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Other Views from Those in the Know
Geir Robinson
VP, Claims, Gulf Coast Restoration Organization
Response to Rick Outzen’s BP Settles? Pardon My Laughter post

Rick Outzen’s vague and non-specific complaints about the BP claims process (“BP settles? Pardon my laughter,” March 19) are misinformed and misleading. So let me lay out the facts.

BP has spent a total of more than $22 billion towards meeting its commitments in the Gulf, including paying out over $6.5 billion in claims to individuals and businesses, another $1.4 billion in claims and advances to government entities, and approximately $14 billion to cover operational response efforts.

In early March, BP agreed to a proposed legal settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, which we estimate will cost $7.8 billion and should resolve a large number of the outstanding economic loss and medical claims stemming from the Gulf accident.

In his first report last Friday, the new court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau indicated that from March 8 to March 21, the transition claims-processing team has paid 1,096 claimants a total of nearly $27 million.

In short, the claims process is moving forward. To accuse BP of foot-dragging, or deliberately under-resourcing the claims process, as Mr. Outzen does without evidence, is a disservice to the many people who have worked tirelessly to help the Gulf Coast region recover.

Indeed, on its own terms, Mr. Outzen’s claim that our proposed settlement is evidence of foot-dragging defies logic. The purpose of a court-supervised settlement is to speed the resolution of claims, not delay them.

He also continues to add to the myth that the $20 billion fund is to be used for claims only. That is not the case. We have always made clear that the $20 billion Trust from which the settlement is expected to be paid is intended to cover more than the payment of claims.

From the beginning, we have said that we are prepared to be judged by our actions, but that requires sticking to the facts. BP’s efforts to restore this unique region have been both significant and unprecedented.  No process this broad or complex is perfect, but we are determined to regain the public’s trust by living up to our commitments.

Geir Robinson is vice president of claims for the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization.

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by Dr. Radut.