If you were in business in 2010 and suffered a decline in business, you may have a BP oil spill claim and not even know it. You don’t have to be in the fishing or seafood industry to make a claim. Real estate agents, attorneys, accountants, plumbers, heating and air conditioning contractors, and almost any other business are eligible. The only excluded entities are: a) certain financial institutions, b) certain funds, financial vehicles, and trusts, c) gaming businesses, d) insurance entities e) oil and gas companies, f) defense contractors, g) real estate developers (who are actually developing subdivisions), h) any entity selling BP fuel, and i) government claims.
There are four geographical areas that determine whether someone is within the class as defined by the oil spill settlement.
Cleverly, the four zones are zones A, B, C or D. If your business is located in Zone A, which basically is just the barrier islands along the coast, you determine your loss by comparing three or more months of May through December of 2010 to either: May through December of 2009; the average of May through December 2009 and 2010; or the average of May through December of 2007, 2008 and 2009. The one you choose is called the benchmark period. You get to choose whichever benchmark period benefits you the most. After the loss is calculated, there is a multiplier titled Risk Transfer Premium (RTP) that increases the amount of the claim by as much as 2.5 and more if your business is seafood related.
Locally, if your business is not in Zone A then you are probably in Zone C or D. If so, causation is presumed for charter fishing, landing site, commercial, wholesale or retail seafood dealer, primary seafood processor, secondary seafood processor, seafood wholesaler or distributor, or seafood retailer (which means that 25% of their costs are seafood costs). That is, your claim is treated the same as a Zone A claim.
For all remaining Zone C claims, we take a three or more month period between May to December 2010, and compare it to the same three months in 2009; the average of 2008 and 2009; or the average of 2007, 2008 and 2009. We need to demonstrate that in 2010, that gross revenue dropped by 8.5%. After that, we need to compare those same three months in 2010 to 2011 and show a 5% increase in gross revenue. Once you meet causation, we can determine the loss by comparing the 2010 time period with the benchmark period. Zone D is exactly the same as Zone C, only you need to show a 15% decrease from the benchmark period, followed by a 10% increase in 2011.