Dealing with a wave of DBA claims

According to Richardson, the most notable trend is an increase in claims related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The government is said to be taking a very deliberate approach with such a sensitive process.

“People who usually worked as overseas contractors have been exposed to harsh working conditions and war risks, which has a cumulative effect on people,” he noted. “Eventually, when you stop working in this environment, the conditions can manifest across a broad spectrum depending on the individual and the nature of their exposure.”

Medical care is generally covered for anyone with PTSD as a work-related condition – including counselling, drug therapy and cognitive therapy. Richardson noted that there are a range of treatment options available, but accessibility depends on location.

“Those living in rural areas might have to travel greater distances, so telemedicine has been a welcome development,” he added.

When it comes to improving coverage and reducing DBA claims, the onus is on the employer. Richardson explained that employers need to have good risk management and injury prevention programs in place to reduce the severity and frequency of claims.

“This could mean that advisers visit staff from time to time or that staff change more frequently, but it depends on the ability of the employer to realistically implement all these initiatives,” he said. .

Employers operating under the DBA should carefully consider the availability of labor and the availability of assistance.

“I served in the Army Reserve for 20 years and advisors were sent to operational bases to check on the health and welfare of soldiers. If the military can do it, so can the contractors,” Richardson said.

There is also an extension to the Stevedore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act to consider, which effectively compensates insurance companies and emphasizes the U.S. government for reimbursement of injuries sustained as a result of a risk of war.

“Otherwise no insurance company would cover an employer in a war zone, it would just be too risky,” he said. “If carriers are heavily involved in the DBA space, those in the know will have spoken extensively with brokers to ensure they get the data on the different risk categories, so premiums are priced correctly.”

Richardson noted that this segment is highly specialized and surprisingly competitive, so carriers need to be very deliberate if they hope to enter the market for the first time.

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“Carriers need to proactively seek out claims staff with the right experience and ensure their claims database is capable of handling cases from around the world,” he said. “It sounds trite, but if a case management system doesn’t have the data fields needed to track all the moving parts in a niche market, it could be costly.”

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