DBA Insurance Market Will Grow
in 2003, the use of civilian contractors and their employees has grown ex- ponentially. As a result, activity in DBA workers compensation insurance has spiked anew to now cover many thousands of U.S. civilian workers abroad and a significant number of foreign nationals employed locally on U.S. installations and other federally funded projects.
Historically, DBA coverage was needed primarily by large U.S. contrac- tors with close connections to the military that were engaged in perform- ing specific services on behalf of the U.S. military and base maintenance operations. However, with the advent of the Afghan and Iraqi military operations, the U.S. government has changed a long-standing policy of not extensively involving private companies in other activities (including reconstruction) to a new policy of engaging contractors in a variety of “on the ground” frontline support services. Many smaller contractors are now being employed to provide services to U.S. and allied troops in everything from services in base maintenance, food, and laundry to vehicle maintenance and repair, base construction, and many other needs. As a result, the need and market for DBA insurance has grown dramatically.
DBA ClAims Differ from stAnDArD Workers ComPensAtion
DBA claims handling is complex and specialized, requiring a degree of expertise and finesse beyond the typical demands of standard workers compensation business. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor requires the filing of claim notices within specific timeframes. If deadlines are not met it can result in fines against the offending organization. WHCA claims associated with injuries due to active hostilities require a higher degree of specialized knowledge. Even the process of gathering information about the claimant may be a challenge in cases where the covered person is a local foreign national or a third-country national. Having the capability and resources to investigate claims in different parts of the world is a necessity for effective DBA insurance claims handling.
One key difference in DBA claims handling versus traditional workers compensation is the scope of coverage afforded by DBA insurance. Under the standard workers compensation system, benefits are clearly afforded only where the injury or death “arose out of and in the course of employment.” However, this precisely defined set of conditions gets a bit fuzzier under DBA. Depending on the location where a civilian employee is posted, the test of recovery does not necessarily need to rest with a causal relation- ship between the nature of employment and the accident. There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding compensability similar to those that govern typical workers compensation. Generally, the more remote and harsher