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BP Oil Spill Claim Payment Statistics for Okaloosa County, Florida

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1,993 Okaloosa County businesses and individuals have filed economic loss claims with the BP Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP). The CSSP began receiving claims on June 4, 2012 and will likely continue at least into the Spring of 2015. As of the date of publishing listed above, the precise claim filing deadline has yet to be set. For this reason, all businesses in Okaloosa County that experienced an economic loss as a result of the spill are encouraged to undergo an eligibility evaluation as soon as possible.

Of the 1,993 Okaloosa County claims currently filed, 336 have been paid to-date for a total of $38,000,000, resulting in an average claim value of $113,000. Assuming all 1,993 claims are paid, and no additional claims are filed, Okaloosa businesses will receive $225,000,000 over the next two years.

Okaloosa County BP Claim Payment Statistics

Okaloosa County BP Claim Payment Statistics. Official BP Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program data. Map courtesy of The Sarasota-Herald Tribune.

According to the latest U.S. Census figures, there are approximately 18,000 business and non-profit entities in Okaloosa County. Through our experience in evaluating eligibility for over 2,000 companies and non-profits, we estimate that one-fourth to one-third of all Okaloosa County businesses suffered a measurable economic loss as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and are eligible for compensation under this program. Conservatively, that suggests that approximately 4,500 Okaloosa entities should file claims, yet to-date only 1,993 have done so, or less than 50%.

Were all eligible Okaloosa County businesses to file claims, based on the average claim value for the county, we would expect an infusion of $509,000,000 into the county over the next two years. As such, this is an economic development matter of great local and regional importance. Our elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, trade groups, professional associations and economic development organizations should actively encourage eligible claimants to participate.

This should come as no surprise to students of the tourism-centric Florida economy. As a hypothetical, imagine the European visitor on vacation. This person may typically fly into Orlando and spend a few days at Disney World before driving north on the Turnpike to I-10 for a seven day Panhandle beach vacation. In the Summer of 2010, she instead flew to Anaheim, California where she spent three days at Disneyland before taking the 405 to Newport Beach. Worse, rather than returning in 2011, this tourist now chooses California for her holiday, fearing the Florida coast remains oiled.

When considering these dynamics, all businesses in eligible BP compensation zones (yellow, purple, red and gray areas) have a duty to determine their eligibility. They owe it to their shareholders, employees and community. BP, seeking to avoid punitive damages, agreed, and is contractually obligated to pay, all businesses that experienced a loss “relating in any way to, directly or indirectly, the Deepwater Horizon Incident.” See Settlement Agreement, Section 38.57.

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