Under the War Hazard Compensation Act, Defense Base Act Insurance (DBA Insurance) provides workers’ compensation insurance coverage for contractor employees performing under government contracts outside the United States of America. Starting in the mid-2000s, during the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, contractor support to the United States military grew at an exponential rate. Due to a highly condensed insurance market, few companies cover DBA insurance, and, in many cases, the cost of insurance is covered in the contract. Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries or death while engaged in work in foreign locations under government prime contracts and subcontracts are solely providence of DBA insurance. The program is administered by the Department of Labor.
What is the Defense Base Act?
With the War Hazard Compensation Act, the Defense Base Act is a federal workers’ compensation system. It provides protection to contractors and subcontractors working overseas on a United States military base or working under a United States government contract. If a contractor is injured or killed, then the contractor or his loved ones may be entitled to benefits.
What is the War Hazard Compensation Act?
In tandem with the Defense Base Act, the War Hazard Compensation Act provides compensation to a covered contractor for any injury, disability, death, or enemy detention of employees of contractors with the United States
Who Is Covered Under the Defense Base Act?
Defense Base Act insurance is covered for any person who works as a contact employee for the United States outside of the country, regardless of country of origin, nationality, or job title. If the injured worker qualifies as a DBA contractor, then they are entitled to full DBA insurance benefits.
Such positions include:
Security workers on and off base
Military Support Staff
Heavy Equipment Operators (cranists, forklift drivers, truck drivers)
Food Service Workers
Laundry Service Workers
Medical Workers (doctors, nurses, medical technicians, etc)
Military and Police Trainers
Before a contract employee is sent overseas, it’s important the employer or subcontractor obtains a DBA insurance policy and informs the employee of the full coverage benefits and instructions on filing a claim. If the employer fails to provide insurance authorized by a DBA carrier, a fine of $11,000 and imprisonment for up to a year may be imposed. The employer also might be subject to lawsuits for failure to provide proper insurance as required by law.
The only instance in which employers are not required to provide this coverage is if granted a waiver by the Labor Department, in which the host country already provides adequate workers’ compensation insurance and does not require coverage by the United States or the Department of Labor.
What Types of Injuries Make Up Defense Base Act Claims?
Any sort of physical injury, chronic disease, death-causing event, or enemy detention situation are all injuries covered by DBA insurance. Defense Base Act works as part of a benefits system similar to the workers’ compensation applied to the general public by the United States. The only difference is that the DBA applies only to contractors working abroad. Any work-related injury entitles a contracted employee to benefits. Some situations may be accidental or job-related injury, discharge of weapons by a hostile force or person, car accidents caused by any sort of reason, including during war activities. An employer, carrier, or their legal representatives can seek a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement of all medical benefits and funeral costs including “reasonable attorneys’ fees, court and litigation costs, expenses of witnesses and expert testimony, examinations, autopsies and other items of that were reasonably incurred in determining liability under the Defense Base Act .”