Communicating the benefits of DBA Insurance coverage to employees is important, but perhaps even more important is the communication of proper claim reporting procedures. Familiarizing employees with this information is a crucial part of efficient claim handling and loss control for the company, as well as for the employees.
Once a contractor has purchased Defense Base Act Insurance, the insurance carrier will deliver a “Notice to Employees” form (Form LS-241) along with the DBA Insurance policy. The Notice is much like the form that’s provided to domestic employers who purchase Workers’ Compensation, and is used to inform employees of their benefits and rights, as well as procedures for filing a claim. Much like domestic employers are required to post the Workers’ Compensation Notice in a place their employees can see it (such as in the company break room), the U.S Department of Labor requires that DBA policyholders do the same. The challenge here is that OCONUS (Outside Contiguous United States) employees working under DBA policies are not typically located in a single location and may reside in any number of locations while under contract (i.e. on a military base, in a hotel, in tents in remote areas of the world). Therefore, employers don’t have a centralized place to post the Notice for overseas employees and generally must rely on the Project Managers to inform the employees.
Regardless of the mode of communication, it is imperative that every employee working OCONUS understands:
- Who the Point of Contact is in the country where they are working
- How they can obtain assistance on-site if they are injured
- That every incident or accident must be reported—no matter the severity—to the Project Manager or Supervisor and/or the in-country Point of Contact
Claim Reporting Timeline
When reporting a claim under the Defense Base Act, timing is of the essence:
- Employees have up to one year from the time they become aware of an injury (or an incident that could potentially lead to an injury) to file for DBA benefits. However, immediate reporting to their Project Manager is recommended.
- Employers have 10 days from the time of appropriate notification by the employee to notify the Department of Labor.
- The Project Manager should be given no more than 24 hours to report the incident or injury to the employer’s Point of Contact in the U.S. Therefore, it’s crucial that on-site Project Managers or Supervisors know who their Point of Contact is for reporting claims within the company to ensure timely reporting and timely benefits delivery to the employee.
- The Employer has ten days to submit an “Employers’ First Report of Injury or Occupational Illness” form (Form LS-202) to the U.S. Department of Labor. A copy of the LS-202 form should simultaneously be provided to the DBA Insurance carrier. (This form can be found on the Department of Labor’s website here).
Don’t Delay Reporting an Injury
Delaying the submission of an injury report can result in a very stiff penalty for the employer by the Department of Labor. Failure to submit the LS-202 form within ten days can result in a late filing penalty of up to $11,000 for each offense. This makes educating the Project Managers, Supervisors and Points of Contact a mandatory part of project management. Each party must fully understand the DBA claim reporting process, and the urgency behind prompt incident reporting.
Reporting a Fatality
The worst possible outcome of an accident is the death of an OCONUS employee. While proper risk management and safety techniques on the job will do a lot to help reduce the chance of fatalities, it’s important to have formal procedures in place if a fatality occur. The procedures should outline how:
- The on-site Project Manager should handle this type of sensitive situation
- The U.S. Point of Contact should appropriately communicate the death of an employee, including the notification of next of kin
Upon receipt of the claim notification, the insurance company will:
- Investigate the compensability of the claim
- Determine if compensation and medical care are payable to the employee
- Disburse claim payments according to schedule
Effective communication with the team of Project Managers, Points of Contact and employees is essential in proper and efficient claim filing. The LATITUDE DBA Insurance program is an excellent resource for understanding the complexities of DBA Insurance, including claim filing procedures. Our team of experts has more than 25 years of experience and extensive knowledge of DBA. Contact the LATITUDE DBA Insurance program today to explore the DBA Insurance options available to contractors.