The insurance benefits afforded under a Defense Base Act Insurance policy provide comprehensive protection for workers who are employed to perform work overseas under a U.S. Government contract. In order for a claim to be compensable under DBA, it must be occupational in nature, meaning that an injury sustained or resulting in death must be directly related to an employee’s job duties.
While DBA benefits are equivalent to those afforded by domestic Workers’ Compensation, there are some excluded ailments, or conditions, that contractors and employees should be mindful of.
Heart attack and stroke are two afflictions that are typically not compensable DBA claims. However, these conditions may be considered if it is determined that the heart attack or stroke is stress-related due to the strenuous nature of the employee’s occupation.
Appendicitis is another ailment that is typically not covered by DBA. However, if the condition occurs while an employee is confined to a remote location such as a military base where medical services are limited, coverage for the claim could be allowable under the Zone of Special Danger doctrine, which broadens DBA benefits.
Suicide is never covered under DBA. In order to facilitate necessary counseling services to those employees who may be in need of assistance, employers should provide their on-location management team with the training they need to help identify employees who may be experiencing depression or other personal difficulties.
These exclusions are just a few examples of some ailments that are not generally covered under a DBA Insurance policy—but it is not a comprehensive list. As such, employers should submit every claim to their DBA Insurance company, regardless of the situation. The insurance carrier will review the claim and determine whether or not it will be eligible for compensation under the policy (the employer should never attempt to make this determination on their own!). By reporting every claim at the time it is presented, the employer avoids the risk of incurring a fine for late reporting and also the potential for wrongfully denying benefits owed to an employee in the event the claim is deemed to be compensable.
As the DBA Insurance broker for Allied World Assurance, the LATITUDE DBA Insurance team has a deep understanding of the complexities of Defense Base Act coverage. Contractors seeking DBA coverage should contact LATITUDE DBA Insurance today―we’d be happy to assist in creating an insurance plan that protects both the business and its employees against all overseas exposures.