Beginning – The Mad hatters Boston tea party

John Turner, Vice President and Executive General Adjuster at MYI, recently moved to the company's Boston office. In the first of a regular blog for, he takes a look at some of the differences between the two markets including, in this case, mediation and ice cream.

Nothing I have encountered in all my 19 years as an adjuster could prepare me for the sheer chaos of moving country with my wife Helen and our two daughters, Alixandra (aged 5) and Emily (aged 1).

Granted, we didn’t give ourselves an easy task, what with removal men packing for over three days, completing the sale on our house in Chichester, flying out on the following day, watching work e-mails for things that must be done and keeping the children entertained, fed, reassured and watered!

“I have little doubt the case would have gone to trial over a number of days in the UK. It was settled in a single days mediation.

Feeling somewhat jaded on our first day in the city, we head downtown and lunch at Dylan’s where our oldest Alixandra discovers how her accent delights the locals and waitresses, sufficiently enough for her to be given ice-cream gratis. They regale her with tales of ice cream America, the land of the largest selection of flavours (note correct spelling!) and the biggest portions on earth.

With that, she announces her love for the USA and exclaims that she never wishes to return to Britain. Day two arrives along with the family cat on BA. The kitty in question cost £800 to fly over, but Mrs T insists that the cat must be part of the deal or she will not come. I pondered this for a second, momentarily distracted by that thought, but I naturally concede.

On my first day at work I make the mistake of telling my new colleagues of the costly cat story and immediately lose credibility, becoming a figure of fun with Mrs Slocombe type jokes thrown in my direction if you know what I mean. (I am generally amazed by America’s love for vintage British sitcoms.)

“The kitty in question cost 800 pounds to fly over, but Mrs T insists that the cat must be part of the deal or she will not come.

My first assignment is a case at a mountain resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Not only are the geographics utterly different from London and south east England where I worked before, you also have to face road signs such as “Moose crossing – slow down, it could save your life” – these animals are seriously big and bull moose have been known to charge at express trains during the rutting season, such is their lack of fear!

Of more professional interest, I attended my first mediation. The case was an exceptionally emotive and contentious seven figure abuse claim which I have little doubt would have gone to trial over a number of days in the UK. It was settled in a single day’s mediation.

The mediator was an impartial retired senior judge who kept the plaintiff attorney’s dramatics (usually aimed at a jury) to a minimum. We were able to achieve an excellent result for underwriters whilst getting the plaintiff’s damages agreed fairly in a case where the plaintiff and his family had a very strong desire to avoid the inevitable media interest that would have followed a trial.

Mediation in this form is a practice that I would like to see adopted to a far greater degree back home. It was an impressive experience and a lesson in pre-trial dispute resolution, something that is used widely in the US that keeps the legal costs down – a hot topic in the UK at present!