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Landrieu: Feinberg Will Improve BP Claims Process

In an interview with TWI yesterday at the Capitol, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said she is confident that Kenneth Feinberg, who has been charged by the White House with overseeing claims from the BP oil spill, will make the process more efficient in the coming weeks.

Landrieu said it will take a couple more weeks for Feinberg, who is overseeing BP’s $20 billion escrow fund to compensate victims of the spill, to “get control of the BP claims process.” But she said, “He’s taking it over as is, all of their offices, all of their personnel and then wrapping it up into his own system.”

“Feinberg I think has a very positive attitude, he’s got a great outreach program under way,” Landrieu added. “He’s traveling the Gulf Coast with a variety of different elected officials and leaders from senators to governors to community leaders. That’s very positive. He’s very open about the fact that his process will be quicker and more efficient than battling it out in the court rooms, and we’re hoping that $20 billion will start to flow immediately.”

According to BP’s website, the company has paid out a total of $183 million to victims of the spill. Of the 110,000 claims that have been made, 42,000 have not yet provided the necessary documentation to substantiate the claim. In addition, 13,700 claims have “contact difficulties” and therefore have not been approved.

Landrieu downplayed the numbers, saying that claims must be substantiated before money can be paid out. “Unless you have proper identification, proper contact information, you can’t expect a claim to be paid. And you’ve got to have some documentation that you’ve had a loss of income. Feinberg has been charged with being generous, but he’s not able to give out money that’s not due,” she said.

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