Misadventures with BP: Claims

My husband works in an industry that has been directly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the slow environmental homicide that has been taking place now for nearly ninety days. We are fortunate that my husband is still able to work, but as June came we saw business trail off. So far in July, business has trailed off more. My husband is searching for a new job, afraid each night when he goes into work it is going to be the night that he is told his hours have been drastically cut or for him to take a couple of days off. 

It is an uncomfortable situation that causes high anxiety and many sleepless nights.

Last month we filed our claim with BP and were approved for $1000. While I am thankful for the $1000.00, it did not cover our loss and some creative financing on my part was required of me.

When we took in a letter from my husband’s employer, our 2009 tax return and my husband’s check stubs, we were told that each month our claim would “renew” automatically and from thirty days from our last payment we should receive the next payment. At the BP Claim center, a check was written and we were on our way home.

And then I read a press release that stated that there would now be a formula taking into account actual loss compared to estimated loss, that claims were going to be looked upon more closely and an advance would not simply be given as was previous done and that starting in August, this new process would come into play. This confused me, as it completely contradicted the information that we have been given by the auditor at the time of our claim filing.

I called the 800 number provided by BP for any questions regarding already filed claims and I spoke with one BP phone agent that told me that what we received was a one-time  payment and we would not receive another.

Ok, great. That’s fine. I am thankful that we received what we did when we did, because it really helped us adjust to the rather large dip in our income.

Then I read another press release from BP, which prompting me to call the 800 number again, this time reaching a young man that seemed to actually know what he was talking about. I was on hold for thirty minutes before I finally was connected to a human voice, but when I did the guy was nice and didn’t get annoyed when I asked a thousand questions, asking for clarification on clauses and statements that appear in the BP claims process handbook and made sure I was getting the correct information.

I was informed that we would get the checks automatically sometime between thirty and forty days and that no more paper work would be required of me and I wouldn’t have to go to a claims office again to re-file.

Great. That really cleared things up for me and sounded more on point with what the most recent press release had stated.

An 800 number was left on our voicemail by BP and we called back. This time, it was our auditor, a man in the local office who was met with when the claim was initially filed.

He told us that we had to bring in documentation (pay stubs for us) every month at the end of the month, because there is no way that BP could give us an advance payment, but would have to pay us our loss after the fact. Ok, I think I get that, especially if they are trying to streamline the claims process, which is the impression that I am getting from all that I have read and the individuals I have spoken to.  BUT we were told that now we need to meet with him every month and essentially file our claim on a claim that was already open. My husband informed him that he would not be receiving any more paychecks for July, so perhaps my husband could just bring them in.

It wouldn’t matter; it won’t be looked at until August, even though they are trying to process these during the current month.

Tails are still heads to me and heads are still tales.

I would like to say that all of the individuals we have dealt with, with one exception, have been extremely kind. This does illustrate, however, the disjointed communication of policy going throughout the company from the national office for claims to the local offices to what BP is releasing to the press.

Despite promises by BP to the press to release claim money thirty days after June payments, we are now finding out that a continue stream of documentation is going to be required, given that the information that we received today (since all three people have told us very different things) and this automatic program that BP had spoken about really isn’t an automatic program at all. It has been released in the press recently that most claims are rejected because of lack of documentation. BP doesn’t make filing for the claims any easier when apparently they are changing policy every day. Instead of taking their disorganization into account for many people really struggling financially, a big, fat NO is given instead.

BP needs to get on the same page and stop jumping around like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.

For some people, their claim check is all they have.


One thought on “Misadventures with BP: Claims

  1. Amanda,
    Having gone through the same claims process and misinformation, I can totally relate to what you’re saying. However, your tone is much kinder and gentler than mine has been. There comes a point when desperate people are hanging on to that last knot in the rope . . . patience worn thin. It distressed me this week to hear that if your most recent claim has not been processed with the “old administration” of the BP compensation funds, then you must REAPPLY with Feinberg’s administration. The thought of doing that sends me into a tail spin. I hope you got your monthly checks and that work for your husband will become steady again. Thanks for sharing.
    PS I commented on another of your posts 86 Days and Counting, and Charlotte was kind enough to reply.

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