BATON ROUGE, La.–(ENEWSPF)–June 4, 2010. National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. He discussed the administration’s aggressive oversight of the BP claims process from start to finish that will ensure that every legitimate claim is honored and paid in an efficient manner, and its strong commitment to providing residents with full, streamlined access to available assistance programs.
“BP, as a responsible party, is accountable for making the communities, individuals and business impacted by this spill whole again,” said Admiral Allen. “The federal government continues to provide oversight of this process to ensure BP is expeditiously reimbursing claims to address immediate cash flow needs and long term recovery and quickly resolving any issues that arise.”
Admiral Allen was joined at today’s briefing by Tracy Wareing, Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whom he has directed to lead the federal government’s oversight of BP’s claims process. In addition, www.disasterassistance.gov has been enhanced to provide a one-stop shop for information on how to file a claim with BP and access additional assistance—available in English and Spanish.
The administration will continue to hold BP responsible for all removal costs and damages associated with the BP oil spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil and protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, to the maximum extent possible under the law. The federal government is closely monitoring the BP claims process from outreach to language accessibility to intake to adjustment to payment.
To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call toll free number 1-800-440-0858—open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. BP reports that 34,656 claims have been opened, from which more than $45.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date, and there are more than 516 claims adjusters on the ground.
Any claim that is denied by BP or not settled within 90 days of submission to BP may be presented to the Coast Guard for relief from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund through the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC). The NPFC claims support number is 1-800-280-7118.
Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and other applicable laws, BP is accountable for processing and paying all removal costs and applicable damages incurred by individuals, business, and state and local governments as a result of the BP oil spill. Individuals may file a claim online or over the phone with BP, and may then be asked to visit a claims office location to provide documentation.
At the request of the federal government, BP is providing daily reports tracking claims to ensure the federal government has full visibility throughout the entire process.
In addition, the National Incident Command has established the Deepwater Integrated Services Team—led by Ms. Wareing—to coordinate interagency support services for individuals and small businesses impacted by the BP oil spill—designed to provide residents with full, streamlined access to all available assistance programs. This includes direct interaction with individuals affected by the spill, facilitation of SBA economic injury assistance loans, and leveraging of existing non-federal services and providers in the Gulf region.
This week, the Integrated Services Team conducted site visits in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to gather information about challenges faced by individuals, families and small businesses that have been impacted by the spill.
Within the Integrated Services Team, field-based interagency teams are being established for each state to identify gaps in the claims process for resolution by BP. These teams are led by a single Federal Resource Coordinator and a state point of contact identified by Gulf Coast Governors. These teams will also work with the designated parish liaisons to route claims and benefit coordination issues.
Ms. Wareing has served as Secretary Napolitano’s top advisor for Gulf Coast recovery since early 2009, and over the past year she’s overseen Gulf Coast claims for DHS, streamlining the claims process and expediting millions of dollars in payments to individuals, businesses and local communities in the Gulf Coast.
Ms. Wareing previously served as Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security—the largest state agency that handled all social services and workforce programs, many of the same types of programs and services available to support families in addition to the BP claims process.
Prior to her post at the Department of Economic Security, Ms. Wareing was an Assistant Attorney General in Arizona.
For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.