Florida REALTORS and four other state REALTOR organizations successfully negotiated with Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility handling the British Petroleum (BP) Oil Spill Fund, for a special allocation for real estate professionals’ claims for loss of income or loss of sales due to the Gulf oil spill.
“This is great news for REALTORS and real estate professionals in Florida, as well as those in our neighboring Gulf Coast states, who are suffering from the loss of their livelihood because of the oil spill crisis,” says 2010 Florida REALTORS President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville. “Many real estate claims for loss of income due to the oil spill have been in limbo, leaving people with no way to pay their bills, take care of their families or keep their businesses going. Providing this special allocation is a positive, responsive action on Mr. Feinberg’s part — one that will help people move forward and reclaim their lives.”
From the special allocation, $16 million is initially available to pay claims to real estate professionals in Florida. Along with other local businesses in the Gulf Coast states, real estate has experienced significant economic harm since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Until now, some real estate claims related to lost sales and loss of income were not included in Feinberg’s protocol for payments from the $20 billion BP Gulf Coast Claims Fund. Representatives of Gulf Coast REALTOR associations — Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas — met several times with Feinberg to make the case that real estate brokers and agents have been financially harmed by the oil spill.
Each state REALTORS organization will receive funds based on the estimated losses of individuals and brokerages resulting from cancelled sales contracts, loss of income and depressed market conditions following the BP oil spill. The allocation is available to all real estate licensees with active licenses at the time of the loss, not just REALTORS.
Florida REALTORS has contracted with Indiana-based NCA, an independent, national claims adjustment firm, to handle these claims and otherwise administer the funds; the other state REALTOR groups in the Gulf Coast are also working with NCA. The state REALTOR associations had to provide Feinberg with detailed documentation to request funds, including a timely, transparent and objective process for handling claims and for determining payments.
“REALTORS in Florida build communities, and this allocation for real estate professionals will help them continue to do that,” says Davis. “This historic agreement between the real estate industry and the BP Fund is a model for public/private partnerships. It will help restore economic vitality to the Florida Panhandle, ensuring that a unique culture and way of life continues into the future.”
For more on the Oil Spill Fund or to find one of the organization’s 35 locations, visit www.GulfCoastClaimsFacility.com