The national news is just full of information regarding the status on BP oil claims so I wanted to take a few minutes tonight to post links to some information independent claims adjusters and adjusting firms will be interested in tonight.
First, Worley Adjusting Company now has information posted on their website that due to the overwhelming number of applications they received, they are temporarily no longer accepting any new applications. View their complete statement here.
Second, the rumor throughout independent adjusting circles is that a second adjusting company has now been deploying adjusters for BP assignments. Here is a link to the GAB Robins website. We have not been able to confirm this directly over the weekend but have heard this from numerous adjusters. ***Update Monday 6/21/2010- GAB has now confirmed that they are handling and the contact there is the Columbia, SC office- Mr Hubbard. There is a link on their site to office locations for specific info there.
It is our understanding that both firms are paying independent adjusters ( and others with experience unknown) on a daily rate PLUS per diem on an incurred basis for temporary housing. This is a great thing on the housing allowance as insurance companies make no consideration for temporary housing for independents. They provide temporary housing only for staff adjusters. The long term experienced adjusters say the amount of the daily rate is not enough as far as they are concerned in comparison to billing on catastrophe large losses and commercial claims so they are telling me they would not be interested in these BP assignments. Rumor also has it that GAB is paying on an hourly rate plus per diem. The amount I’ve seen would come to slightly more than the daily rate Worley is paying if the amount I was told is accurate.
We will all see how they feel after a major catastrophe as most independents are very displeased with insurance companies reducing fee schedules while at the same time drastically increasing file requirements which I’m hearing on the average take an experienced independent adjusters on average about two more hours per claim to close a file and get management approval.
Should this be the case. this is a good indication that possibly many more independent adjusters will be deployed to assist with the now 61,000 claims of which BP is stating they now have while only about 31,000 of these BP claimants have now been issued an advance. Here is a link to the June 19, 2010 BP report advising they now have 33 claim offices set up with 1,000 people working in the claims offices. I’d like to say they are all licensed adjusters but I can’t verify that and have heard from some of the adjusters who are deployed that there were unlicensed people in their induction meetings. In CEO Tony Haywards prepared testimony to Congress on page 8 he stated as of that date that 700 adjusters had been deployed and states 600 of those were experienced.
To compare this assigned adjuster response to hurricane season, I wrote a blog the other day showing that over 12,000 emergency adjuster licenses had been issued in 2005 and over 17,000 in 2004 in FL alone. This does not take into account the regular permanent licensed adjusters and the non resident adjusters who worked those 2 hurricane seasons in FL. Here is also a link to an article post Hurricane Ike on the number of claims adjusters assigned in TX.
The same 6.19.2010 BP update above also states BP has received about 84,000 calls into their call center. Now compare this to news coming out of Houston where the BP call center is set up quoting them as having received over 200,000 calls about claims and quoting some of the 100 BP phone operators as saying the call center is just a diversion and the calls go nowhere . See this second article by Huffington Post with video quoting a BP operator as well saying the call center is just a diversion.
Florida Insurance Commissioner, Alex Sink, who is currently running for Florida Governor also jumped into the act on BP claims per these articles here and here coming out of the Pensacola, FL area where she went into the Pensacola, FL BP claims office with a claimant and news camera in tow. The part I surely do not understand about that is that BP is self insured first of all but secondly that the article says the claimant was attorney represented so I am not sure why the claims manager even talked to the claimant if his attorney was not present. She next met with a group of business owners in Pensacola to discuss their problems with the BP claims office. I do in fact hope that the insurance commissioners do get involved and that only licensed independent adjusters are able to handle these claims. It is a disservice to all BP claimants to have to work with “claims processors” as Tony Hayward called them when testifying to Congress yet I am not sure that these “claims processors” must be licensed if BP is self insured.
According to an article about Katie Couric’s interview with Ken Feinburg, it states that $600M in claims have been filed and $71M has been paid out. Friday he promised legitimate claims would be paid within 30-60 days:
“Kenneth Feinberg was chosen to oversee the $20-billion compensation fund promised Friday to pay all legitimate claims quickly – in 30 to 60 days. He spoke with CBS News anchor Katie Couric from Baton Rouge, La.”
For those of you in the claims industry….wouldn’t that be quite a feat? Lawsuits still are being filed in TX over hurricane IKE weekly and we are just approaching the statute of limitiations ( deadline period to file lawsuits on property damage) in FL from hurricane Wilma. The part especially misunderstood about this is how in the world can claims be settled within 60-90 days as stated when they do not even expect the escaping oil to finally be capped until sometime in August and by all reports that is a BIG if !
Most importantly is that you see this Katie Couric video interviewing the newly appointed Ken Feinburg who will oversee the $20B BP escrow account announced last week by President Obama. It is very helpful for understanding their planned claims process between the BP escrow account and the 1990 Pollution Act claims process these claims were originally solely being processed under. Also view this CBS news article outlining important other traumatic disaster cases Ken Feinburg has handled to include settlements with the victims family for 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting case settlements.
This next Bloomberg article gives the case citations which says in part:
“The multidistrict case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, MDL-2179, Washington. The dispersants case is Parker v. Nalco Co., 2:10- cv-01749, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).”
CNN tonight was interviewing a gentleman providing warning about BP job scams and other warnings about firms showing up to offer to help you for a fee which is not necessary. I in fact ran across something that really bothered me tonight just researching for this claims update. To see it for yourself, go to www.bp.com/claims which is the official site for BP announcements. Remembering the exact website for this incorrectly, I first entered www.bpclaims.com and to my surprise it is a public adjusting firm website that defaults and moves you seamlessly to www.publicadjuster.com . I didn’t even bother to read the public adjuster site but my thinking was how bad that is that some innocent claimant would think that they were designated to handle BP claims which is not the case or atleast I have not heard that BP has hired any public adjusters to handle their claims.
**Additional info added 6/21/2010- I meant to include the following link to a Bloomberg article explaining the 232 class action lawsuits on BP claims will be moved/handled by 1 appointed judge:
Well, I intended to spend a few minutes updating on the claims status as of 6/20/2010 and now hours later I’ll wrap it up with a link to my blog with a prayer and a song to all Gulf Coast residents and recovery workers and adjusters working these claims as promised that I would end every BP blog with this prayer for them: