BP Speeds Up Claim Payments to Businesses Affected by Gulf Oil

August 4, 2010

  • August 5, 2010 at 3:07 am
    Sheila Newman says:
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    I own a business in Orange Beach, AL, directly across the street from the beach. I plan 80 – 100 destination weddings every year on the beach. I have been denied claims from BP because BP has no criteria from the type of claim I have filed.

    The only businesses that fit their criteria are the fishermen and oystermen.

    Orange Beach Weddings brings to this
    market, on an average weekend, 200 people from across the United States, for weddings. We help with accommodations, restaurants, fishing trips, etc.

    Since the oil spill, 15 weddings have cancelled, at an average of $3000.00 per wedding. I have singed contracts from brides and signed cancellation letters stating they will not be coming to Orange Beach for their wedding due to the oil spill.

    BP is not paying the local businesses. The are spending millions on advertising they are making us whole but it is not true!!

    Sheila Newman
    Orange Beach Weddings
    24951 Perdido Beach Blvd.
    Orange Beach, AL 36561
    251-923-6211 Cell
    251-980-5611 Office

  • August 5, 2010 at 5:12 am
    cassandra says:
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    I would argue that the loss to ny business is pretty much analogous to a restaurant, which is a “covered” class in the regs. In fact, if you sell destination weddings, and the destination has been ruined, I would think you have more of a claim than a restaurant which could still sell to locals vs. tourists to generate at least partial income.

    I hope you keep trying to get a claim paid.

  • August 6, 2010 at 5:17 am
    Brian J. Donovan says:
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    As of August 5, 2010, BP has made 99,600 payments to claimants for a total of $303 million.

    This equates to an average of only $3,042 per payment!

    The following perspective on the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund may be of interest:


  • August 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    Pete Saunders says:
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    Got an OIL SPILL Claim? Don’t hold your breath !!

    Nearly every day that I open my local newspaper in Sarasota, FL I am met by a full page ad from BP telling me that “We will get it done” and “We will make this right”. It shows a picture of some BP representative assuring the gulf coast communities that BP is on top of the situation. Claims for lost income are to sent to their claims office and BP will pay all legitimate claims. Not so according to many individuals who have claims pending for months.

    My situation is like many other people who have rental units on the gulf coast and have had cancellations due to the oil spill. Like other communities along the coast, Sarasota attracts many Europeans in the Summer months. Rental rates are low. Beaches are beautiful, especially Siesta Key Beach, and the snow birds are gone allowing easy access to restaurants, shops, and the beach.

    In early May, just after the BP oil spill, a young lady named Daniela Buchmann from Germany contacted me and wanted my unit at Stoneybrook Golf & CC in Sarasota from June 21 through July 25. She was bringing her two children on holiday for five weeks of tennis, golf, and sightseeing. I quoted her a price of $1,800 for the five weeks and she accepted. I told her I would forward a lease agreement in the next week or two. She should sign the last page and send a $500 refundable deposit back to hold the unit. Before I could forward the lease and obtain a deposit, Buchmann sent back an email that stated she was going to cancel her trip to Florida due to the uncertainty of the oil spill situation. This was understandable as at the time no one was sure what would transpire in the coming weeks as BP was not forthcoming with accurate reports on the severity of the spill.

    On June 20th, being unable to fill this cancellation, I submitted a claim to BP and received a claim number and was assigned an adjuster; Russell Larson. I called the BP hotline and talked to a person named Soldier who instructed me to fax information to the BP office including copies of my driver’s license, social security card, tax returns, rental history, and rental cancellations. The following day all these documents were sent by fax to the Hammond, LA office.

    On July 6, 2010; I called the BP Claims Office in Hammond and was told someone would get back to me about my claim. On July 7, I received a call from Curtis Albert, who had taken over my claim from Russell Larson. He gave me his phone number where I could reach him as 1-800-573-8249, extension 624. Mr. Albert said he had all the necessary information to process the claim except documentation from Daniela Buchmann stating that she cancelled her reservation due to the oil spill. I told Mr. Albert that it may be difficult to contact her as I was using homeaway.com as my rental advertiser. I further explained that I am only putting in a claim for my cancelled date, unlike some other hotel managers and rental agents that are requesting reimbursement for all unfilled rooms. He said he understood and he would help me in any way he could to correct the situation.

    I found Buchmann’s address and contacted her by email asking her for a letter stating her reason for cancellation. On July 10, 2010, I received an email from Buchmann stating “due to the fact that the oil spill has caused a fatal pollution of the water and the beaches, we need to cancel our reservation for your condo”. This letter emailed to me was faxed to Curtis Albert. I did not hear from Mr. Albert so I faxed him another inquiry and made several phone calls.

    On July 21, 2010; I received four separate letters dated July 19 from BP in Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, and English telling me that BP has been “unable to make a determination on your claim because you have provided insufficient documentation to support this claim.

    On July 22, 2010; I called the BP claims office in Hammond and talked to claims adjuster Joey Lambert. He brought up all the documentation on his computer screen and told me that all the paperwork is in order and he sees no reason why this claim has not been processed. He put in a request for Curtis Albert to call me. At 10:45AM, Mr. Albert called and told me that he now cannot pay the claim without verification that there was an actual cancellation for the June reservation. I told him that I sent in exactly what he asked for and he confirmed receiving the letter. Mr. Albert said he received it but could not confirm the letter because he cannot call out of the United States. I said to him that the letter also had her email address and he could contact her by email. Mr. Albert informed me that he could not because the office had no email access outside the building. I asked Mr. Albert, in this day and age of technology, what office cannot call or email. He responded saying that without him being able to confirm the cancellation he could not pay the claim in that form. He suggested that I try another avenue and request compensation based on rental histories for similar units in the complex. I informed him that I am not looking for that, I only want compensation for the cancellation, nothing more. Mr. Albert informed me that this is the only other possibility and gave me further instructions to follow. He suggested that I forward rental rates for comparable units so he could have a history to use for reimbursement. The following day, July 23, 2010; I faxed Mr. Albert the rental rates as provided by Stoneybrook’s rental agent, Prudential Palms Realty, highlighting the “Terrace” rental rates. I also included my current ad that runs in homeaway.com showing a full description, pictures, and my rental rates for the unit.

    On July 26, after several days of waiting, I called the BP Claims Office in Hammond and spoke to claims adjuster Michael Green. Mr. Green could not locate Curtis Albert but offered to assist in reviewing my documentation. As he pulled up all the documents on the screen he told me that as far as he is concerned, all the necessary paperwork is in order and there should be no holdup on this claim. He said he would send a request through the system for Mr. Albert to call me.

    Knowing that BP contracted ESIS to process the oil spill claims, I used the internet to see if I could find a supervisor or management person in Hammond that I could contact about this claim. The web site had several links on it’s home page and I went to “Recovery Services”. What I read was amazing and I finally figured what the deal is with the claims process. According to the web site, the goal of ESIS Recovery Services is in “REDUCING OUR CLIENTS’ LOSS DOLLAR PAYOUTS”.

    On July 28, 2010; I again called the BP Claims Office in Hammond after failing to receive a return call from Curtis Albert. Upon reaching Mr. Albert he said the information faxed to him was OK but he needed more information. He suggested that I send a letter from a rental owner with their name, address, phone number, and a listing of his rentals from last year. I explained again that I was not looking for anything but reimbursement for the cancellation from June. I did not want payment for days the condo was empty like other property owners were applying for. Mr. Albert again said he could not confirm my June cancellation because he was not allowed to call outside the US and was unable to email outside the building he worked in. I suggested that Mr. Albert have someone who has authority to email or call outside the building to do so. Again, Mr. Albert said he would not do that.

    On July 29; to satisfy Mr. Albert’s request for a letter from a comparable owner, I faxed two letters from different property owners with the necessary information that he requested. Those letters detailed the property address, and the list of people occupying the rentals.

    On August 1, 2010; I called the Claims Office in Hammond and was told they could not located Mr. Albert and put in a request for him to call me.

    I finally got in contact with Mr. Albert on August 5, 2010 at which time he told me that after ALL the work we went through, the claim has been forward to the BP Claims Review Board. The review board would then contact me.

    On August 10, 2010 I contacted the office of FL representative Doug Holder, District 70. Carol Carlson, District Assistant, contacted BP Claims representative Curtis Albert and would only tell Ms. Carlson that claims were being forwarded to the new Claims Review Board that was being set up. He had no further information.

    There are hundreds if not thousands of claimants that are being told “we are not denying your claim at this time”. What BP is doing is deferring all claims and not paying any of them.

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