Journalism in the Public Interest

Gulf Compensation Czar Apologizes for Falling Short of Goals

Gulf spill paymaster Ken Feinberg apologizes for the kinks in the claims process.


Gulf spill paymaster Ken Feinberg. (Getty Images file photo).

Last week, we reported that Gulf spill paymaster Kenneth Feinberg was not yet meeting his goals for improving the BP claims process – particularly his pledge to issue payments within 48 hours to individuals who’ve documented their claims.

In an interview Tuesday with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Feinberg said that he has not lived up to his targets and issued an unusually direct apology to those affected.

“Those critics who say Ken Feinberg raised our expectations and then is not living up to those expectations, they're absolutely right, and I owe them an apology," Feinberg said.

Feinberg’s words came on the same day that he told the Mobile Press-Register that the fund he oversees has 25 employees reviewing a total of about 1,000 claims per day. Though Feinberg said he hoped to increase this rate, the current pace would mean it would take more than a month to get through the roughly 35,000 emergency payment claims that are still pending.

Feinberg said many claims lack enough documentation for the fund to process them, but also acknowledged that his staff has fallen behind in managing the high volume of claims that have come in.

"I underestimated the time it takes to process that information. It's not as easy as I anticipated,” Feinberg told the Times-Picayune. “It's not just a claimant with an ax to grind. There are many, many claims where we have violated our own rule" of paying within 48 hours or seven days. "It's taking longer than I had hoped.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Feinberg’s timeline for processing claims. We’ve asked the fund if they’re still standing by the targets they set out: a preliminary review within 24 hours of a claims receipt, and then payments within 48 hours for personal claims that are found to be eligible and fully documented. We’ll keep you updated when we hear more.

Brian J. Donovan

Sep. 9, 2010, 11:04 a.m.

“We’ll continue to keep an eye on Feinberg’s timeline for processing claims.”

Again, merely focusing on Feinberg’s timeline for processing claims and how claims are being handled by GCCF is a waste of time and energy. GCCF employs the traditional “delay, deny, defend” strategy used by insurance companies.

Apologies, although appreciated, do not put food on the table.

Here are three issues a reporter should investigate:
(a) how GCCF limits BP’s liability via the systematic postponement, reduction or denial of claims against BP;

(b) how GCCF guarantees BP’s continued long-term operation in the offshore Gulf of Mexico E&P sector; and

(c) why GCCF is not necessary to ensure that victims of the BP oil spill are fully compensated for incurred damages.


its a bunch of bull.
He has the documents for almost all the claims and only 25 people processing them per his statement at a town hall meeting last week.
BP paid 400 Million over 3 months In 1 month installments
Ken Fin-burg has paid 63 Million over 2 1/2 weeks in 6 month advances
That would = an average 4.2 million a week in monthly payments from fin-burg
and an average 33.3 Million a week from BP
That means BP was paying claims 8 times faster then fin-burg and the GCCF.
Ken Fin-burg has paid to date 9,000 claims in 2 1/2 weeks that’s around 4000 a week bp approved 120,000 in 3 months that’s 24,000 a week
Fin-burg and the gccf are slower and a lot less fair they call it a emergency payment an emergency payment that takes up to at the rate they are moving 48 days to receive when you have no way to earn any money 48 days is a long time.

PS. Bp did a better job handling claims

Day 17 here since I submitted a claim…I agree, BP did a much better job handling claims.  Why does Feinberg only have 25 employees?  What is he doing to improve this?  I don’t want an apology, I want a reimbursement.  The GCCF website states that all BP documentation is accessible and does not need to be resubmitted.  They have my tax returns, financial statements, etc. and I’m sure they have everyone elses too.

Brian raises excellent points, digging into and exposing the relationship between BP and GCCF might help this delay.

Thanks Sasha for the follow up article and keep on it, can we see Anderson Cooper do a segment on this on 360?

Ok here’s my question….....
there’s only 25 people processing the claims actually???
All of our docs in the GCCF claims, which were BP claims handled by the same ppl sitting in the old BP offices now GCCF office, and who are familiar with the claims and victims…......anyways all of our docs are scanned into a system, why can they not be e-transferred back to the adjuster being used prior to the GCCF take over and have those adjuster work the claims while they are sitting in those offices DOING ABSOULTELY NOTHING!??!@?!?!?!?
Theres your man power, if your lacking some Lieberg!
there are more ppl in the brick wall…or I mean GCCF call center, than people actually processing the claims….......are you kidding me?

I got pissed and started emailing Feinberg’s office. I am also calling Feinberg’s office everyday. Today I sent an email stating that what the GCCF is doing is in violation of the Claimants Bill of Rights posted on GCCF website. According to the Claimant Bill of Rights GCCF has violated #4. The right to information about my claim. #6. The right to a timely claim decision. and #7. The right to timely payment. Perhaps a class action suit against GCCF needs to be started. In any event this needs to be stressed to Feinberg directly. His email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and the phone #‘s to his law firm are 202-371-1110 and 212-527-9600. The people processing the claims are The Garden City Group and their # is 800-231-4757. I say let’s start posting this info on other sites, making the calls and sending the emails to him directly, perhaps that will speed up the process. Cause it’s obviouse we are not getting any information or anywhere with the “scripted” customer service reps they have answering the phone.

Thanks for the info. I emailed his office, wonder if I’ll really get a reply????

“I underestimated the time it takes to process that information. It’s not as easy as I anticipated,” Feinberg told the Times-Picayune [2].

Well Feinberg, BP was doing a great job of handling
my claims.  It’s my loss that you didn’t know what
you were getting into.

Feinberg, sounds just like Obama trying to cover his @ss regarding our sorry economy.  “I underestimated just how bad the economy was”

I hate to think how screwed up the government will administer Obamacare.  Scares the hell out of me


it is so sad when you call they say there are 200 people doing these claims and they are working 24/7 what a crock now they say it is 25 mi have waited 20+ days and nothing what the hell ever im sick of these lies they need to get the story straight already this place is a joke if obama wants to really do some thing the government should take this over they suck but my dog could do this faster than stupid gccf is they should be ashamed of them selves for the lies they tell everyone

you are so right we should all start a law suit against gccf for the jerks they are

I just can’t comprehend the whole situation, as a scam….as a slap in the face…as the devil’s work. I have a friend who filed after us, and is getting his check….and didn’t loose any wages actually worked for BP’s vessel of opportunity program and is gettin a big check.
My husband really lost his job, has not gotten any advance payments, only compensation from BP for what he actually lost…and we can’t get even a simple answer (TRUTHFUL) about our claim and why it is still UNDER REVIEW???!!!
Lawyers can call the back door to the actual claims processors, for a percentage of your money though. I am so sick, physically…and pray GOD intervenes.

I submitted a claim to BP for the months of May and June for lost earnings and profits.  BP was
wonderful to talk to and promptly paid my claim.
Then GCCF took over.  I submitted a one month
claim for July to GCCF for a loss of 3551.00.
Today I see that GCCF wired 1000.00 to my bank
accrount.  I called GCCF and ask why I received
2551.00 less than my claim.  The fellow said he
didn’t know.  I then ask him to recheck my paperwork and he said it looked correct.  So, I asked him if there were anyone I could talk to who could tell me why I was shorted 2551.00. 
He said no, there wasn’t anyone I could talk to.
I ask him could I talk to an adjustor.  He said no.
He said I could send in an email.  GCCF is so incompetent compared to BP that it is ridiculous.
I live 400 miles from the closest claims office, but
it’s damn obvious that’s the only way I can straighten this mess out.  This is worse than pitiful.


don’t waste your time driving the 400 miles to the claims office, those people sitting in those offices are worthless…in the fact they can’t help. I have visited ours here, and it’s the same adjusters used by BP, but now they’re just claim reps and all they can do is help you fill out an application and get your status update. They can not find any specifics about your claim…..just like the rest of us.
A friend of mine somehow called the Garden City Group, as they are the ppl processing the claims…and my friend was able to get his claim paid. I’ve tried calling the same number he did, and I’ve been told that I have the right company but no one there can give me someone to talk to.
It’s all about who you know i guess.

If I have to document my problems with GCCF with
Sen. Shelby and Sessions, you can bet they will hear from me.  I will be damned if I’m going to allow
GCCF to BS me out of several thousand dollars.


Terri Kleinsmith

Sep. 14, 2010, 7:41 p.m.

I understand your frustration SharyJean, I lost my job, too. A former co-worker of mine who was not laid off and continues to draw a salary but is not making any commission filed AFTER me and got a check for $100 more than she asked for last week. So it’s a bunch of crap that they are working on the claims in the order they receive them. I’m happy for my friend but I have had $0 income since July and they paid her first and I filed before her???? We have no idea who is making these decisions and how they come to the conclusions that they make.If you get shorted like Steve Web and so many others have been, you have no recourse but to get an attorney and hope you live long enough to get a settlement. At least with BP, we had an adjuster to talk to about our claim. The people who answer the phone know nothing. My friend was out of town when Fed Ex delivered her check but she continued to call GCCF every day checking on the status of her claim. The people on the phone did not even know her claim had already been paid. They kept telling her the claim was “under review” when the check was in her mailbox. What a mess Feinberg has created. He says something like"I’m sorry that my best is not good enough” If this is his best, he is truly pathetic. He does not give a rat’s ass about the hardship he has created. HIRE MORE ADJUSTERS ASSHOLE and give us acess to them!!

Randy Mehoves

Sep. 24, 2010, 4:11 p.m.

I filed a claim against BP 2 months ago when I lost my job, I then refiled with GCCF a month ago. I have heard absolutely nothing about my claim while people who filed last week are already getting checks! When I call they can tell me no more than what I can get on the website. I went into the local GCCF claims office and there were 25-30 adjusters, 1 was sleeping while about half were either watching big screen TV’s or playing games on a computer! The adjuster I talked to said he couldn’t tell me anymore than I could find out from the GCCF website, they are not allowed to adjust anymore and all they can really do is help someone file an initial claim! So meanwhile thousands of claims go unanswered while these “adjusters” draw a nice check and sleep or play games because their hand are tied!

I can only find out that my claim is not “red flagged” for a lack of documentation but nothing more. Meanwhile people who have just filed are getting paid for loss of wages (which are not guarantied) while I lost my job and can’t get an answer. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what GCCF is doing!

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