Payments to residents and businesses of the Gulf Coast reached $201 million today as BP continued to increase its outreach to thousands of people who have filed claims related to the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas spill.
More than 32,000 claimants have received one or more payments in the past 10 weeks. The largest groups include fishermen, who have received $32 million, and shrimpers, who have received $18 million. In addition, about $77 million has been paid for loss of income to a variety of occupations including deckhands and employees of seafood processing plants and other businesses.
In all, 114,000 claims have been submitted, but more than 61,000 claims lack enough information for BP to make a payment, or claimants have been unreachable after filing.
This week BP also began sending letters to the 48,000 people and businesses that have filed a claim but have yet to provide documentation to support it. In addition, the 13,000 claimants who have been unreachable by phone will be sent a letter asking them to contact BP so that the claim process can move forward.
BP also determined that 4,000 claims are duplicates, erroneous or have been withdrawn. Currently, 17,000 claims are in process being evaluated for payment.
“We strongly encourage those who have not yet sent in their supporting documents to do so,” said Darryl Willis, of the BP claims team. “BP is committed to paying all legitimate claims. As soon as we have the information, we will process them.”
Willis said BP is sending the letters in batches of 5,000 per day and will focus on the oldest claims first. The letters are in addition to contacts or attempted contacts already made by claims adjusters. “We encourage people to reach out to us if they believe we have not contacted them in a reasonable amount of time.”
BP has received 22,000 claims in the last two weeks and has added an additional 200 people to its 1500-member claims team during that same period. BP has 36 claims offices open across the Gulf Coast.
Individuals or businesses with questions about their claim should call their claims adjuster or the toll-free number 1-800-573-8249. Additional information about documentation needed to support a claim is available at http://www.bp.com/claims.