Religious, nonprofit and other entities have been beset in recent decades by allegations of sexual abuse. Lawyer Michael Burnett has been deeply immersed in work with victims, lawyers, insurers and institutions for over 30 years. While working to determine whether insurers owed coverage for sexual abuse claims and appropriate claim values, Burnett began developing a database of verdicts, settlements and other claim values. Over two decades, the database has grown to include countless data points and claim details. When Burnett wanted to make his extensive research accessible to subscribers who could benefit from accurate claim information and valuations, he partnered with Dualboot to create a robust application easily navigable for others resolving abuse claims.

The opportunity

Burnett’s database has been central to his business since he struck out on his own in 2003 and formed Burnett Risk Control International. With the database, he calculates data-driven sexual abuse claim valuations which are utilized for settlement negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, litigation and attendant coverage disputes. The data also helps to establish insurance claim reserves, assess reinsurance and audit transaction costs.

Drawing on two decades of diligent research, the growing Burnett Index already represents over 88,000 claims (including approximately 68,000 from the U.S.). The database includes detailed demographic information about victims and perpetrators, information about the nature and frequency of the abuse, legal considerations that affected the claim resolution values, and myriad other resolution data.

Burnett’s goal is to facilitate the greatest measure of healing for abuse survivors.
The database helps achieve equitable, accurate, expedited, compassionate and cost-effective resolution of abuse claims. To support more people in the healing journey and to assist stakeholders in the appropriate resolution of claims, Burnett Risk Control International began working in 2023 with Dualboot to turn Burnett’s knowledge and personal database into a searchable, user-friendly application for subscribers.

“Dualboot understood the value of our database,” Burnett says. They “had the personnel and expertise to develop it for a wide array of users,” and instilled confidence that “they would be sensitive to our needs and careful of my life’s work.”

We can enthusiastically endorse working with Dualboot. The senior leaders, the team leaders, and design and development teams, and the marketing group have vast collective expertise and experience, and a superlative work product. We appreciate their knowledge, their enthusiasm, their professionalism, and their commitment to the success of the Burnet Index. They seem as excited about the imminent launch of our product as we are.

Michael Burnett
Burnett Risk Control International

The solution

Burnett began building his database in MySQL. At the advice of a friend he later moved it into Access. Burnett could search his data (for his own use or for his clients) and produce 50-60 page reports. He’d add insight based on what he knew from his decades of experience in the field.

Dualboot’s three developers came on board at the beginning of 2023 to transform the database and some of Burnett’s insights into an easily navigable tool. After cleaning and standardizing the available data, Dualboot automated processes to give the Index’s subscribers push button access to clear, concise reports that they can save.

“Because of their experience and creativity, they immediately envisioned an even more expansive utility of the database than we had imagined,” Burnett says. “They are exceptional at what they do and the ideas are always flying!”

Instead of pages of data listing cases, Dualboot developed a meter visualization of the results. A user, for instance, might look for cases involving teens in a particular jurisdiction. They enter their search terms and the app quickly reports on the total number of relevant cases, multiple average and median calculations, the high and low claim values and a suggested compensation range. The Index can also suggest a best settlement to avert protracted litigation and costly legal fees.

This level of reporting also captures some of Burnett’s own experiential insight. Working from a list of non-data considerations he uses in claim valuation, Dualboot built an algorithm to capture those insights. This means database subscribers can quickly valuate sexual abuse claims and also track the claim’s evolving value as it develops and more information is acquired. A user can also retain Burnett for an even more comprehensive and nuanced claim valuation factoring in additional, and sometimes more intangible, considerations such as when the case first arose, what institution is involved, whether the claim involves a particularly notorious abuser, or has a particularly zealous plaintiff’s attorney, among others.

Additionally, Dualboot enabled saved searches and gave subscribers the ability to contribute to the database. A user can, after completing a case, add the details in, and once validated, they will be added to the data available to the Index community. This means the database will continue to grow as clients use it.

“We are truly grateful for our partnership with Dualboot. They nurtured our vision of the Burnett Index beyond our expectations.” says Burnett.

The impact

An enormous database, with an equally enormous value in supporting sexual abuse victims and other stakeholders, is now conveniently available for search by subscribers. Users can still work with Burnett for more advanced analysis, but the initial search has been standardized and simplified to expedite resolution.

The application goes live in October. In the meantime, Dualboot will continue working to automate payment and develop application integrations with other popular legal databases.

Burnett is enthusiastic about continuing the partnership. “The team’s incredible talent, their good-natured attitudes, friendliness, and enthusiasm has also made working with them a real pleasure. This journey is exciting and fun! We feel like those on the Dualboot team are not only trusted partners, but also trusted friends.”