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4 Questions to Consider When Preparing Class Member Data

Data plays an integral role in preparing a class action settlement. Your data must be accurate, appropriately analyzed, and secure. Taking a moment to address a few crucial considerations in the early stages of planning can go a long way in preventing fraud, building an effective notice plan, maintaining a secure operation, and avoiding major obstacles to successful claims resolution.

What is the origin of the class member data?

Good data is not only the key to preventing fraud, but it is also a way to protect yourself from the court’s assertion that your proposal suffers from a “lack of reach.” Some sources of class member data are more reliable than others. For instance, verified corporate account records are more reliable than data collected online where some emails could be fake. In some cases, it makes sense to run prospective claimants through a brief claims process to ensure viability in cases where inclusion in the class is not immediately assumed based on the defendant’s records.

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How does the defendant normally communicate with class members?

Background and experiential information helps reach class members in the most efficient manner. It is no longer standard procedure to only send out mass physical mailings. So many people can be reached through email, social media, a class action website, mobile, and other sources that it takes the right data set to determine the most acceptable way to reach a modern audience. Historical behavior — looking at the medium your customers normally use to contact you — might be the best way to understand how to meet class members where they are.

Which information needs to be shared?

Wherever possible, avoid sharing too much. If the data available to you includes social security numbers and bank routing numbers, consider whether such information is critical to claim validation. Only provide your class action settlement administrator with what they need to accurately validate claims. Any personally-identifying information you obtain or share needs to be secured, encrypted to compliance standards (depending on your organization’s security requirements).  Don’t take risks both with your own security and that of class members’ sensitive data.  Sanitize and securely remove data components that could pose a potential security problem, particularly if they aren’t required by a case’s court order.

Should You Work with A Class Action Claims Administrator?

Verifying class data, rolling out data security, and deciding upon the best notice strategy to satisfy due process can all be overwhelming tasks without the right program and personnel in place, especially if the data is received late in an already compressed timeline Partnering with an experienced class action claims administrator, and consulting with them early in the process, ensures your data is handled in the most efficient and secure manner. A claims administrator should be able to effectively clean up and format the data into several different formats and review data for missing pieces and errors and a notice media expert can analyze available data and use it to inform a notice strategy that satisfies due process and meets class members where they are. Additionally, an experienced claims administrator should proactively identify pitfalls before they cause unnecessary complications, ultimately saving you time and money. 

Gregory Skoufalos
Gregory T. Skoufalos (Greg) is the Chief Information Officer and leader of our Technology Services Group for Heffler Claims Group. With over 15 years of experience, Greg provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, responsive and secure information technology environment throughout the organization. He recently restructured the application development team and brought about the creation of a new class action securities litigation application.


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