Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BP will Transfer Claims to Ken Feinberg

Ken Feinberg (right) at a town hall meeting in Bayou La Batre,
Ala. (Photo by Bill Starling/Courtesy of Press-Register)

BP hands claims process to Ken Feinberg, who begins deliberating on August 23.

By Nicholas Moroni

BP will hand over the claims process to third-party administrator Ken Feinberg this Wednesday, The Associated Press reported today. Feinberg will begin evaluating the merits of claims on August 23 as chief of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

The oil giant reports that it has paid upward of $300 million in claims subsequent to the April 20 sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which led to the death of 11 workers and caused the Macondo well to spew oil for 86 days before being capped. BP has been accused of keeping claimaints in limbo, though, in a supposed effort to pass the buck on to Feinberg, who will then be forced to "officially deny" claims, something BP often reminds the public it has not done. Note, though, only 29 percent of claimants have receieved any payment from the company.

In a telephone conversation, BP spokesperson Mark Proegler scoffed at the notion that the company was simply waiting to place the burden of denying claims on Feinberg, and stated that BP "[hasn't] denied any legitimate claims."

Bloomberg Business Week recently reported that claims from all 50 states have already poured in; and the total number is close to 150,000. Meanwhile, as Feinberg prepares to take the reigns, he acknowledges the daunting task before him

"The further away you are from the Gulf, the less likely it is you will have a valid claim," Feinberg told Bloomberg. "But I will rake a look at each claim."

Feinberg is a Washington attorney noted for administering payments to the family members and victims of 9/11 victims, Vietnam Veterans who suffered effects from Agent Orange dispersants, and victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

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