BP not denying claims, but not paying majority, either


JACKSON — BP says the company has not denied claims made for lost income from the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe, but the company’s records show 63 percent of claims are still pending without payment, Attorney General Jim Hood said Tuesday.

“It is unfortunate that, despite all its promises about taking care of our residents on the Coast, BP is still holding 6,050 actionable claims,” Hood said.

Hood and fellow attorneys general from Gulf states have urged a faster claims process when independent claims administrator Ken Feinberg takes over Aug. 23. Feinberg has said people will be able to file claims online and that legitimate, documented claims will be paid.

BP’s statistics show that 63 percent of claims — or 6,050 of 9,600 filed — were still being evaluated last week. A total of $28.6 million had been paid, mostly for property damage and wage losses.

However, BP had paid only 363 of the 1,062 claims pending from rental property owners, Hood said. Only 53 of 213 claims from restaurant owners had been paid. Of 695 boat claims, he said, only 30 payments have been made. “BP is claiming they haven’t yet denied a claim, when the truth is they’ve only closed a couple of dozen cases,” Hood said. “They’re skewing the statistics in their favor.

“They need to move their priority to getting cases resolved and folks paid so we can evaluate just how much they mean it when they say they’re going to make everything right again. BP has to step up and get this process moving faster for those in Mississippi who are victims of this devastating oil spill.”

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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