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In her last meeting of the Florida Cabinet, state Chief Financial Officer and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink took BP claims administrator Ken Feinberg to task for failing to live up to his promise to swiftly respond to oil spill claims from Floridians and Florida business owners.
Sink, who has been critical of BP and the handling of the claims process, said Floridians are having their claims denied without being given a reason, that people in similar situations are having their claims processed differently, and that Feinberg has been "incredibly unresponsive to Floridians and to Florida business owners.
"It just reveals that this process continues to be inefficient," Sink said near the end of a five-hour Cabinet meeting on Dec. 7, 2010. "One hundred, fifty thousand claims have been filed by Floridians, but only 40 percent of them have been paid, a third of them have been denied ... and then we have 20 percent that are still in limbo land."
Now, more than seven months after the initial Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, we wanted to see if Sink is describing the speed of the claims process correctly.
To recap, President Barack Obama selected Feinberg to manage the disbursement of $20 billion provided by BP to compensate spill victims through something called the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Feinberg has been criticized by politicians at the state and national level for months for what some politicians have called a much too slow response.
Sink spokesman Kevin Cate pointed us to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility's own analysis as evidence of the slow claims process.
Cate used the latest statistics available for Dec. 7.
|Paid or approved for payment||65,676||42.8|
|Under review or needing more documentation||27,885||18.2|
We should note that as of Dec. 7, Feinberg has awarded more than $900 million to Floridians and Florida business owners. Almost all of the money paid out is compensation for lost earnings or profits. You can read the latest report for yourself here.
In lashing out against BP claims administrator Feinberg, Sink noted that of all claims made in Florida following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, only 40 percent had been paid. She's just about right on. So far, about 43 percent of claims submitted by Floridians or Florida business owners have been paid, another 39 percent have been denied and a little more than 18 percent are still under some type of review. We rate Sink's claim True.
Palm Beach Post, "Sink takes swipe at BP claims czar in last Cabinet meeting for her, Crist, Bronson, McCollum," Dec. 7, 2010
Florida Cabinet, audio recording of Dec. 7, 2010 meeting
E-mail interview with Sink spokesman Kevin Cate, Dec. 8, 2010
Gulf Coast Claims Facility
Gulf Coast Claims Facility, report on Florida claims, Dec. 7, 2010
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