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BP claims czar ‘making amends,’ won’t hire more adjusters

by Dara Kam | September 17th, 2010

Ken Feinberg, in charge of doling out billions of dollars in claims to victims of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, said he won’t hire more adjusters to speed up the process but acknowledged his system is not without problems.

“It is true that we’re not moving as fast as we should,” Feinberg said.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist this week asked Feinberg to appear before them at the next Cabinet meeting to explain why so many Panhandle business owners haven’t seen a dime since Feinberg took over BP’s maligned claims system on Aug. 23.

“We can do better. The criticism of the governor and Sink justifiable. But we’re making amends. And we’re improving the system,” Feinberg said.

Crist and Sink also demanded that he immediately hire more adjusters to help speed up the process.

“I don’t need to hire more people. It’s not a resource issue. It’s an internal ability of us to process claims as fast as we can. Simply throwing more people at the problem won’t solve it,” Feinberg said.

More than 52,000 individuals and business owners have submitted claims since Feinberg took over last month, he said, including thousands that are undocumented or suspicious.

“I am as lenient and generous as I can be” but the “ocumentation is often non-existent or woefully inadequate,” Feinberg said.

Part of the hang-up is BP’s fault, because the oil giant “delayed extensively in transferring documentation that it had in its files,” Feinberg said. He said he believes he has the documentation and does not think the files were lost.

Feinberg said he expects to catch up on the 15,000 claims in the queue in a little more two weeks.

Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility is processing 1,000 claims a day and the Boston lawyer has already authorized payments for nearly 18,500 claimants totaling more than $205 million in less than a month, he said. That’s nearly half as much as BP paid out over four months, Feinberg pointed out.

“More resources are not the problem,” he added.

Feinberg is adding a new call center to handle problems for people who’ve already filed claims and haven’t received payment or have questions about how much they were paid, he said.

And Feinberg said he will bring a team of specialists to Florida sometime within the next few weeks to address individual complaints as he did this week in Orange Beach, Ala.

Feinberg, who met with Attorney General Bill McCollum on Wednesday before his town hall meeting in Alabama, said he is considering appointing a Florida point-person to represent the GCCF, something Sink and McCollum have asked for since BP started processing claims shortly after the April 20th Deepwater Horizon oil rig blast began spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

A Florida ombudsman is an excellent idea, an exasperated Sink said.

“Whatever it takes. What we have now is not working. I’m very hopeful that finally
I’m tired of having to write a letter every week. I want some action. I want some action. You can say as many words as you want to say. I want to see results.
So I’m waiting,” Sink said.

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5 Responses to “BP claims czar ‘making amends,’ won’t hire more adjusters”

  1. Unreal Says:

    And Lieberg foils the Justice League again.

    More people won’t help? Please. He already has some standards set, and has Worley personnel available to do adjusting. They have more experience with adjusting claims than his lawyers. 24 people are not even managing to put a dent in the claims process. That involves reviewing the claim and contacting the claimant directly.
    The truth is he wants lawyers making decisions. His lawyers. They aren’t putting out any needs letters, and they aren’t contacting claimants.
    An ombudsman’s hotline? This idea is a joke once you learn how Feinberg behaves.

    Tune in next week to find out how the evil Lieberg, again successfully thwarts the efforts of The Orange Narcissist, Paperclip Scrimper Girl, Letter Writing Billy, and the rest of the Justice League, in their attempts to prove to Floridians that they are actually doing anything to help.

  2. lwren Says:

    Called the GCCF call center to find out about the new call line for “in review claims” and they had never heard of it except for a supervisor that saw this in the press some place…. I had hope when Feinberg came in but that hope is gone. Now just anger and frustration after every guideline the GCCF has made is false!

  3. lwren Says:

    This whole thing reads like a Hollywood movie with a Jim Carey type actor in the starring role.

    I see this in a different light, I predict that the GCCF will rule many of the claims in the review files as ineligible and deny them. The timing is critical as if this happens now this whole thing will blow up politically I also question who Mr. Feinbergs represents in this role as administrator? He is not working pro-bono as in the past and has standard attorney client relationships that define his allegiance. The claimants do not seem to be the person Mr. Feinberg is representing with a claim backlog of over fifty percent of the claims submitted, the lack of any information as a team of DC lawyers are making rulings on the defense ability of the cases and deciding if the cases should be paid. The president had a noble ideas when he appointed Ken Feinberg on his past accomplishments but Mr. Feinberg at this juncture has not done his side of the job or has he?

  4. al toth Says:

    Lets use the power of the internet and our status as American voters to get some actual action from the GCCF. If everyone copy and pasted and sent this following email to everyone on their email lists and asked them to send it to their email lists we can use the internet to make a strong political statement and maybe get President Obama to right this wrong that was created by Ken Feinberg. Send it to the White House and all your elected officials. Also there was a group created on Facebook with the same title.
    President Obama–you did right by getting BP to fund $20 billion for those injured by the gulf spill. But Ken Feinberg is the wrong person for the job. He is a person on BPs payroll whose only objective is to limit how much BP pays in damage claims. Thousands of small businesses and individuals are in severe financial straits due to the oil spill. Yet Feinberg continues to delay the processing of these claims or only pay a fraction of what the claimants suffered in damages. Now small businesses are closing and individuals are suffering severe financial problems.
    This is a man lacking a moral compass. Instead of increasing the number of people to process the claims he continues to keep just 25 people doing it. Why? So he can continue to control the lack of or reduction of claim payments in a small closely held group of his own inner circle.
    He has the money to pay every claim in full and still be under the $3 billion he has available right now. Yet he continues to process claims like there is no money available. Who gains by this strategy? Only BP.
    This is not what you stand for? Make it right and replace Ken Feinberg

  5. whasup Says:

    Feinberg was a mistake from the beginning. Never put a lawyer in to a job that requires a banker or accoutant.

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