Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink offered the following tips for businesses affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:
• Take detailed records of cancelled reservations. News reports suggest that many condominium owners, hotels and restaurants are already having increased cancellations, and it's important that when these cancellations occur, the cancelling party is questioned whether the cause is because of the oil spill. If the answer is yes, keep a record of the person's name and contact information, and also the revenues lost as a result of the cancellation.
• Calculate estimated losses for a six-week period and be able to provide records, sales receipts and documentation to support such a claim. A good idea would be to compare business now to a five-year average of revenues between May and June, which can offer insight as to the damages incurred.
• Make a detailed list of assets — including non-structural — and include appropriate records to support the list. For example: if your member's hotel or restaurant is within walking distance to the beach and that beach has oil reach its shores, the business' assets are damaged even though there is no physical damage to the structure, and it is important to record this depreciation.
• Be wary of insurance settlement scams. For businesses that may have already begun the claims filing process with BP, first, make sure you are dealing with authorized representatives from BP and not scam artists; and be careful not to sign waivers of liability too quickly without getting adequate legal and financial counsel.