One of the best things about insurance is that it helps you plan for the unexpected. In this context, DBA insurance is one policy that takes care of unforeseen circumstances. This policy is also known as the Defense Base Act insurance. It is a federal law that requires all American contractors and subcontractors to insure employees working outside the United States. The relevant statutes include the Defense Base Act, 42 1651-54 and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 901-50.
Who is Covered?
This act covers people in the categories below:
Employees working for US military bases outside the United States.
Employees working outside the US on lands used for military purposes. These include US territories and possessions located outside the United States.
Employees working with US government agencies outside the US. These include people employed in public works, national defense or war.
Employees working for American companies that provide welfare services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Forces.
Employees working outside the United States on contracts funded by the American government under the Foreign Assistance Act. This includes employees working for agencies or companies that provide military equipment, cash, materials and services to allies of the United States outside the country.
*Note that all the criteria above do not have to be met before the worker in question qualifies for Defense Base Act coverage. If one of the requirements above is met, the employee is qualified for DBA coverage.
Benefits under the Defense Base Act
This Act provides medical, disability and death benefits to covered employees who are injured or die in the course of employment outside the United States. The employees covered are entitled to the said compensation whether the injury or disability occurred during working hours or not. Compensation is paid by DBA insurance providers for partial loss of earnings. In addition, injured employees are entitled to medical treatment by the employer.
What Does Contractors Insurance Cover?
In cases of total disability, the employee is entitled to two thirds (66.6%) of his or her average weekly earnings. Permanent disability, total disability and death benefits are payable for life. These benefits are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. For aliens and employers who are not US residents, death benefits may be commuted. In this case, the payment may be 50% of the present value of future compensation.
Reporting Injuries and Filing Claims
The procedure for filing claims or reporting injuries must be done the right way. Usually, the employer notifies the Defense Base Act insurance carrier as soon as an injury occurs. In cases where medical treatment is needed, it should be authorized immediately. The Employer's First Report of Injury, Form LS-202 must be filled within ten days of the injury. Once this is properly done, the injured employee is likely to get proper compensation in accordance with the Defense Base Act Insurance rates.
While protecting a diplomat in a war zone, this contractor's convoy was attacked. As he jumped from the hood of his vehicle, he landed on his knee and tore and shattered everything you can imagine. That he was an overseas contractor that saved a diplomat and destroyed his knee wasn't enough for the insurance company. They wanted to shaft him entirely and let him suffer with no help whatsoever. Matthew T Singer, a seasoned Defense Base Act attorney, entered the picture and made sure he and his family received every last drop of benefits they deserved. Now on the mend, he is able to get back to the life he had prior to the injury.
Why You Need a DBA Attorney
On paper, getting compensation from your insurance company should be a simple process. In practice, things can get quite complicated even after you have met all the Defense Base Act requirements. One problem that may affect your compensation claim is the existence of Defense Act Waivers. Waivers may exist with respect to work, location, contract or class of employee. When this happens, you may or may not be eligible for compensation even if you have paid the proper rates. In some cases, the insurance company may use the existence of waivers to back out of settling legitimate claims. Again, there are instances where a local compensation insurance policy makes an employee ineligible for compensation even if he or she has met other Defense Base Act insurance requirements. Other problem areas for employees eligible for compensation are improper filing of claims forms, wrong timing, and manipulation on the part of the insurer. The truth is that insurance companies are always looking for ways to wiggle out of settling claims. For this reason, it is vital that you read the small print carefully and consult a competent legal expert to help you pursue your entitlements.
Things You Should NEVER Do
Do not start processing your claims on your own without consulting a legal expert
Do not sign any document for the insurer without showing the document to your attorney first
Do not accept any out of court settlement offered by the insurer without consulting your attorney.
Do not post anything on social media or allow others to post pictures or information about you that you wouldn’t want show to a judge at your trial.
Do not let the insurance company pick your doctor.
It is important to understand Defense Base Act insurance requirements and DBA insurance rates clearly. According to sections 1 (a)(4) and (5) of the defense Base Act, every contractor that comes within the purview of this act shall take out the insurance policy in question on behalf of its employees and maintain the policy for the duration of the said contract. DBA insurance requirements act states that:
The insurance policy shall be taken out for the employee before the commencement of the employment contract.
The employer (contractor, subcontractor or government agency) shall pay the premiums on the insurance policy and ensure that the employee gets paid compensation and/or benefits if the situation warrants the payment of benefits and/or compensation.
DBA Insurance Providers
Three major Defense Base Act Insurance carriers are ACE-USA, CNA, and AIG. Apart from these three firms, over 700 companies are authorized to handle this special form of insurance. These firms include insurance carriers and self-insured employers. Below is a list of 20 insurance carriers and 20 self-insured employers.
IU Insurance Company
Alaska Timber Insurance Exchange
All America Insurance Company
Allianz Underwriters Insurance Co.
Allied Eastern Indemnity Insurance Company
Allied World National Assurance Company
Allmerica Financial Benefit Insurance Co
AMCO Insurance Company
American Automobile Ins. Co.
American Casualty Co of Reading. PA
American Economy Insurance Co.
American Family Home Insurance Company
United National Ins. Co.
U.S. Fire Insurance Co.
Upper Hudson National Insurance Company
Valley Forge Insurance Company
Vigilant Ins. Co.
Wausau Business Insurance Company
Wausau Underwriters Ins. Co.
West American Insurance Co.
Westchester Fire Insurance Co.
Western National Mutual Insurance Company
Westfield National Insurance Company
Williamsburg Nat'l. Insurance Co.
Obligations of the Employer and Expectations of the Employee
Section 4(a) of the Act makes it mandatory that the employer must secure payment for the employee in case of death, injury or disability. In cases where the employer fails to secure the payment of the said compensation, the contractor will be liable for and will be required to pay the benefits in question.
Section 5 (a) of the Act states that in cases where the employer fails to secure compensation/benefits for the employee in cases of injury or death, the survivors of the deceased employee can sue the contractor. In this case, the survivors can claim tort damages on account of the said death or injury.
Defense Base Act coverage is meant to protect you in case the unexpected happens in a foreign country. As long as you have met the requirements, you are entitled to full compensation in accordance with DBA insurance rates.
Finally, consult a competent and experienced attorney for advice and legal representation. This is the only way to ensure that you get full compensation and benefits from carriers that will do whatever they can to not pay you.
Contact us with any questions you have about your case, or just about the Defense Base Act in general.
6965 Waterman Avenue
University City, Missouri 63130