Updates from BP Czar Ken Feinburg from Louisiana Town Hall Meeting 8/18/10 about Gulf Coast Claims Facility/New Website for BP Claim Filing as well

August 19, 2010

Well it is finally out=========the BP Claims process through BP ended as of yesterday on August 18, 2010 and will reopen Monday August 23, 2010 under the Gulf Coast Claims Facility administered by Ken Feinburg at http://www.gulfcoastclaimsfacility.com As of a few minutes ago, it just has an announcement posted that it will open 8/23/2010.

This article from yesterday’s townhall meeting in Louisiana provides many more clues to how Feinburg intends to administer the settlement of these claims and is becoming a little more clear and more sensible as well from the standpoint he is now saying BP is providing them the documentation received on the claims that were reported directly to BP from April 20, 2010 date of loss through the close of BP’s own administration of the claims which ended yesterday.

The process sounds like an improvement but I cannot fathom how they possibly are going to make the first six months emergency payments within 48 hours for personal claims and 7 days for businesses as alleged. 1600 or so claims personnel divided by the 151,000 claims reported to BP that are in the process of movig to Gulf Coast Claims Facility doesn’t even sound humanly possible as anyone running a catastrophe claims operation can tell you.

We’ll keep a hopeful watchful eye as things develop and wish the Gulf Coast Claims Facility nothing but the best in restoring these claimants to some semblance of normalcy after their lives have been in ruins from this BP oil spill.

Here is the link to the the news article out of Louisiana quoting Ken Feinburg with more clues to how the claims will be administered:

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/gulf_of_mexico_oil_spill_claim_1.html

BP’s claim site lists the following new information about filing claims under the new facility at www.bp.com/claims which says in part:

Update: Individual and Business Claims

Claims previously filed with the BP Claims Process related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are transitioning on August 23 to the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for review, evaluation and determination.

  • Access the GCCF website at www.GulfCoastClaimsFacility.com.
  • Call the toll-free number 1(800) 916-4893 to receive a copy of the claim form by U.S. Mail (TTY: 1 (866) 682-1758).
  • Visit one of the GCCF Claims Site Offices, locations of which can be found at the above web site.
In order to ensure the orderly transition of data to the GCCF, BP will not accept claims into its system between August 19 and August 22.

 
The claims statistics link on their BP site is not up today so I can’t get an update yet on exactly how many claim loss reports they ended up with to move to the GCCF so the last I knew was 151,000 claims and 348 million paid which this new article quoting Feinburg says is not a dollar amount that will be included in the 20B fund to be paid on claims.
More news to follow- click on the RSS Feed at the bottom of the right hand column of our blog to follow new postings or subscribe by email to this blog in the top right column if you want to follow this and other hot topics in the claims industry.

For existing claimants only: The Immediate Action Claims Team will continue to operate through Sunday, August 22, and can be contacted at 1(800) 573-8249. This team will work only with those who have real emergencies.

GCCF is the only authorized organization managing business and individual claims related to the Deepwater Horizon Incident.

Effective August 23, 2010, to file a claim, you can do one of the following:

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BP 8/17/10 Press Release explains transition this week to Gulf Coast Claims Facility for individuals and businesses/ See info as well on Worley adjusting firm involvement in government entity BP claims

August 17, 2010

The BP press release for August 17, 2010 explains how claims will transition from their BP Claims operation to Ken Feinburg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility program.

Here is the link to their press release with all of the details:

http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7064522

The BP Claims Statistics page is updated through 8/17/10 and shows  151,000 claims reported and only 44,000 of them have received one payment thus far. They also show the current claim staff at 1,650 which is an increase of about 400 since I last blogged about this a few days. That is quite interesting as I personally made a call to Worley’s deployment department to see what status was on deployments and they said that deployments had slowed down and they were fully staffed right now. Considering that Ken Feinburg when in Pensacola last week said all claim will have to be reported again to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility so that is going to be quite a feat to take 151,000 claim assignments and requiring the claimants resubmit all paper work to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

Here is also a link to a good Bloomberg article published 8/16/10 quoting Feinburg on the economic losses that are not directly on the coast:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-16/bp-spill-claims-from-50-states-confront-administrator-feinberg.html

It is interesting to read his comment that hotels more than 50 miles from the coast are unlikely to recover economic losses. Just as one example, immediately it came to mind to me that if you exit off of interstate 10 to Panama City you automatically see signs that it is 51 miles to the beach………………need I say more?

I do believe we have a long road ahead of us before we hear the last of these claims.

I’ll update the blog immediately when Feinburg releases the information this week as this BP press release says he will.

I’ll leave you now with a link to a video of Feinburg in Pensacola, FL at a townhall meeting explaining the GCCF transition by WEAR TV 3 in Pensacola, FL:

http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_10234.shtml?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter


Ken Feinburg answers many BP Oil Spill questions in Pensacola, FL this week on the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility effective 8/23/2010/ BP Claim Stats through 8/11/10

August 13, 2010

The Pensacola News Journal is running a series of BP Oil Spill articles this week based on meetings held with locals this week on the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility- the name assigned to the 20B BP fund to pay damage claims.

First we have this article published 8/11/2010 about Feinburg’s meeting with 300 people and the University of West FL stating the fund will take over effective August 23, 2010:

http://www.pnj.com/article/20100811/NEWS01/8110338/1056/NEWS10/Feinberg-here-to-clean-up-the-mess

The interesting things picked up in this article is 1) confirmation that Feinburg still intends to issue settlement funds rather than advance funds that have been issued under the BP claims process for up to 6 months loss in exchange for a release 2) people/businesses who have already filed claims will need to update their claim information through the facility 3) they will accept emergency claims for loss up to Thanksgiving then remain open 3 years handling final/full settlements.

I was very surprised to read in this next article that even if you filed a claim through BP, you’ll have to file a new claim with the new facility:

http://www.pnj.com/article/20100811/NEWS01/8110336/1056/NEWS10/Feinberg-answers–oil-spill-claims-questions

This begs the question if the advances and payments previously issued through the BP/ESIS process will in fact be deducted from the facility payments by Feinburg’s group.

For many other articles on the oil spill through the Pensacola News Journal, you can view them here:

http://www.pnj.com/section/NEWS10

Other news sources updating comments from Feinburg and others on what will and will not be paid include:

BP may cut off tourism/restaurant businesses with indirect losses by Naples news:

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/aug/12/bp-stops-paying-tourism-claims-lower-gulf-coast-an/?gulfdrilling=1

From blog Alabama we have news updates on the National Association of Realtors meeting with Feinburg in Washington to discuss loss of realtor commissions indicating Feinburg is going to consider his position on these losses:

http://blog.al.com/live/2010/08/oil_spill_realtors_want_bp_rei.html

Also, Feinburg is quoted as stating the new claim rules won’t be posted until 8/23/2010 to allow adjusters to be trained and to test the report filing systems:

http://blog.al.com/live/2010/08/claims_czar_individual_claims.html

This article also indicates 39,000 BP claims are dangling awaiting Feinburg’s program to determine whether or not payments will be made on the restaurant and tourism claims for those not located near the oil spill. Note the interesting comments from MS AG Jim Hood:

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/As-39-000-spill-claims-dangle-BP-defers-to-feds-609097.php

BP’s site updates stats through 8/7/2010 with 145,000 claims received, 103,900 claim payments made, and 319 Million thus far paid out.

If the article linked to above from the Pensacola News Journal is right- 145,000 claims is alot of new claim reports to be made through the facility if it is true each claimant will have to file a new claim through Feinburg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

The BP Stats excel sheet on their site shows 1,247 adjusters in the 36 claims offices

Here is a copy of their spreadsheet updated through 8/11/2010:

BP_MC252_Dashboard_Aug_11_2010

You can find this updated daily on BP’s site on the Claims Statistics tab at www.bp.com/claims . Here is also a direct link to the claims statistics worksheets or you can click on the download link right below the summary of key statistics on the statistics page here:

http://www.bp.com//sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9034294&contentId=7063267


BP deposits first 3B of 20B Fund for BP Oil Spill Claims and explanation of timing of additional forthcoming fund deposits

August 9, 2010

Just a short entry today to link you to the news that BP has now deposited the first 3B of the 20B BP Oil Fund. This article also names the trustees involved in the trust:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2010/08/09/112299.htm

Here is a 2nd article from Business Insurance news which explains that an additional 2B will be deposited in 4th quarter then 1.5B each quarter until they reach the 20B:

http://www.businessinsurance.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100809/NEWS01/100809930/1246

http://www.businessinsurance.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100809/NEWS01/100809930/1246


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!


BP Claim Information Updates through Sunday June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010

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:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=aljqY7Nv_AzA

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:

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/