Hey, how’s it going?
Weather’s pretty warm for a January, huh? Yeah, I was able to leave all the really cold weather clothes back at the hotel and…okay, first, allow me to introduce myself. Well, kind of introduce myself…
I work for a rather unpopular agency down in the Gulf Coast. Let’s call it an insurance company and yeah, turns out we’re about as good at our jobs, and as responsible as most insurance companies you’ve probably already dealt with…if you don’t know what I mean, just wait until something you love is destroyed, something you’ve insured, and give us a call. You’ll then quickly understand my point.
Our response to your insured loss will sound something like this:
“I try to explain to people that if we’ve made a mistake, we’ll review it as part of the process, we’ll fix it, and we’ll do our best to try and make people less frustrated with the status of their claim,” Feinberg said, “I can’t do more than that.”
And that gets me to my main point…you know those meetings, the ones that Ken Feinberg has been hosting all around the Gulf Coast the past couple of weeks? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those meetings were never about you. I mean, in some ways, yes, you were invited. You were given the chance to ask questions, for an hour anyways and you got an answer to your question…
Yeah, an answer like this:
“I’ve given hundreds of millions of dollars to the seafood industry. I may have made some mistakes, but I’m trying to get as much money to people who work in the seafood industry as possible.”
But when Feinberg said that, it wasn’t really your question he was answering.
He was answering the questions asked by the press.
He was answering the questions asked by the Court of Public Opinion.
And when I say public opinion, I mean the public opinion of every state in the union except Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. He already knows he’s lost you guys, that you’re turning on him, that you really don’t buy the things he says anymore, so he’s working the other 46 states hard. It’s simple math, really. Forty-six versus four.
Here’s another example of something he said at one of those meetings: “In five months we’ve paid out more than $3 billion. A good majority of the claimants have been treated fairly.”
See how that works?
He makes angry claimants look like whiners, even while he admits a mistake. He ain’t a high earning lawyer for nothing. To most people, three billion dollars is an amount of money they can’t really comprehend on any sort of realistic level, except to understand it’s a lot of money, far more than anything they’ll ever see. He then says this kind of money was paid out, by him and given to the “good majority” of people, who were “treated fairly.” Well, “good majority” sounds pretty good, sure, but when you look a bit closer a majority is only 51%. So what’s a “good” majority? Maybe 70%. Hell, let’s give him 75%. Okay, now consider that there were well over 400,000 claimants. So he basically says that in five months he and the GCCF treated 300,000 people “fairly,” but they really fucked over the other 100,000 people.
Let’s say you work on an assembly line at a Ford plant, and you do a good job on three of every four cars, and in a day you work on 40 cars. This means that you didn’t really bother with ten cars per day, forgetting the steering wheel, the ball joint, a series of screws that keeps the oil from flooding the engine.
Think you’d keep your job?
Me neither, but Feinberg not only thinks he should keep his job, he thinks people should cut him some slack, and praise him for the hard job he is undertaking.
Yeah, now you’re getting it.
He’s like that shitty insurance guy all over again, the one that says your house was damaged by flooding, not wind, despite the fact the wind pushed the water that broke the levees that flooded your home.
Now, I don’t blame you for thinking those meetings were for you, I mean, that’s what he said…but really, he didn’t come down there for input from you so he could change the system to work better, for you. He came down there to answer questions about your three options, to answer questions about time lines, to promise all of you that soon, any day now, really this time, he’s gonna be more transparent in the claims process. He came down there to take your abuse, to have the press watch the scene and see how 150, or 300, or 1000 people in a gymnasium were going to treat him shitty, gang up on him, so he then could do a press interview, shrug and say he’s doing the best he can.
Not a bad strategy, like I said, there’s a reason he makes the big bucks.
But how about this, the next time Feinberg holds a meeting, everybody in your community gets together and nominates one person.
And while you have all thousand people showing up outside the gymnasium to stand silent or calmly protest, only that “one person” actually goes inside for the meeting, and let his or her question take fifty minutes as he or she recites the complaints and problems of the entire community, one by one. That way, Feinberg doesn’t get to make you all look like the bully and then the press, know who they’re going to want to talk to when that meeting ends?
They’re going to want to talk to that one guy, and that one guy is going to be able to make Feinberg look like a completely out of touch asshole.
Will it change anything about the claims process?
Probably not, but it’ll sure make Feinberg look stupid, and at least that will be fun because if there’s a guy who needs to look stupid in front of the entire country, yeah, he’d be the one, he and the rest of his insurance ilk…it’s a thought. Anyways, I just felt I should send a letter, let you know what I think about these meetings and their true intent, kinda give you all a heads up, so to speak, not that many of you haven’t already figured this out. Let’s just say I was trying to help collect any of the stragglers…
Okay then, well, be well everybody, stay strong within your community, your family…look out for each other…
Do your best.
With respect and truth,
Your Anonymous Friend.
6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Gulf Coast Residents…”
I have to agree. I attended one of these conferences myself just to see what he had to say (lie). He fed a good story to the crowd. Answered the questions with what he thought they wanted to hear. I have never heard such BS in my life. “If you cant wait the 90 days for your claim to be approved, we will give you a supplymental check while you wait.” Mr. Feinberg, everyone who has filed a claim cannot are in desperate need of their funds, who can wait 90 days? Are you going to send a supplemental check to every claimaint? And if you can send a supplemental check right away, why not just send their entire claim amount? I mean, afterall, if you reviewed their claim enough to find that they do indeed need a supplemental, then why not the entire amount, right? Because their claim proved to be beneficial enough to get a partial payment. What are you going to do, continue to review the claim, then deny their remainder? Makes no sense. “The GCCF does not release your personal information or any information you provide with your claim to NO ONE! WE (the GCCF) keep your information confidential and will always keep it that way even when the claims process is over!” Now who buys that one? If that wer true, then why does it take them 90 days to approve your claim? Then why do they state in their disclosure that you have to sign otherwise? I know of someone’s claim that was being reviewed informations was released to someone outside of the GCCF to review, who claimed to be a CPA. When their licensure was looked up on the State website, this persons licensure did not exist. Explain that Mr. Feinberg. Also, another person at the conference stated he was a CPA for over 30 years who has prepared multiple claims for his clients, some of those being denied, and others paid. He also got a call from someone claiming to be a CPA reviewing one of his clients claims. After speaking to the person on the phone claiming to be a CPA, the real CPA stated he could tell within minutes this person was not a CPA and did not know what the hell he was talking about. In other words Mr. Feinberg, you have people who are reviewing peoples claims who do not have a clue as to what they are doing or looking at. And most those claims are denied because instead of asking questions to clarify any misunderstandings, they just extract them from their desk and let the poor soul start all over again.
I also noticed at the conference when people addressed you about their personal claim and needing help now, not 90 days from now, you told them to meet you after the conference and you would see to it they would get a check now to hold them over. However, when the conference was over you split!!!
And for my last point….. there were many who showed up on the behalf of others who filed a claim. These people were either their alternate contact person as listed on their claims, or their representatives. However, we found that your less than capable staff would not let these people ask questions and get answers for the people they were there to represent. Your staff told the people for security reasons, only the claimant could ask questions and get answers pertaining to their claim. But for however many days, months have passed, your GCCF staff has had no problem talking to these alternate contacts concerning every shred of information pertaining to these same claims. Your procedures for doing things with this claim process is like being stuck in a torndado. You never know from one second to the next what you are going to run into and what you will be hit with. You had no intentions of letting alternate contacts or other representatives get answers this day as opposed to the last eight months, you should have notified the public prior to your conference.
I think someone who is internet and website savy, needs to prepare a website that claimants can go to and post to traumatic experiences and complaints, then somehow forward all that information to BP, Obama, and each States governement offices- Gov.,AG,SA.
Thank you for a great rundown of the meeting…and as for that website…also, a good idea…perhaps you could be the one to do so? There are a lot of people up here who would be glad to help you set it up, myself included and it’s not that hard…until i started all this eight months ago, I’d never done it before either…
I worked on the beach at a hotel PT and was laid off due to the spill. This PT job helped me pay for medications and treatments due to a severe life limiting illness-we are not talking a trivial health issue here, but one which had me on hospice just a cple years ago. This condition requires expensive meds and treatment. After losng my job, I now cannot afford and have had to put off vital heart procedures because there is no money to make it happen. BP’s fault that I have health issues? of course not, but it is at least partialy thier fault I dont have the job that helped me survive this illness up to this point. I have put off a vital heart procedure twice now, and it appears I will have to put it of again because even after I scheduled it for 90 days later, my claim-and all the others-will not be processed in the promised 90 days. The 90 day line, is utter BS people, dont beleive it. I talked to a rep 3 times now at the claims office who finally admitted that the 90 days wasnt “written in stone”, and he wasnt sure when that 90 days would start-from when it was received, when they started working on it, or maybe when hell freezes over, he didnt know. And even if it is reveiwed, it will likely be whittled down to nothing or denied outright as Im hearing many have been with emergency payments, and even more will be with finals. “Escalation” is a fantasy that now GCCF finally admits today doesnt exist. Youll wait your turn, no matter if your dying or just are under a “hardship” for that new car down payment. All the sudden, GCCF is concerned with “fairness” in the process..LMAO> I suppose it wasnt a issue when some people lost thier jobs entirely, and were denied, while others received 20K and remained at work with little or no loss. Yes, we are supposed to be so stupid as to beleive fairness is on Feinberg’s mind in this matter. Hes basically put in print that he doesnt give a damn about what your situation is, all claims are equally fraudulent as far as hes concerned…I mean really, It is in the interest of fairness that a person about to lose thier home , health, or in this case possibly even thier life,is of no more concern than a person who still has a job but is just “under hardship” with his car payment?? Dont take my word for, read the latest post on the GCCF website-no more escalation, Feinberg has found “fairness.”
I understand that money just cant be handed out to everyone that requests it, and that some claims are fraudulent. But lumping them all together as fraudulent is unethical and a fine example of how someone should have paid better attention in logic class in law school. THey act as if your being unreasonable for needing timely help…I mean who has 90 days worth of “spare money ” laying around in a economy where people survive check to check, even without chronic medical needs like mine? What average person can go 90 days without a income? Feinberg says youll have to and be damned your problems, all you people out there not getting your meds, losing your homes and businesses…your just being unfair trying to get your claims settled as quick as possible as Feinberg is concerned. Wow, Feinberg and the GCCF calling someone unfair. Hed maken a fine politician, seems hes mastered the arts of hypocrisy, lying, and spin. Watch out, hell be in Congress one day.
thanks man for speaking out, i hope more will do the same. i really want someone who was part of the clean up process who saw and sneaked some pictures of the reported death gyros in the gulf to do so. cause i just cant belive the offical numbers of deada nimals is correct.
Agreed; BP and government still actively trying to keep press away from Gulf and shorelines…working on that for maybe tomorrow…