12/16/2019

CLM Voices: Getting to Know Rebekah Ratliff

Hear from Capital City Mediations' president, who also runs a local chapter for NAAIA.

By Eric Gilkey

An insurance expert with over 25 years of experience as a complex casualty claims loss professional, Ratliff now uses her unique skill sets to run a national mediation firm while also serving as the president of the Atlanta Chapter of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA)

All in the Family

Although her sister was an Allstate agent, Ratliff says she wasn’t interested in sales when she was beginning her career nearly 30 years ago. She stuck with insurance, though, joining CNA’s entry-level claims training program. She started as a casualty adjuster, expanding her knowledge in almost everything liability, including auto/trucking liability, personal injury/wrongful death, nursing home litigation, commercial premises liability, products liability, municipal liability, and medical malpractice.

Finding Common Ground

“The best negotiators understand that a disagreement is mostly a dispute of how the facts should be viewed.”

Reaping the Sowed

Ratliff serves as the president of NAAIA’s Atlanta Chapter, where members volunteer in the community and also offer educational programs with industry partners and college “tours” to show why an insurance career is an asset to the community. For this work and many other service efforts, she was awarded a 2016 Lifetime Achievement Service Award from President Obama through his Presidential Volunteer Service Award initiative.

Mediation Mistakes

“Defense attorneys say too much in opening statements; plaintiffs’ lawyers create or entertain unrealistic expectations of their clients; and mediators take negotiations personal and overstep ethical boundaries.”

Supporting Role

One of Ratliff’s most interesting mediations included a self-represented veteran with PTSD who, during negotiations, had a conversation with a voice in his head. She could have terminated the mediation on the basis of capacity, but instead sat patiently. When he apologized, she said she had nowhere else to be but there. She facilitated the settlement and says she was proud to be part of what she hopes was a healing process for him.

Impact of Different Cultures

“Traveling opens your mind to the commonality in people. We are all the same.”

 



Eric Gilkey is executive editor of CLM Magazine, a publication of the Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance. He may be reached at eric.gilkey@TheCLM.org.

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