companies—the ones businesses and individuals buy coverage from—pay premiums to reinsurers based on the amount of risk they are asking the reinsurers to take on, just like people or businesses pay them. Reinsurers are particularly helpful in natural disasters, when the large number of high-value claims being submitted within a short period could put a primary insurer out of business otherwise. Reinsurance companies include Swiss Re, Everest Re, Berkshire Hathaway and Axis Capital.