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Last Post 08/24/2011 5:35 PM by  CatAdjusterX
Class of BP Oil Spill Claims Adjusters Wants Back Wages and Overtime Pay
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02/12/2011 12:27 PM

Quote below from a related article in the The Times-Picayune.

Three class-action lawsuits have been filed against the Hammond company that processed and evaluated oil spill damage claims for BP and still does so for Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

...a second case on behalf of the current and former Worley adjusters, claiming the company failed to live up to a contractual obligation to pay its adjusters a 65-percent commission on what Worley billed BP contractor ESIS. The state lawsuit filed by five other former Worley adjusters makes the same allegation, contending that ESIS paid Worley $1,200 a day for each adjuster. A 65-percent commission would have yielded the adjusters at least $812 a day, but Worley paid them no more than $550 a day, the suits contend.

Worley said it is committed to treating its employees fairly and within the law.

Click here to read the article.

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ALANJ
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02/13/2011 9:04 AM
Dimechimes:

I followed the link to your blog. It appearded to me your saying the people working the oil claims were (IA's) and not employees. If thats the case why did all the hard working people have taxes etc.. taken out of their checks. They were told what to do, when to do it and under direct supervision. All in a building being provided by the employer using the employers equipment. You can't have your cake and eat it too. What is so sad is all this could have been avoided. The company in question is owned and run by very smart people. I just keep asking myself, who droped the ball?
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followapc
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02/13/2011 11:25 AM
If you do the math according to the two lawsuits this person expceted to be paid 1365 a day at the least. If you take their figure of BP paying Worley 1200 a day for adjusters, 65% would be 780. Thats almost 100 an hour for eight hours. If you add in what he expected in overtime that would be 150 an hour for the last four hours of his day. That is just insane. And if people in the gulf who were truly affected by this event hear that people working claims were being paid 1365 a day while they were getting nothing there are going to be riots, just saying.
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windycitysuccess
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02/13/2011 6:42 PM

I'm not a legal expert, but I think what you might be missing is the distinction between being an independent contractor and an employee.  There probably wouldn't be anything wrong with this arrangement, if the workers were independent contractors. However, they were employees, and my understanding is that are two classes of employees:  those that are salaried and those that work on an hourly rate.  If the adjusters weren't salaried, they are hourly workers, and, therefore, entitled to OT.

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ALANJ
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02/14/2011 5:05 AM
There are several suits. One was just we didn't get our 65% of the 1200 as provided by contract. A simple class based on a breach of contract claim. The other was a wage and hour class brought underal federal law. The links to these are posted above. We have to keep our apples and oranges straight.
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followapc
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02/14/2011 12:50 PM
My apples and oranges are straight. But if in one lawsuit they say they should have been paid 780 a day and the other lawsuit saying they did not get overtime pay, that means they thought 780 should have been for eight hours. Or as I said before 780 at eight hours is 100 an hour. 780 at twelve hours is 65 an hour. At the very least they are expecting another 200 per day. I do understand that the two suits are seperate, but using the logic of the adjusters filing the suit there is no other way to look at it.
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Dimechimes
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02/14/2011 7:26 PM
Alan, I hear you and agree. Independents know how to handle claims which from all I've heard they were not able to even do on these assignments as they didn't even have full access to the claimant's records. I'm also curious if the fact Feinburg changed their title to "evaluators" from "adjusters" who have anything to do with the determination on status on this. As posted links to prior blogs, the class actions on "adjuster" overtime have gone both ways depending on the state but if Feinburg changed their title - would those prior cases even have any effect on the decision on this case? These days it doesn't seem independents are ever truly treated as such with all of the strict guidelines especially in the case of carriers like Citizens of FL actually going as far as pre-approving them for assignment by making them submit all personnel records, resumes and such. This will be an interesting two cases to watch develop. I've now seen the claim forms and am trying to get a blank set of the 4 documents the 3 groups of lawyers are having the adjusters sign and will upload them on the blog as soon as I have them. The set I have now have the individual adjuster's name. Basically two of the forms are one for each suit allowing the 3 firms to handle the cases on a contingency basis, a 3rd says it is required by the courts to explain about class actions, and I can't recall what the fourth was at this minute.
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ALANJ
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02/17/2011 4:02 PM
It gets worse. Even those who are still working this event have no clue where they stand in this legal process. If I can get time, I will read the complaints and post later.
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Rlynch
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02/19/2011 6:14 PM
The rate was $350 plus hotel.. If your room rate was $89.00 + Tax= $98.00 you only got $98.00 for your hotel/room.. Only about 150 adjusters got $450.00 + hotel..
What I am told is that Worley made an agreement for $1250-$1300.00 per day for each adjuster. The adjuster would receive 65% of that total, about $850.00 per day. Now most of the adjusters only made $350.00 + hotel per day.. Lets just round it up to $450.00. Now if Worley made the deal and kept the other half of the money, wouldn't that be fraud?
Please keep in mind that no one has seen the agreement made by Worley with the government.
Now for the overtime, I bet that not one of you knew that Worley was taking out Taxes on the Day Rate. Does that make them employees? I am not sure, you tell me.
It sure is going to be interesting to see the outcome on this one..
FYI there is about 800 people in Richmond VA. that are not adjusters doing claims for the GCCF at $12.00-$12.50 per hour. That I do know.
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CatAdjusterX
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02/20/2011 5:32 AM
Posted By Rlynch on 19 Feb 2011 06:14 PM
The rate was $350 plus hotel.. If your room rate was $89.00 + Tax= $98.00 you only got $98.00 for your hotel/room.. Only about 150 adjusters got $450.00 + hotel..
What I am told is that Worley made an agreement for $1250-$1300.00 per day for each adjuster. The adjuster would receive 65% of that total, about $850.00 per day. Now most of the adjusters only made $350.00 + hotel per day.. Lets just round it up to $450.00. Now if Worley made the deal and kept the other half of the money, wouldn't that be fraud?
Please keep in mind that no one has seen the agreement made by Worley with the government.
Now for the overtime, I bet that not one of you knew that Worley was taking out Taxes on the Day Rate. Does that make them employees? I am not sure, you tell me.
It sure is going to be interesting to see the outcome on this one..
FYI there is about 800 people in Richmond VA. that are not adjusters doing claims for the GCCF at $12.00-$12.50 per hour. That I do know.

The adjusters were told upfront that they get 450.00 a day (350 Day rate) and reimbused up to 100 a day. If these adjusters agreed to that, what difference does it make how much Worley is getting paid. I am sorry but these adjusters do not deserve 800 a day for pushing paper. I had quite a few of my guys get picked up for the Worley gig and of the 10, 8 had never adjusted claim one.

RLynch, Worley can keep all they want!!! Look at it this way, after katrina, the government  made a 25 million dollar deal with company X to collect and dispose of the tons of debris that desecrated lower Louisiana they made a deal for 25 million. That company then subcontracted another company to do the debris removal for 15 Million who in turn makes a deal with the company who will actually do the work for 10 Million. The first company pocketed 10 million dollars for ZERO work. the second company made made 5 million without doing anything ! That's not illegal, the deal with the Government is irrelevent  

 

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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CatAdjusterX
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02/20/2011 5:45 AM
Posted By Roy on 09 Feb 2011 04:03 PM

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A class of more than 1,000 oil spill claims adjusters say they worked more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay for BP and Worley Catastrophe Response. Lead plaintiff John Altier sued on behalf of an estimated class of 1,300, who were hired to research and pay claims to victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

Altier says that he and the class "were paid at a daily rate of pay. Plaintiff, and all other similarly situated claims adjusters were specifically paid the daily rate of pay for a 12-hour day. Based on that rate of pay, the plaintiff's hourly wage was $68.75 per hour."

He says that he and the class "worked significantly more than 40 hours in most workweeks." He adds that they were not supervisors nor administrators, were not paid "on a salary basis," and were not exempt from overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

However, he says, "defendants never paid plaintiff, or any other similarly situated claims adjusters any overtime, at time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay."

The above is a quote from an article on courthousenews.com, http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/.../34026.htm

The funny thing is all of these adjusters knew before they left that the rate was 350 + 100 towards hotel expense and that they were going to be pulling 12 hours a day 7 days a week.

The fact is that most of the adjusters working have never adjuster a claim in their life. Freakin newbies are now crying for more money because they did actually work 12 hours a day, thats a joke. Paying rookie adjusters 800 a day is laughable, they are cry babies. What a great reference to put on their resume when they say that they sued the IA firm who deployed them because you felt you were worth 800 a day. Those folks are done in this industry if they do this. Most clean up adjusters on day rates and who are doing REAL claims get 500 to 600 a day. Tell me how that's NOT ridiculous. I would NOT hire a new adjuster who sued Worley , I don't think anybody will

 

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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CatAdjusterX
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02/20/2011 5:50 AM
Posted By WILLIS on 10 Feb 2011 01:02 PM

To Roy and John    The BP adjusters signed an agreement to work 12 hours per day 7 days a week for a flat rate + expenses.  Now they complain they are entitled to more compensation for working over 40 hrs per week.  You do the math 12 hrs / day X 7 days is 84 hrs  clearly more than 40,  but they agreed to the rate when they took the job.  Unfortunately, adjusters do not have a union bargaining clause;  even so,   would discount the courts awarding more than a signed contract agreement.  I am sure this class was created by greedy plt lawyers  why not everyone else sues  Maybe we should apply to Feinberg for some work as it looks like 1,300 adjusters might be out of work.


I agree 100% Willis, think about this, these rookie adjusters are suing essentially for 800 a day for something they already agreed to do for

450(350+100) 
I know plenty of adjusters with 20+ years of experience  who are working clean up doing REAL claims on a day rate of 500 to 600. How does a rookie think he deserves more than that?

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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Marcus
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02/20/2011 11:09 AM

Why would they hire only Newbie adjusters?  I knew of many experienced adjusters that were out of work that seemed to be ready and willing to go down there but never received the call. 

 

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olderthendirt
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02/20/2011 4:19 PM

I once heard that there are times when people with experience  ask to many questions and  know what questions to ask. Mind you that is just hear say.

Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put in it
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nccatadjuster
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02/20/2011 7:54 PM
CatAdjusterX:

Before you get all tied in a knot, just think about it. We are in this business to make money, all of us, newbie and seasoned. We all know the going rate is somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of what the carrier pays. My contract states what the carrier is paying at 65 percent of that amount and if I found out that the carrier was paying 1200.00 I would be very mad. But you’re telling me if you were told that same thing and then found out the company you were working for was taking in more than what they put on the contract it wouldn’t bother you?

It doesn’t matter if they are rocket scientist or basket weavers, it is a matter of principle and integrity that the company you work for should do the right thing and not try to pull one over just to make that much more money. I agree that IF the rate of 1200.00 a day was being paid to Worley, that is more than they were worth because most of them are just paper pushers from what I have heard. Three people I know are doing or have done and been released and they say it is the easiest gig they have ever had.

But the point is integrity. How can you expect the adjuster you hire to have a high level of integrity if you the company do not have the same high level? All that said, I think it will come out Worley did the right thing and are paying correctly.
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ChuckDeaton
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02/20/2011 11:27 PM

Worley works the same way as any other business, family first, friends second, local people third and if there are any slots left, newbies and some experienced people.

One of the problems is that most cat adjusters are short on Business Interruption experience.

"Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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BARBHARTHCOCK
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02/21/2011 3:56 AM
I would almost say with a smile that Worley is getting what they deserve from these guys. Marcus, you are so right that there were plenty of experienced adjusters ready and willing to work and we were never even considered. I would have gladly worked those 12 hr days for what they were willing to pay and not have to furnish my own computer and printer and supplies. I would have gladly worked for what I agreed too and been glad to get it. I have worked a lot of jobs under these conditions and never decided in the end that I deserved more. Maybe Worley will be more careful as to who they hire in the future.
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CatAdjusterX
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02/21/2011 6:03 AM
Posted By ChuckDeaton on 20 Feb 2011 11:27 PM

Worley works the same way as any other business, family first, friends second, local people third and if there are any slots left, newbies and some experienced people.

One of the problems is that most cat adjusters are short on Business Interruption experience.



 

I agree that many CAT adjusters do not have a great deal of experience in working BI claims. However, the rookie adjusters who have never worked a claim let alone a BI claim were hired in bulk despite zero BI experience

 

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ALANJ
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02/21/2011 8:27 AM
You can not enforce a contract that is unenforceable on it's face. Other words you can not contract away federal wage and hour laws. If anyone has any case law that says otherwise, then please post it.
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CatAdjusterX
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02/22/2011 5:43 AM

If this isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is !!

 

Read the text in bold , whattya think ?

More questions than answers seem to be arising from the recent revelation of how BP oil spill claims are being handled by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and its Director Ken Feinberg.

A former claims adjuster clarified one major issue, which has come to light in the processing of claims and how claimants are classified on a scale of zero to ten.

“A lot of things depend on what category you are classified in,” said Kelly Johnson, a former large loss adjuster working with BP who now is helping claimants with his own business, Northwest Florida Consultants. “You are being classified on the scale depending on your profession like a doctor, dentist, wholesale grocery supplier, casino worker, cashier, waitress, etc.

“As they are putting the information in the category chosen will stop the claim and not let them go any further.”

This kind of transparency is just one of the issues noted in a Feb. 4 letter to Feinberg from Thomas J. Perrelli, who is with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

“I urge you once again to make the GCCF’s process more transparent,” said Perrelli in the letter to Feinberg on page two. “The period you have provided for public comment on the final payment methodology is important, and I know that you will take the feedback received on that proposed methodology very seriously.

“It is similarly important the claimants have an understanding of why their claims are handled as they are, and I ask the GCCF find ways to provide additional information about its decisions.”

Johnson pointed out the rating system used by the GCCF is a violation of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

He also explains how the process used by the GCCF is greatly different than what was employed while he was working with BP.

“Every claim stood on its own merit,” Johnson said. “I would fill out my forms and do my math to calculate what I figured the claimant deserved. These would be reviewed by an accountant and BP management and then finish building the claim.

“If my calculations were wrong they would tell me why and explain why the claim would be less or if there was a mistake and in favor of the claimant, then they could have me correct my paperwork and the process the request form to get them a check.”

Johnson pointed out the claims have far reaching effects due to the nature of some businesses.

One such business he is working with was a now closed Gulf Seafood Shop in Branson, Mo.

“This business would send trucks to south Alabama to get seafood and then drive back to Missouri in their refrigerate trucks with its product,” Johnson said. “They turned in a claim and had it denied because they do not have a commercial fishing license.

“In the beginning of this process each claim stood on its own and there was no line drawn to determine who should and who should not receive a check from a claim.”

Emergency payments is just one of the concerns, which the justice department took issue with, as does Johnson.

“The interim payment process must be efficient, fair and straight forward,” Perrelli said. “When a small business files for its interim claim every three months, and then waits 90 days for the claim to be resolved, its cash flow is already running six months behind.”

Representative Doug Broxson, who’s trip to Dublin, Ohio on Monday, brought more questions to light about the claims process wants everything to be crystal clear with the GCCF.

“We have been through major disasters here and dealt with insurance claims,” Broxson said on Monday. “We need the adjusters here to make the decisions on the ground.

“Doing that would help bring more transparency to the process and establish some level of fairness.”

Feinberg himself set a date for emergency (interim) claims as Nov. 23, but he did not set a date for document evidence. The U.S. Justice Department set that date as Dec. 14.

“Mr. Feinberg has said that 75 percent of all claims denied were for no or not enough documents,” Johnson said. “Around Dec. 4, I read an article in NOLA.com that said 65,000 claims has been denied. Two weeks later that number grew to over 350,000.

“How can you accurately process that many claims in that short of time? From my understanding at the time the GCCF were already two to three weeks behind entering in the documentation they had received.”

Amy Weiss, who handles media requests for Feinberg, responded about the large jump in a span of two weeks.

“We denied thousands of claims that either lacked any documentation or had woefully inadequate documentation,” Weiss said. “We also have at least 7000 claims filed that are seemily fraudulent.”

Back on Jan. 6, Rep. Broxson held a town hall meeting at Oriole Beach Elementary School in Gulf Breeze, prior to that meeting the figures from the GCCF website there have been 156,366 claimants in the state of Florida. Of those 122,160 were individual claims.

So far the GCCF claims they have paid out 68,172 claims with payouts nearing $1.1-billion in the state.

In a separate fund of Real Estate Brokers and Agents $29-million has been deposited, while over $1.040-billion has been paid to the claimants.

Most of these payments have been in the form of an emergency advance payment to individuals where roughly 33% of the claims have been paid.

Of the 149,516 only 54,928 have been paid, while business have fared better with 21,174 of the 41,327 business claims have been paid.

Broxson even went so far to address a letter to Feinberg on Jan. 24, following this meeting and had three requests of the BP Claims Fund Administrator, which went unanswered.

· Close down your Dublin, Ohio, office and open a central claims office on the gulf coast.

· Allow your 33 claims offices the complete authority to adjust and pay claims up to $50,000. Refer claims over $50,000 to your newly created Gulf Coast central claims center.  Please note that such a system has worked for dozens of major insurance companies for decades in paying claims resulting from major catastrophes, particularly hurricanes in our area.

· Create a regional advisory committee to advise you on how to continually perfect the claims paying system.

A copy of the letter Perrelli wrote to Feinberg on Feb. 4 is available online at www.srpressgazette.com

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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