A Trip to BP's Clearwater Claims Office

BP's Clearwater claims office
CLEARWATER (2010-7-19) -

BP's "Deepwater Horizon Response" website is getting a lot of traffic these days, but a lot of people prefer the more personal approach. So many locals are heading to the BP Claims office in Clearwater.

It's in a strip mall a stone's throw from U.S. 19, and people whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf have been turning up for weeks now, trying to somehow recoup the money they say they've lost because of the gusher in the Gulf.

On a rainy Thursday, the office was buzzing with people, including a woman who will only identify herself as Deborah. She works in destination weddings in St. Petersburg and won't say just how much she's lost because of the spill.

But she's clearly frustrated by the number of cancellations she's seen in the past few months.

"I didn't think it would be this severe, but every bride in the world is sure that our beaches are black, that they have a terrible odor and that there's tar balls everywhere," she said.

She walked away with a check in hand, but says now, she's worried about how she'll cover the electric bill.

Office Manager Bettina Crosby says her people are accustomed to dealing with disaster. They work for Worley Catastrophe Response, which is a subcontractor for BP.

She says it is possible for someone to come in, present their documents and leave with a check in one day, but that was not the experience for the people who spoke to WUSF. They said they had to go to the office more than once.

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