What is a class action settlement administrator?

A class action settlement (or claims) administrator is a neutral third-party that handles the claims administration process in compliance with the court-approved settlement agreement. This blueprint spells out how to administer the settlement from start to finish, which the class action administrator helps execute.

Settlement administrators can create and maintain a website for class members. These digital platforms provide a wealth of information for claimants including filing instructions, case updates, and relevant court documents. Claims administrators also have the authority to maintain a contact center to field incoming class member inquiries. The contact center may also handle returned mail, update class data, and process all manually and electronically completed claim forms. Each claim is substantiated and entered into the database for processing. If documents are missing or forms incomplete, administrators may help guide claimants toward compliance.

Administrators work with legal notice experts to identify the best methods of providing notice and facilitating the settlement distribution. The goal is to notify as many potential class members as possible through media publications, claim packet mailers, email solicitation, or calls.

Experienced settlement administrators interpret campaign data and analytics, monitor and mitigate fraud, offer insights to implement the plan of allocation, and much more. An administrator examines the circumstances surrounding each claim and reconciles any errors, factual inconsistencies, and other deviations that may explain the reasons for variances in claimed losses, differing awards within a single class, and wrongly rejected claims.

After careful review, class counsel makes a motion to distribute settlement awards. Upon court order, the administrator distributes the settlement reward or benefit to all eligible claimants based on the plan. Auditing and data integrity checks are performed along the way. If any issues arise throughout any part of the process, claims administrators may be called upon to testify objectively in court.

The goal in working with settlement administrators is to create a settlement plan that satisfies due process ahead of preliminary approval, while maximizing class benefit, minimizing costs, and protecting brand reputation. Thanks to efficient protocols and modern technology, an experienced claims administrator plays a critical role in class action lawsuits from their very inception to their final resolution.

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