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Gulf Coast claims: the magnitude of releasing claim money is enormous


It is almost one year since the explosion took place in Deepwater Horizon causing a massive oil spill. In fact, it was on twentieth of April 2010 that that explosion took place. In the latest report on the status of GCCF claims that was released by Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth R Feinberg, the magnitude of the problem of disbursing claims to individuals and to businesses is truly unprecedented.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility actual began in the month of August in 2010 and is going to continue till 23rd August 2013. From the inception of the GCCF, about 857000 claims were received from more than five hundred thousand individuals as well as businesses.
Till date, the GCCF has approved about three hundred thousand claims and the amounts disbursed are believed to be about 3.8 billion dollars. These disbursements took place in the form of Interim payments, Emergency Payments, Final Payments and Quick Payments. In the report that was released by Feinberg details of the breakdown of different payment categories is given in detail.
This report provides additional information such as independent claims review process that was made by the US Coast Guard and which have not been modified by the GCCF.
The report also provides information about the number of claimants that have claimed Final Payment will be twice the amount of the damages they have claimed. Those who were engaged in oyster harvesting and processing expect to be paid four times the amount that they have claimed in 2010.
The GCCF also provides information regarding amounts that claimants have requested and which the GCCF says is out of all proportion to the actual damage that the claimants have asked for.
In addition, the GCCF also found it necessary to expand its local office size and so has employed local law firms and system administrators and accounts. This has been done in order to give each claimant a chance to avail of assistance in a face to face manner so that they are kept abreast of the latest status of their different claims.
In addition, the GCCF has made itself more transparent and so has posted details of its Final Rules on its website.
In spite of all this, there is plenty of disenchantment among claimants though Feinberg claims that the process of providing compensation has gathered pace. Feinberg has been chosen by the White House and by BP to administer the economic side of paying damages and has done a decent job.
He has been responsible for settling about 150000 claims which involved disbursement of compensation amounting to about four and a half billion dollars. About 2.6 billion dollars of this amount was actually paid out in 2010 and was part of the emergency payments process. It has also taken about four months for the GCCF to pay about a billion dollars in the form of final settlements in the year 2010. This in turn involved use of a quick-pay process that was designed to disburse all gulf coast claims that were of a non-continuing type.

Source: Press Release, Washington DC 09/16/2011


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