August 31st, 2010
06:05 PM ET

New gulf compensation chief lags in processing claims

Sasha Chavkin

Just over a week ago, when Kenneth Feinberg took over the process for handling damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, he promised to cut through the delays and confusion that applicants faced under the much-maligned BP system.

But signs are emerging that Feinberg’s goals – particularly his pledge to respond to personal claims for emergency payments within 48 hours – may be overly ambitious. Applicants participating in our BP Claims Project say that they have not received responses within two days of filing claims and that they have encountered an array of service problems, from a system crash to difficulty in transferring critical paperwork.

Amy Weiss, Feinberg’s spokeswoman, acknowledged on Sunday that the facility was experiencing delays. “In the first few weeks...we may be short of our 48-hour goal,” Weiss said in an e-mail.

Weiss said many of the claims could not be processed because they lacked sufficient documentation, and that the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility has approved about $6 million in payments to just under 1,200 individuals. Statistics from the GCCF indicate that only about 6 percent of total claims – for both individuals and businesses – had been paid as of Monday.

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Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
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