Journalism in the Public Interest

BP Confirms That Thousands of Claims Decisions Will Be Deferred

BP acknowledges its decision to hold off paying many claims—and will wait for Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator, to take over. 


Earlier this morning, we reported that BP is delaying its decisions about many damage claims from the Gulf oil spill. We wrote that the company is putting off decisions about numerous claims that are not explicitly covered by the Oil Pollution Act, the 1990 federal law that holds oil companies responsible for covering direct "removal costs and damages" from a spill, without telling claimants why their claims were put on hold.

In a press release sent out several hours after our story, BP confirmed that many claims will be deferred until Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator appointed by President Barack Obama to oversee the compensation process, takes over the claims system in mid-August.

"There are several thousand claims not clearly within the guidelines of the Oil Pollution Act which guides BP's claims process," Darryl Willis of the BP claims team said in the press release. "Ken and his team are the claims experts. It is right that they make the decisions on these claims."

BP also provided examples of the types of claims -- which it stressed was for "illustrative purposes" and not a comprehensive list -- that the company is currently approving, and those it's deferring for now.

From BP's press release:

Currently Included

  • Restaurants or tourism businesses located in close proximity to a beach or marsh that has been oiled
  • Fisherman, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, etc., and charter boat operators who have been affected by the oil
  • Seafood processors in the affected area who do not have any seafood to process
  • Condo units located on beaches that have been closed due to oil

Deferred to Feinberg

  • Restaurants or tourism businesses not located in close proximity to an oiled beach or marsh
  • Workers affected by the Moratorium
  • Seafood processors outside the Gulf Coast states
  • Values of property not located in close proximity to a beach that was oiled

If you've filed a claim with BP where the decision has been deferred -- or there's anything else about your claims experience that you think ProPublica should know -- fill out this simple form and a reporter will be in touch with you.

Amanda Michel contributed reporting to this piece, and is coordinating our BP claims project.

Brian J. Donovan

Aug. 3, 2010, 1:15 p.m.

To date, BP has made 87,100 payments to claimants in the total amount of $266 million.

This equates to only $3,054 per payment to “businesspeople who are suffering.”

I know many of you may not like this but at least BP is trying to help those affected by the oil spill.  We victims of Chinese Drywall have had ZERO help with the lose of our homes, belongings, health etc. in the past year and half.  So before you throw BP under the bus let the administrator do his job.

To Lisa - Operational greed leads to buses. There will be a lot of secondary and tertiary effects that BP is going to try and get out of. Back the bus up and do it again.

Here’s what’s really happening with the oil spill:

Rarely Seen Pictures Of The Devastating Consequences Of The BP Disaster:

And here’s what kind of company BP is:
BP’s admits role in Lockerbie bomber’s release

Please disseminate these links widely! Put them on your Facebook page and Twitter. Send the link to your friends and colleagues.

We must be vigilant and do everything we can to keep this disaster in the public eye for years to come!!!

Already they’re trying to get out of claims made by businesses not directly on the beach. When tourists avoid going there because they know the beach is toxic, the whole town’s businesses suffer. Not just the ones along the shorelines.

Brian J. Donovan

Aug. 3, 2010, 2:57 p.m.

The issue is whether victims of the BP oil gusher will also be victims of the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund.

Orange Beach, Alabama Mayor Tony Kennon recently said the pace of BP aid has been far too slow and that many Gulf businesses might not make it past the end of the summer. Referring to BP, Kennon stated, “They’ve paid essentially nothing,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re dishonest. They’re running this big PR campaign.”

“I am determined to come up with a system more generous and more beneficial than if you file a lawsuit,” Feinberg repeatedly states. Here, the question is whether the system will be more generous and more beneficial for BP or BP’s victims.

Attorney General King is correct in stating that it is time for the State of Alabama to file a lawsuit against BP. Memories fade with the passage of time. Therefore, witnesses should be deposed as soon as possible. Postponing litigation will only benefit BP.

BP’s defense will be simple: “Spill, what spill? Dispersants, what dispersants? Compensation fund, what compensation fund?”

All victims of the BP oil gusher should read this article:

Charles D. Brown

Aug. 3, 2010, 7:55 p.m.

When big business is involved with with disaster claims they always find ways to snake the victims out of their due. Look at the poisoned people that died in India because they were killed by poison gas. We all know the chemical company (UC) responsible for that.  The payments that families received was barely enough to bury the dead.

    The gulf coast life and lives of the people are being poisoned too in the same way by industrial pollution. And our government is going to back BP before they back the people and the environment because the oil company is going to be handing out stifle money to the lowlife government criminals that live for bribes. Think about it! Stand up and fight against BP

I live on the Florida Panhandle right in the path of this oil. It’s not just the beach businesses that are going under. It effects all of us living along the Gulf Coast. Grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, motels, gift shops, etc. have either closed up or are struggling day to day just to hang on. Property values along the coast are plumeting. Lots of lay-offs. Zero income for many, so they can’t pay their bills and are losing their homes.  Remember the trickle-down effect. We’re only just starting to see the economic effects of this disaster. (read more at

This article is produced with the help of readers:
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These newsrooms have partnered to help ProPublica find BP claimants: American Public Media's Public Insight Network, Huffington Post Green,, The Bradenton Herald, The Gambit Weekly, The Lens, The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Tallahassee Democrat and Yahoo! News.

ProPublica's Unofficial Guide to BP Claims

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