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New York City Comptroller's Office Launches Cybersettle to Resolve Claims and Lawsuits

Settling blind online ...

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. yesterday announced that his office has embarked on an innovative demonstration project using a computerized system to resolve claims and lawsuits filed against the city.

"Cybersettle provides a reliable mechanism to resolve claims quickly and efficiently by providing a secure place online where parties can settle their disputes confidentially by comparing offers and demands in the blind," said Charles Brofman, Cybersettle's president and CEO. "To date, 83,000 transactions resulting in more than a half billion dollars in settlements have been facilitated by the Cybersettle method."

"At a time when New York City is grappling with billion-dollar budget deficits, it is more important than ever that we find creative ways to save city dollars," Thompson said. "If our Cybersettle demonstration project is successful in expediting claims, it will help us achieve savings."

An average 24,000 claims are filed against the city each year. The new system works like this: Shortly after a claim is filed, the Comptroller's Bureau of Law and Adjustment will enter the information into Cybersettle. These claims, approximately 9,000 a year, will involve sidewalk, school, roadway, city property, traffic device, motor vehicle, recreation and personal injury cases. Cybersettle will then notify plaintiffs' attorneys of the city's intention to negotiate and request any pertinent documentation.

Claims Adjusters will enter offers -- which cannot be seen by plaintiffs -- into Cybersettle. Plaintiffs' attorneys can then submit corresponding demands -- which cannot be viewed by the city -- through Cybersettle. If a demand and offer overlap, a settlement is reached and Cybersettle will inform the parties.

Over the next two years, the Comptroller will observe and analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of the project.

The system is already in use by 100,000 attorneys and 10,000 insurance claims adjusters, representing more than 1,900 claims offices worldwide.