” Adjusters ” handling BP Claims file a Class Action lawsuit on two issues- Overtime pay and failure to receive 65% of daily fee per contract

February 9, 2011

Roy Cupps over at CADO posted this link in the forums there regarding a Class Action lawsuit filed by MS Attorney JP Hughes  (I could not locate a website for him but I’m working on it through network connections )on behalf of the adjusters handling the BP claims regarding two issues:

1) Overtime pay- working more than 40 hours per week and not receiving over time pay (they were on daily rate)

2) Alleged failure of adjusting firm to pay adjusters their 65% of the daily rate they were paid by the BP Fund

For complete details, here is the link:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/02/09/34026.htm

This is definitely a case to watch as it is standard for independent adjusters to receive a daily rate of pay for each day worked on a catastrophe or daily assignment where they agree to work for a stipulated daily rate for a given split of the daily rate. The rate these adjusters were paid is on the high end of the daily rate independents normally receive. I have no idea why this alleged adjuster would feel entitled to time and a half for hours worked over 40 hours unless the contract indicated the daily rate was for a given 40 hours which is unheard of in the claims industry for independents working on assignment.

I am very curious if this person was actually one of the actually non claim folks working on BP claims. I have actually been told by several were working in field offices that BP Csar Ken Feinburg changed adjuster job titles to “evaluators” when he took over. If that is true, do you think that the prior findings of the Fair Labor Standards commission would differ on findings on this class action?

If you missed our prior several blogs on overtime issues and adjusters, here are links to prior blogs on the topics and prior decisions on some of these cases:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/?s=Overtime

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/supplemental-info-on-geico-auto-adjuster-overtime-issues/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/fenton-et-al-v-farmers-insurance-exchange-no-07-4864-dc-mn-2009-mn-staff-claims-adjuster-overtime-decision/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/geico-wins-case-on-overtime-issues-for-auto-adjusters-view-washington-post-article/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/adjuster-overtime-issues-supplemental-info-from-none-other-than-attorney-gloria-allreds-current-news-letter/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/insurance-adjuster-overtime-pay-issues-and-complaints-in-the-news/

Regarding the second issue of alleged failure of  Worley Adjusting firm to pay the agreed 65% split of the daily rate, I find that very hard to believe as they have such an excellent reputation for paying adjusters fairly in the claim industry which is remarkable considering the number of adjusters who have gone unpaid by unprofessional firms since Katrina. I assume we’ll be able to view the contract when documents are filed during discovery on the case to show first of all the daily fee Worley was receiving per “adjuster” as well as the independent contract terms they were using on this assignment. I’ll keep an eye out for those to make the records in the coming months.

There were many experienced adjusters who would gladly have deployed for the given rate of pay. In addition, adjusters working out of town at BP assignments were given daily per diem while working which is unheard of for independent adjusters working for insurance carriers so those who were lucky enough to be deployed were most thankful for the assignment.

I think this case will be closely watched by all insurance carriers who use independent adjusters on daily rates. I know I will be closely following it. You can as well by subscribing to this blog to watch for updates as we post them.

If you also want to follow this discussion going on over at CADO where Roy Cupps posted this information, here is the link to that topic forum discussion there:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid/60/aft/11695/Default.aspx#22348

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Must see video of BP’s Ken Feinburg at AL Townhall meeting yesterday- Hope to meet many of you this morning at the Fort Walton Beach Townhall Meeting

January 19, 2011

Here is some must see video footage of the Orange Beach, Alabama townhall meeting held yesterday with BP’s Ken Feinburg:

http://wkrg.com/1204118/

We will be attending today’s townhall meeting along with other independent adjusters in the Florida panhandle this morning being held here today in Fort Walton Beach, FL along with the founder of the Pensacola, FL Gulf Coast Claims Association and several other independent adjusters in the area. I’ll blog on that either later today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am putting together an article on the fruitless efforts made by hundreds if not thousands of adjusters like myself who applied to work these BP claims jobs from TX to FL  and were not utilized to work these claims. I have heard from hundreds who have applied and were not used being told that they were saving the experienced adjusters for hurricane season which never did cause damage in 2010. Information I’ve learned from many adjusters who were in the operation says that Ken Feinburg had changed the job title to “evaluator” from “adjuster” when he took over. Why? Is that so non adjusters could work the claims?

We’d like to piece together our side of the BP claims story by hearing from the many of you who applied and did or did not work claims. You can reply to this blog and I’ll approve the comments or if you wish to remain anonymous you can email me at dkmoroy@dimechimes.com and I will not use your name in any article or upcoming blog on the subject.

Thanks!


Will the real Ken Feinburg- BP Pay Czar on 20B BP Fund please advise- Who is handling the claims when you take over- 2 entirely different quotes from you this week

August 6, 2010

This is just unbelievable! If it isn’t strange enough that hundreds of experienced adjusters have applied to work BP claims and can get no where the hopes were out there in the adjusting community that as soon as Ken Feinburg who has been appointed to take over the BP 20B fund administration this month that possibly more opportunities would present themselves for experienced adjusters to deploy to handle these claims.

In two different sources this week, we have Ken Feinburg alleged to be quoted with two entirely different versions of who will be handling the claims! It sure would be nice to clear this up and let the claims industry know – do we stay or do we go?

The first article published August 5, 2010 by Claims Magazine quotes Ken Feinburg as saying he will continue to use ESIS to handle the claims and expand that service if necessary in this article:

http://www.claimsmag.com/Exclusives/2010/8/Pages/Our-QA-With-Ken-Feinberg.aspx

It says in part on page 3 of the 4 page web exclusive article:

” Who will work for you on this project? Will you hire contract or independent adjusting companies?  

Right now, we are going to use the people that BP has contracted with and put into place. If we need more [personnel], then we will simply add to the resources that they are using now. (*Editor’s Note: BP is currently using Worley Catastrophe) I am sure that we will add the staff as we need to in the future as we improve the process. 

Next we have the website Pro Publica (their motto is Journalism in the Public interest) publishing an article only a few hours later on August 5, 2010 also quoting Ken Feinburg saying he is replacing ESIS with two other firms (non adjusting firms) who helped in prior mass claim settlements. The article in part quotes a BP spokes woman who confirms and says:

” Patricia Wright, a spokeswoman for BP, confirmed that ESIS would be replaced, and said that the decision was made by Feinberg without BP’s involvement. She said that BP was continuing to pay claims and that ESIS would stay on the job while BP retained control of the process. “Our contractors will continue to work until we transition,” Wright said.

The companies that will replace ESIS, Garden City Group and the law firm BrownGreer, both specialize in the resolution of mass claims. BrownGreer was previously hired by Feinberg [3] as a fee and expense analyst during his tenure as the executive pay czar overseeing compensation at banks that were bailed out by the federal government. “

Here are the links to the two companies named if you want to do your own further research:

Garden City Group headquartered in Melville, MY- Business week shows them as a subsidiary of Crawford and Company :

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=1004650

and Crawford and Company also has information up on their website about Garden City Group here:

http://www.crawfordandcompany.com/content.aspx?CID=374&SID=2

  http://www.gcginc.com/pages/case_archive_search.php  (Says they are a class action law firm- this links takes you to an archive of numerous cases they have handled. Their home page says they employ over 400 nationwide).

Law Firm BrownGreer: Their website as well shows proactive involvement in claims administration of class action settlement cases to include Vioxx.

http://www.browngreer.com/who.htm

Contact information for BrownGreer:

BrownGreer plc

115 S. 15th Street
Suite 400
Richmond, VA 23219-4209

Main Number: 804.521.7200
Fax: 804.521.7299

Email: information@browngreer.com

Employment Opportunities: hrdept@browngreer.com

Now here’s another new twist- while researching BrownGreer who apparently has worked with the Feinburg firm before, I found a June 25, 2010 news release quoting the business manager for BrownGreer who confirmed back in June that Feinburg had hired them to take incoming claims information from the BP claimants. Here’s what she says in part in the article:

” Lynn Greer, a partner at BrownGreer, emailed a brief statement about her firm’s involvement in the BP claims process.

“BrownGreer PLC is assisting Ken Feinberg as the Administrator of the Independent Claims Facility established for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Greer said in the email.”

Here is a link to this full article out of Richmond where BrownGreer is home based:

http://www.richmondbizsense.com/2010/06/25/local-firm-lands-bp-claims-work/

VIP- BrownGreer does have a job posting up on their career link looking for a claims reviewer here (requires a Bachelor’s degree) and it says they are accepting applications until August 12, 2010:

http://www.browngreer.com/images/pdfs/claimsreviewer_072910.pdf

I’ve made contact with a few sources working in BP claims offices and they knew that ESIS was going but have been told that does not apply to Worley that they are aware of. The adjusters there now do wear badges saying they work for ESIS.

Well, hopefully we will all know soon if independent adjusters through Worley and/or through these two new firms above will be used. The BrownGreer firm already shows they have analysts and claims reviewers on their staff on their career link.

More tomorrow on BP Claims statistics and more conflicting information on what will or will not be paid based on additional news articles under the new 20B BP Oil fund Ken Feinburg will be administering.

So- Should I stay or should I go- enjoy the video!


To my friends, family, and claims community members- News on the BP Oil spill from the Florida Panhandle

June 17, 2010

Words are useless to express the devastation and sorrow about  how we are all feeling about the approaching oil in the Florida panhandle and the horror we feel for the states preceding us with the oil spill in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama so I will publish this as is updating you on activities that took place with the Okaloosa County Florida Commissioners  meeting this week.

 First, a link to a blog post by Attorney Chip Merlin  who is being extremely proactive in the Destin, FL area where my friends and family are , staying in tune with what is going on and trying to help consumers in that area. Second , is a copy of an email that I got from a very beloved friend in Destin who is and always has been very interested in the beaches and wildlife there. I hope this post helps bring attention to the plight there and helps even one friend in the area find direction in this unspeakable horror.

To my nephew Ryan in Pensacola, my niece Pam in Ft Walton and family,  my nephew Billy and family in Panama City, and to my husband Don’s relatives in Grayton beach and Walton counties,  and to my sister Diana and family who own rental property in Destin, FL- our hearts and prayers are with you all daily as well as to all gulf coast residents, displaced workers, and restoration workers trying to save our beaches. Please read on:

Consumer Attorney Chip Merlin’s blog  about his visit and participation in the Okaloosa County meetings this week:

*Note- yes I recommend first trying to work with the BP claims process but when all else fails, I do highly recommend Chip Merlin be the attorney you resort to to pursue your losses if you are unsuccessful with BP. I have followed his actions- not just his words- since Katrina.

http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2010/06/articles/insurance/oil-and-hurricanes-here-comes-the-one-two-punch/

Second, a most heartening email request from a very dear long term friend in Destin, Donna Minton , also emailing her distribution list requesting we support the Okaloosa County Commissioners which I definitely do in their position to take matters into their own hands to protect our way of life in Destin and the Florida panhandle. Her email is copied below with her knowledge and consent. Donna has given a voice to how we are all feeling in her most special way  :

 
 
 
Dear family and friends:
 
This morning while I was listening to the local news, I caught a TV segment on the Okaloosa County Commissioners here making a decision to move forward with taking action to protect our bays and beaches from the oil spill without waiting for the required governmental permission to do so. I thought that action was kind of gutsy for a governmental org and wanted to show support for their decision  and encourage them in this vein of thinking and action.  So, I called and spoke with the secretary at the Okaloosa County Commissioner office and told her that I just wanted to write a letter/send an email to the Board of County Commissioner further encouraging them.  She was very kind and receptive to my call and told me that the Commissioners are getting flooded with emails on the situation, but very few “old-fashioned” letters are being rec’d. She felt like a letter would be great and assured me that she would personally see that each County Commissioner got a copy of it and she knew they all would appreciate words of support in their “maverick” actions to move forward. She said that a written letter would actually garner some better attention rather than one lone email among so many rec’d. It would get lost in the masses, so to speak. So, I wrote my letter.
 
I know that so many of you feel that same love and adoration as I do. I’m not alone in these feelings. This situation is a nightmare to my consciousness as I know it is for all of you.  Since returning from Great Britain and Ireland 10 days ago and learning how the situation has gotten worse and closer to my own beloved beaches, I have not been able to talk much about the  tuition since returning home –  the pain of it just runs so deep in my heart. This may sound strange to many of you – but the way I feel is very similar to the feelings I experienced in the months following my Mom’s passing.  An incredible feeling of deep and heavy sadness and heartfelt longing for life to return back to normal before the tragic event happened.  I worry about all the marine life and wildlife creatures that live in the oceans and on our beaches.  It’s more than a dark cloud on my head….it’s a torrential downpour of grief over what is happening. I limit how watch much of the news on the TV/internet I watch or read  because it just makes me weep and deepens feelings of depression and hopelessness. Does this sound and feel familiar to any of you? I’m working hard to stay positive, upbeat, and optimistic and praying for that “silver lining” in this situation and the greater “good” that has to come out of even the most tragic of situations.  It’s very hard to stay on that optimistic path these days, but definitely the better choice for us all.  
 
So this email is a gentle request of my family friends to consider taking a few minutes of your time and writing a short letter of thanks, support, and encouragement to the Okaloosa County Commissioners office for their decision to move forward  – come hell or high water. I hope they truly “walk the talk” they are broadcasting out to the public. Please join me in encouraging them to do so. A positive word of encouragement is so much better than anger, judgment, and criticism. It does not matter whether you live in Okaloosa County or not  – or even in Florida. Please consider writing a letter anyway.

A very wise person – very  near and dear to my heart – often reminds me to “create love in every situation” so I’m hoping this letter creates a bit of love in this situation. 🙂  If writing a letter resonates with you, ask your family, friends, and colleagues to do so the same. It just takes a few minutes, some paper, envelope and a stamp. And it may make you feel a bit more hopeful..just the act of writing the letter lifted my spirits a bit.  The more folks that write, the better. As my friend, Jano, just wrote me in an email this week – It takes a village.
 
 So, I’m asking that perhaps each of you consider writing your own letter of support to the County with the thought that the more positive reinforcement they get from the community on their action, the better it will be for the situation and encourage them to continue to move forward and not wait around for approvals.
 
 I’m not a person that airs my political beliefs willy-nilly and this email is not meant to be a political email in any way (there’s enough of those going around) but you all know how passionate I am about the marine and beach wildlife, our beloved ocean and beaches,and the health of our planet. As with many of you, I have grown up with these beaches in all phases of my life  from Gulf Shores,Alabama to Pensacola Beach and now Destin, and Okaloosa Island.  I often tell folks that I have Gulf water running through my veins, quartz crystal sand between my toes, the salty smell of the ocean in my nostrils, and the sound of the surf in my heart.  I love the beach in all of its varied conditions – be it a soft gentle spring rain, a fierce storm during hurricane season, the bright hot sunshine of July, the solitude quietness of winter, or a peaceful foggy mist in the fall. It is beautiful to me no matter the season or time of day. I have solved many a heartache in my life  in long walks and talks with God and the ocean on Okaloosa Island beach, had fun with Sonny on our “date” Sunday beach days snorkeling and swimming, experienced the thrill of finding a “gift from the sea’ on the beaches after a storm, enjoyed the feel of the ocean on my skin while skinny-dipping(surprised you with that one, didn’t I?) and felt the surge of love and admiration in my heart watching herons, pelicans, dolphins, sea gulls,manatees, sea turtle, sandpipers, and crabs make their home here (to name just a few). It’s a boundless love- my love of this area.  I’m a proud coastal girl born and bred and hopefully will be one to my last days.  I have also honored that love of the ocean and beach in my home and office.
 
by Donna Minton, Destin, FL

I will continue to post a link to my prayer and song as long as this gulf coast recovery effort is going on:

Should you wish to send this link on this post to your friends just copy and paste this link:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/to-my-friends-family-and-claims-community-members-news-from-the-florida-panhandle/

To add to Donna’s contact information above,  here’s the link to the Okaloosa Commissioners. If you don’t know what to say to the Commisioners, here is a link to their website which has additional updates from the June 16, 2010 meeting and their fax number so if you do nothing else, print this blog out and fax it to them at 850-651-7142  and add a note to tell them you do support their efforts.

http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/bcc_contact.html

Or forward the following link to your friends and family and to the commissioners by email:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/to-my-friends-family-and-claims-community-members-news-from-the-florida-panhandle/

Each and every day until this oil spill is cleaned up, I intend to  close each blog with the following prayer and song for oil spill victims, especially the families of those who lost their family members in the Deep Water Horizon explosion: 

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/eternal-father-strong-to-save-a-prayer-for-americans-during-the-bp-gulf-coast-oil-spill-recovery-open-letter-3-to-president-obama-and-admiral-thad-allen/
 
We appreciate all comments you make to this post if you support the Okaloosa County Commissioners so please post your comments and I will approve them. Let’s  use this blog comments section to keep each updated on what is happening in and around the Florida panhandle to give Donna’s voice further wings to  help the Florida panhandle and keep those of us living outside of the area news on the developments and progress in the Florida panhandle.
 
Here is also a link to another blog I wrote last week with all of the BP claim forms should you need them. You can also follow all blogs I’ve posted about BP by just entering BP in the search field on the right column of this blog to read them all to keep up with the information I am updating on the BP claims status. 

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/bp-gulf-oil-spill-claims-update-claims-process-claims-manual-claims-forms-and-much-more/
 
We also ask that you help those of us in the claims industry help you by passing along our plight trying to get assigned to work these claims. It is just a tragedy that only one adjusting firm has been assigned to handle these claims. As of last Friday, BP had only assigned 600 adjusters between Louisiana and Florida to handle these claims and we do not even know if they are experienced adjusters entirely. Compare those numbers to the following numbers required in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane season:
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/lets-compare-floridas-2004-2005-bad-hurricane-seasons-with-the-current-number-of-bp-claims-as-of-6122010-and-currently-deployed-claims-adjusters-part-ii-open-letter-to-obama-and-admiral-allen/