Member showcase—dispute resolution

Debbie Smet, Thrivent Financial, presented an innovative—and successful—approach to dispute resolution. Thrivent is a not-for-profit, fraternal organization dedicated to providing products and services to their consumers. Thrivent is a faith-and-wisdom based organization that works to provide extraordinary service to members. Living its values, Thrivent, as a not-for-profit organization, does not have to pay taxes—but does. This organization has a unique perspective when disputes arise.


By policy, if normal complaint handling does not work, the Thrivent member dispute resolution program (MDRP) must be instituted prior to any litigation being pursued. The MDRP is required on specific financial products and is optional for others.

The program provides for appeal, mediation, and arbitration. Does the program work? Yes, dispute escalation is minimal by the numbers and consumers respond well to the process. From 2010-1014, Thrivent had 6,087 complaints. Of those, 198 went to appeal (3.3 percent), 70 were escalated to mediation, and 15 were escalated from mediation to arbitration. The program saves money for the company and keeps customers happy. Additionally, the company representatives are proud to have the program in place because they know it resonates with customers—win, win, win.

PRESENTATION (Please login to access this link) to view Smet’s presentation
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