We know insurance companies are hard enough to deal with on domestic claims. Can you imagine having to deal with insurance companies as a foreign, or international, person not able to speak the language and working in a war zone? It appears that not too many foreign workers really have to worry about that because they never are informed of their rights or benefits to begin with. Benefits that are paid for by U.S. taxpayers to insurance companies.
The Los-Angeles Times and Pro-Publica did a joint investigation entitled "Forgotten Warriors" & "Disposable Army", respectively, highlighting the blatant and rampant abuse into the federally financed program that is supposed to provide workers’ compensation insurance to civilian contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan. A program that has failed to deliver medical care and other benefits to many foreign workers and their survivors.
The series of articles illustrate in more depth the following highlights:
- Defense Base Act– a law requiring insurance for civilians working in war zones. Companies providing services to the U.S. government must secure a special type of workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, both American and foreign. The insurance covers all injuries and deaths, whether caused by workplace accidents or roadside bombs. Companies bill the cost to U.S. taxpayers as part of their government contracts.
- AIG, Or A.I.U,- whatever they call themselves now- is the largest Insurer involved in this debacle. Insurers collected more than $1.5 billion in premiums paid by U.S. taxpayers and have earned nearly $600 million in profit, according to congressional investigators.
- A military audit was done and determined that A.I.G’s premiums were "unreasonably high".
- Insurance Companies –A.I.G & CNA Financial Corp were cited as the main culprits.
- DynCorp, KBR Inc., Prime Projects International of Dubai, & Qatar International were some of the higher employers of foreign nationals in war zones.
"It’s almost like we’re this invisible, discardable military. Once we’ve done our jobs, they can actually sidetrack us and not worry about us anymore," said Tim Newman, a sheriff’s deputy from South Carolina who lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Once back home, he fought an insurance company for a year to get a prosthetic leg that his doctors recommended.