(At the BP claims center in Gretna, Louisiana, July 17. Photo: BP)
The first report came in today from Pro Publica's investigation into the way BP is paying (and not paying) damage claims from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP set $20 billion aside for people whose livelihoods have disappeared as a result of its nightmare well.
Unless your livelihood depended on commission. Duane Sandy sells storage units in Fort Walton Beach. Since the Deepwater Horizon began leaking, Sandy says he hasn't closed the deal on a single one. First BP told him he hadn't documented the claim well enough. And then?
Sandy said that when he called BP's adjuster, he heard a different story -- that BP would not pay his claim because it was not approving payments for income loss based on commissions. "Once they heard I got paid by commission, they didn't care what I did," Sandy said.
Hours after Pro Publica posted the story, BP put out a press release acknowledging that it's not paying certain claims. In classic BP-ese, the press release is titled "BP Takes Action to Fast-Track Claims for Gulf Coast Businesses." Apparently they're waiting for claims czar Ken Feinberg to sort out the ones BP doesn't understand.