Confidence in the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement is continuing to grow. Since going online one year ago this month, the Settlement Program is providing benefit to business and individuals in the Gulf states. To date, the Settlement Program has received more than 190,000 claims and by all accounts, claims will continue to be filed as we move toward the current April 2014 deadline for filing claims. Claims’ activity is also at an all-time high, as claim determinations from the Program have risen to $3.6 billion – $3.2 billion of which have been accepted by claimants.
Originally, BP estimated (which they claimed was for the benefit of their shareholders) that the Settlement Program would pay out a total claim value of $7.8 billion, leading many observers who had not paid close attention to the settlement agreement to believe the Program was actually capped at that number. The Settlement agreement, however, is not capped and some believe the program will far exceed BP’s “estimate.” The bottom line is all of the claims should be paid pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, and if that number is more than BP’s estimate, then so be it. I always thought it was odd that a large, publicly traded company like BP would attempt to make an estimate of the total dollar value of claims that would be paid when they agreed before a federal judge that the settlement amount was not capped in any way for business and individual claims.
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