Panama City — BP is officially out of the claims business. Claims Czar, Ken Feinberg assumed responsibility for the claims process Monday.
He’s keeping the current facilities open, but changing the name and the process. Feinberg promises quick returns on claims submitted by those affected by the oil spill.
“On August 23rd, file your claim, offer your proof so that we can pay these claims,” Feinberg said at the meeting.
August 23rd is here and people aren’t waiting one more day to give Feinberg’s independent claims process a shot. Many can’t afford to wait.
“Our industry is destroyed. I shrimp in Louisiana. I fish out of here. In Louisiana, I’m destroyed. There’s no shrimp left. They’ve killed all the shrimp,” said Commercial Fisherman, Jack Melancon.
Feinberg hosted a forum in Panama City a couple weeks ago to address concerns from residents.
“My goal after August 23 for emergency payments, in most cases, within 24 hours after the claim is considered the check should be cut,” said Feinberg.
People like Jack are holding onto Feinberg’s promise to streamline and speed up the claims process, as a last hope.
They came to claims site Monday, hoping for a vastly different experience than the frustrating one they’ve had when dealing with BP.
“It’s been pretty difficult for a while. You know, I was getting different messages from BP. They’d call and say your claims been denied and the next day somebody would call and say your claims been approved and I finally got my money. But they’re getting a lot better. I come here today because I heard through the grapevine that they were going to pay 6 month payments all at one time,” said Ronald Cooper who paints houses in Rosemary Beach.
Charter boat captain Derek Blakeley agrees, so far, so good.
“Things got confusing they started asking for more documentation. Some you’d already brought before but today it seems like it went a little better for me,” said Blakeley.
But for now, it’s still just a waiting game.
“They said they got all the information they need. Now all I got to do is wait on a check,” said Cooper.
The new Gulf Coast Claims Center facility is now reviewing all claims that were filed with BP before Monday.
If you wish to file a claim, you can do so on-line, by mail, by fax or you can visit on of the claims site offices.
See video here: http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/101335539.html