Monday, May 26, 2008

Contractor Casualties: An Update

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently held a hearing, Defense Base Act Insurance: Are Taxpayers Paying Too Much? on Thursday, May 15, 2008.

Tucked into the Supplemental Information on Defense Base Act Insurance Costs are recent casualty numbers on contractor fatalities and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, taken from two reports by the Department of Labor dated April 2, 2008.

  • Department of Labor, Defense Base/War Hazards Act Summary by Nation for Afghanistan (Apr. 2, 2008)
  • Department of Labor, Defense Base/War Hazards Act Summary by Nation for Iraq (Apr. 2, 2008)
However, the numbers cited in the Supplemental are not broken out by nation. And at best, they are only a minimum.
Contractor Casualties as of April 2, 2008

9,610 wounded
Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick are not included in those figures.

Regarding DBA insurance? It's a cash cow for insurers.

The new Defense Authorization Bill passed in the House, H.R. 5658, includes an Amendment "...requiring that DOD implement a new approach to purchasing DBA insurance within the next 18 months." So far, I have been unable to locate the full text language but it's certainly a very long overdue step in the right direction. Hopefully, the Amendment will make it through the Senate and into the final version of the bill.


Megan said...

Kirk and Ryan aren't included? That's bizarre... Kirk I can understand as technically he's still "missing" and is only presumed dead, but Ryan's death doesn't have that doubt associated with it. I can't understand that.

Susie Dow said...

I know, it's very strange isn't it? It appears that the Department of Labor only counts those who receive DBA benefits in its statistics as evidenced by the information on the following form.

See: Defense Base/War Hazards Act Summary By Employer for the period From 03/01/2003 To 07/31/2006 as of August 8, 2006 from the American Contractors in Iraq website.

The document shows Ultra Services on page 7 listed clearly under "Employer" but indicates nothing under the headings NLT, NL0, NL4, DEA, COP, OTH

At the very least, Ryan's death should have been listed as "1" under DEA. It's blank. I'm assuming Kirk would have been listed under OTH. Again, it's blank.


NLT - No Loss Time - No lost time and no medical expense
NL0 - No Loss Zero - No lost time and no medical expense * but may result in a later claim, Questionable No Lost Time Injury**
NL4 - No Loss Four - No lost time, medical expense incurred or expected *
DEA - Death
COP - Continuation of regular pay*
OTH - Other

* found on a DOL form for Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation
** CHAPTER 1-300 - INDEX AND CONTROL at the Department of Labor website

Susie Dow said...


Apparently the Department of Labor self regulates and for privacy reasons does not report figures for any company with fewer than 7 reported incidents. (Nnotice no company has fewer than 7 incidents in the pdf document)

Ultra Services has 3 known incidents which include: the deaths of Ryan Manelick and another employee traveling with him when they were killed by gunfire from a passing vehicle, and the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann.