In Shakeup, Incoming Spill Claims Czar Will Drop BP’s Contractor
The independent claims czar for the BP spill plans to drop the contractor BP had been using and hire two companies to replace it.
Kenneth Feinberg, the independent paymaster chosen by President Obama to administer damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, will drop the contractor that BP has been using to manage the claims process and hire two new companies to replace it.
Feinberg is expected to take over the claims system from BP in mid-August. He will replace BP’s primary contractor for claims, ESIS Inc., with two other firms when he assumes control of the process, said Feinberg’s spokeswoman Amy Weiss. She did not say why ESIS was being replaced.
BP’s compensation system has been criticized by many applicants and so far made payments on only 28 percent of claims. Applicants have described delays, unreturned phone calls and bureaucratic obstacles. Roughly $300 million has been disbursed to date; BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion to cover claims and other expenses.
Earlier this week, BP confirmed our report that the company has deferred decisions on thousands of claims until Feinberg takes over the process. Many of those claimants had not been informed why their cases had been placed on hold.
A spokeswoman for ESIS’s parent company, ACE Group, has not responded to a request for comment on Feinberg’s decision.
Patricia Wright, a spokeswoman for BP, confirmed that ESIS would be replaced, and said that the decision was made by Feinberg without BP’s involvement. She said that BP was continuing to pay claims and that ESIS would stay on the job while BP retained control of the process. “Our contractors will continue to work until we transition,” Wright said.
The companies that will replace ESIS, Garden City Group and the law firm BrownGreer, both specialize in the resolution of mass claims. BrownGreer was previously hired by Feinberg as a fee and expense analyst during his tenure as the executive pay czar overseeing compensation at banks that were bailed out by the federal government.
Amanda Michel contributed reporting to this piece, and is coordinating our BP claims project.
Our collaborative reporting initiative that connects readers with our reporters to produce stories in the public interest.
Newsrooms: How to Get Involved
Here's the deal. We'll give you code so you can easily collect stories on your web site. We'll have access to the stories you collect. In return, we'll share stories from your area that come in through our site and outreach. E-mail Amanda if you're interested or have questions.
These newsrooms have partnered to help ProPublica find BP claimants: American Public Media's Public Insight Network, Biloxi Sun Herald, Huffington Post Green, NOLA.com, The Bradenton Herald, The Gambit Weekly, The Lens, The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Tallahassee Democrat, Texas Tribune, and Yahoo! News.
Our Hottest Stories
- Privacy Tools: How to Block Online Tracking
- U.S. Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Defense of Alleged Killers of Palestinian Teen
- Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front
- Dispatches From Freedom Summer
- Fanny Pack Mixup Unravels Massive Medicare Fraud Scheme
- Pentagon Finally Decides to Dig Up Remains of Long Lost Soldier
- New York State to Pay Millions in Wrongful Conviction Case
- Senator Asks OSHA About Temp Worker Buried Alive In Sugar