Do You Need Defense Base Act (DBA) Coverage?

Understanding Defense Base Act (DBA) coverage and when your accounts might need it.

As an insurance agent, you’ve seen a wide range of different workers’ compensation needs. From clients with gigantic teams to accounts with high-risk business activities, there are a number of reasons why workers’ comp might be hard to place. And that’s just domestically! As people head overseas, things get more complex. Fortunately, that’s where Defense Base Act (DBA) coverage can step in.

This coverage is (aptly) named after the Defense Base Act, which Congress enacted back in 1941. It’s an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927, so to understand the former we first need to get a grasp on the latter. The Longshore Act was designed to cover dock and maritime workers when they weren’t covered by the Merchant Maritime Act, which guaranteed seaman some kind of compensation if they were injured at sea.

Without the Longshore Act, certain workers would have essentially been left without recompense for work-related injuries. But just over a decade later, Congress realized that some workers were still left exposed. As a result, they extended the Longshore Act’s federal workers’ compensation program to cover people who are employed at United States defense bases that are located overseas. But, as with most federal Acts, it’s not that simple.

DBA coverage can extend to:

  • People employed by a private employer working on a U.S. military base or at a location the U.S. uses for military purposes that’s outside of domestic soil.
  • People performing a contract outside of the U.S. that’s funded under the Foreign Assistance Act.
  • People working outside of the country on a public contract of employment with a U.S. government agency.
  • People working to provide welfare to the Armed Forces outside of the U.S.

Essentially, if you have any accounts doing any government work overseas, they might need Defense Base Act coverage. To find out if this type of policy is relevant to your clients, contact PMC Insurance Group.