Riley, Feinberg outline plans for faster claims

Kenneth Feinberg, left, and Ala. Gov. Bob Riley shake hands after a news conference Tuesday in Mobile (source WBRC video)
Kenneth Feinberg, left, and Ala. Gov. Bob Riley shake hands after a news conference Tuesday in Mobile (source WBRC video)

MOBILE, AL (WBRC) - Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Kenneth Feinberg, the man appointed by President Obama to serve as the Administrator for the Independent Claims Facility for the $20 billion BP escrow fund, said Tuesday they will work quickly to expedite claims associated with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Riley and Feinberg talked to reporters in Mobile Tuesday afternoon after discussing the claims process. Riley said he stressed to Feinberg the importance of getting more people to file more claims and get money paid out faster.

"What will make a difference now is having a third party in the claims process," Riley said. "Ken understands how vital this is."

Feinberg said Gov. Riley did a great job of explaining to him the unique problems and solutions people in Alabama face.

"Gov. Riley gave me some valuable advice," Feinberg said. "I learned more than I thought possible."

Last week, President Obama put Feinberg in charge of a new, independent $20 billion escrow fund supplemented by BP.  Money from that fund will be used to pay people along the Gulf Coast who have suffered financially as a result of the oil spill.

Riley said Tuesday nearly 20,000 claims had been filed from people in Alabama.  He said that was up from nearly 7,000 claims filed just two weeks ago thanks to door-to-door efforts on the coast to help people file claims.

Feinberg said Tuesday he has three goals with the fund: accelerate claims, streamline the claims process, and involve everyone on the state and local level in the process.

"The governor is here to help, and I appreciate that," Feinberg said.

Feinberg said several town hall meetings will be held in the near future to encourage more people to file claims.

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