Despite BP’s latest attempts to stop or slow payments of Business Economic Loss (BEL) claims filed with the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (DHECC), the court-administered program continues to plow forward and pay claimants located throughout the Gulf Coast region. A review of the mid-August statistics reveals the success of the program in detail. In mid-August, more than 212,000 claims had been submitted to the Claims Center, with Florida residents filing the most claims (31 percent), followed by Louisiana (26 percent), Alabama (19 percent), Mississippi (12 percent) and Texas (4 percent).
If there is any one true indicator for claimant satisfaction with a settlement of this magnitude, it is the rate at which claimants accept the amounts they are offered on claims. Given that the Claims Center is more than one year old, and the complex calculations that are required to generate offers, the acceptance rate is nothing short of astounding. Specifically, the Claims Center has issued nearly 54,053 notices for payment for a total value of $4.504 billion. Of these offers, 48,655 were accepted for a value of $4.030 billion. Actual funds physically paid to claimants at press time was at $3.262 billion. Business loss claims comprise the largest share of filings to date at 66,330 (or 31 percent of total filings), followed by individual economic loss claims (18 percent), coastal real property (14 percent), subsistence (13 percent) and seafood claims (12 percent).
BP has also continued its aggressive appeal tactics in the Claim Center. In total, the company has filed 2,795 of the 3,550 appeals, and from everything we are seeing, the appeals appear to be increasing at a rapid rate. Many of these appeals are not supported by the Settlement Agreement, and we suspect they are another desperate attempt by BP to save as much money as possible on the backend.
Based on the statistics, Pat Juneau and his staff are doing a remarkable job administering this Settlement in a completely independent and unbiased way. It is simply ridiculous, although not entirely surprising, that BP has blasted Mr. Juneau, a man they steadfastly supported just a few months ago, and the Claims Center in a very public manner. However, BP’s public perception is eroding with every negative article they print. We fully expect the Program to continue paying claims well into 2014.
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