The Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (Claims Center) has made significant progress in the processing of more than 380,000 claims filed by the June 8, 2015, deadline. The Claims Center’s monthly progress report shows it has conducted in-depth reviews and issued notices on approximately 75 percent of all claims. Such notices may request additional information or offer a final determination on a claim. To date, the Claims Center has paid more than $6 billion to eligible claimants including commercial fishermen, subsistence fishermen, property owners and various businesses.
The Settlement Agreement also calls for BP to finance a $2.3 billion Seafood Compensation Program Settlement Fund and requires this fund to pay out any balance that may be remaining after the first round of distributions. After $1.1 billion was distributed in the first round, the Seafood Supplemental Distribution opened an additional $500 million to be distributed to claimants in proportion to the claimants’ gross compensation, while $700 million was withheld for potential future distributions. As of Sept. 30, 2015, the Seafood Supplemental Distribution has paid $426,127,074 from the fund to eligible claimants. With only 0.9 percent of seafood claims still pending review, we expect a third distribution will be made from the $700 million remaining in the fund at some point.
The Claims Center’s progress is being made in spite of a numerous hurdles that were not expected when the Settlement Agreement was first reached in April 2012. Policy 495, otherwise known as the matching policy, changed the way in which Business Economic Loss claims are calculated and that has resulted in a much more rigorous review process. Fraud controls in place by the Claims Administrator’s Office have also required claimants to go through an additional verification process. We appreciate the efforts implemented by the Pat Juneau, Claims Administrator, to ensure the integrity of the claims process. We are even more encouraged as he continues to pay the tens of thousands of valid claims for individuals and businesses.
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