The Defense Base Act (DBA) is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and was passed by Congress in 1941. It is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). This act requires private employers that are contracted by the United States government to do work outside the U.S. to purchase Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance―a form of workers’ compensation insurance―to cover their employees, civilian workers, foreign nationals, subcontractors and subordinate contractors for work performed outside the United States. DBA insurance covers disability compensation, medical treatment, rehabilitation and death benefits.
The Defense Base Act requirements apply to contract work outside the United States on any U.S. defense base; on land occupied or used by the U.S. military, including U.S. territories and possessions; for public works construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or war activities; contacts approved and financed by the U.S.; contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, generally providing for the cash sale of military equipment, materials and services to its allies; and welfare services for troops, like the USO, authorized by the Department of Defense (DOD). DBA insurance coverage applies to injuries and death in the course of employment, whether or not the incident occurred inside regularly assigned job duties or work hours.
The act outlines employer liability for payment of disability, medical and death benefits to its employees in the event of injury or death. Employer compliance responsibilities are defined and include securing DBA insurance before employees are deployed overseas, informing employees about benefits, reporting employee injuries or deaths, authorizing medical care, notifying the insurance carrier about claims, providing employee information, and assisting employees or survivors with claims for benefits. The Defense Base Act also defines authorized carriers and fines for corporation and officers if they fail to secure DBA insurance coverage.
For more information about the Defense Base Act (DBA), we recommend the following resources:
FAQs about DBA: www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/DBAFaqs.htm
Failure to Secure DBA Insurance
If a contractor sidesteps the requirement of securing DBA Insurance and an injury or death of an employee occurs, there are stiff repercussions for the contractor, which can include being sued by the injured party or his or her family, stiff fines and potential loss of contract. Purchasing DBA Insurance is a requirement that must be taken seriously.
As the LATITUDE DBA insurance program broker for Allied World Assurance, the LATITUDE team has a deep understanding of the complexities and unique business needs associated with government contracts and the Defense Base Act. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you create an insurance plan that protects your business and its employees.