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Florida BP Claim Payment Statistics


36,890 Southwest Florida, West Central Florida and Panhandle 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 Gulf coast businesses in Florida that experienced an economic loss as a result of the spill are encouraged to undergo an eligibility evaluation as soon as possible.

Of the 36,890 Florida claims currently filed, 4,044 have been paid to-date for a total of $586,670,000 resulting in an average claim value of $126,000. Assuming all 36,890 claims are paid, and no additional claims are filed, Florida businesses will receive $4.6 billion over the next two years.

Florida BP Claim Payment Statistics

Click for higher resolution. 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 618,000 business and non-profit entities along the Gulf coast of Florida. Through our experience in evaluating eligibility for over 2,000 companies and non-profits, we estimate that one-fourth to one-third of all Florida Gulf coast 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 154,500 Florida entities should file claims, yet to-date only 36,890 have done so, or less than 25%.

Were all eligible area businesses to file claims, based on the average claim value for the state of $126,000, we would expect an infusion of $19.5 billion into the State of Florida over the next two years. As such, this is an economic development matter of great 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, spend a few days at Disney World, then head over to our Gulf beaches for a seven day 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 beaches remain 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.

That said, determining loss as a result of the spill is not as easy as you may think and it is not a job for the layperson. Don’t just assume you were not affected because you don’t run the local waterfront motel. In fact, some of the areas hardest hit by the economic fallout suffered little if any physical oiling.

For these reasons, I strongly encourage our local, regional and state leaders to educate themselves so that they can inform their constituents the truth about the BP Settlement and what it means for our area.

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