Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NPFC also accepts oil spill claims, but for lump sum payments

Drive hard bargain on insurance
Vacation rental owners facing delays or denials in response to claims for lost income due to the Gulf oil disaster, have another, sort of "court of appeals" -- short of legal action -- to keep their claim alive.

by Broderick Perkins
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Deadline Newsroom - Vacation rental owners facing delays or denials in response to claims for lost income due to the Gulf oil disaster, have another, sort of "court of appeals" -- short of legal action -- to keep their claim alive.

If BP or the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) has denied your claim or, after 90 days, has not settled your claim, you can present it to the National Pollution Fund Center (NPFC) -- also at 1-800-280-7118 -- for additional review.

However, instead of monthly payments received by many vacation rental owners filing claims with BP or the GCCF, a claim filed with the NPFC is a "sum certain" claim, a single, specific dollar amount for all losses over an extended period of losses.

Claims process to date

After the April 20, 2010 explosion and fire that ruptured an oil well, killed 11 workers, sank the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and became the nation's greatest environmental disaster ever, the federal government opened RestoreTheGulf.com (formerly DeepwaterHorizonResponse), in part, to provide a claims center to compensate victims and families for loss of life, personal injury, economic losses and property damage.

Soon after, the Obama Administration appointed Washington, D.C. attorney Kenneth Feinberg under a trust agreement to administer disbursements from the $20 billion BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund's GCCF (also available at 1-800-916-4893).

Before Feinberg opened the claims facility, BP handled claims through ESIS, a claims management and processing firm following claims provisions set forth by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), an outgrowth of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The NPFC claims process

An outgrowth of the OPA, the NPFC can also tap trust funds to compensate victims who qualify for the service.

In addition to meeting the 90-day claim delay or claim denial requirements, victims must provide much of the same proof provided to BP's and or GCCF's claims adjusters, including:

• Documentation that the claim was first presented to the responsible party -- in this case, BP.

• Proof that any loss was caused by an oil spill that falls under OPA regulation. The Gulf oil spill does fall under OPA regulation.

• Documentation that shows how your income was reduced and by how much, due to the spill.

• Documentation of profits and earnings over similar time periods.

NPFC says supporting documentation includes: tax returns; income statements; balance sheets and cash flow statements, all for the year of the loss and the previous three years.

Other documentation includes receipts or other proof of revenue combined with proof of expenses; reports from federal and local responders; information on U.S. Coast Guard or EPA notification; newspaper reports describing the spill; any other documentation supporting your claim.

You have three years from the date of the damage to file an NPFC claim.

See the National Pollution Funds Center for more information.

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group, including DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site, and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop.

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Perkins is managing editor of HomeAway.com's Gulf Coast Response Center.

Perkins was the first Examiner to cover three beats for the Examiner.com news service:
National Real Estate Examiner
National Consumer News Examiner
National Offbeat News Examiner

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