Professional Liability Insurance and Eagle

LIABILITY SPOTLIGHT

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State Department and Foreign Service Officers

Your high level of exposure demands the right liability protection. Today's global challenges are dramatically different than they were just a few years ago. Twenty-first Century diplomacy and global security efforts bring renewed scrutiny to State Department and USAID employees.
Additionally, AFSA encourages members to take out professional liability insurance.

FEDS professional liability insurance provides protection in three areas: civil lawsuits, administrative and disciplinary matters, and criminal investigations. PLI becomes necessary when facing:
  • Congressional, OIG or other Administrative Matters/Investigations;
  • Personal Capacity Lawsuits (i.e., Bivens Action); and
  • Criminal Investigations.
Administrative & Disciplinary Matters
FSOs and other State Department employees working in CONUS or abroad are most at risk for administrative and disciplinary matters. This can be in the form of:
  • An OIG, DSS or USAID Office of Security investigation/complaint;
  • A complaint from the public or host Country;
  • An allegation of wrongdoing or management inquiry;
  • Any disciplinary action (i.e., reprimand, suspensions or removals from federal or the Foreign Service); or
  • A whistleblower or ethics complaint.
It is particularly important for FSO's, State and USAID employees to compare PLI providers to ensure that coverage is available for OIG and/or DSS investigations, as well as disciplinary actions that are held in abeyance pending an FSGB appeal or other final action. The FEDS policy provides legal representation at these levels because representation is imperative in the early investigative stages.

For administrative matters, your FEDS policy will pay for legal defense (up to $200,000) to defend the allegations, prepare you for the agency administrative or investigation process, attend the investigative interview with you, and defend you in any resulting disciplinary action at both the agency level and at the MSPB.

Civil Suits
Successful personal capacity suits against federal employees are rare, but it can and does happen. The FEDS policy basically protects you from civil exposure in two major ways:
  1. Legal Defense: The FEDS policy will provide you with an attorney to defend in the event that that the DOJ makes a determination that it is not "in the interest of the United States” to represent you (a discretionary DOJ decision). This can occur notwithstanding that you were clearly acting within the scope of your employment.
  2. Pays Damages: The FEDS policy provides indemnity protection at either the one or two million dollar limit should you be found liable for which the agency will not indemnify. You can be held liable and be forced to pay the judgment even when the DOJ is defending the case. In other words, if DOJ defends and loses, the employee can still be liable.
Criminal Investigations
If you are the subject of a criminal investigation, FEDS will pay for legal defense up to $100,000. The most common criminal investigations involve allegations of providing inaccurate information in an investigative document or court testimony. It is important to note that the FEDS program will NOT seek to recover defense fees, claim expenses or monetary penalties for a criminal proceeding, regardless of the outcome. We at FEDS believe that it defeats the very purpose of the insurance if you’re held financially liable if we provide a covered defense and you lose.

FEDS Protection is Affordable:
$1,000,000 Limit; Annual Premium is $290 plus SL tax
$2,000,000 Limit; Annual Premium is $390 plus SL tax

Enrollment takes just a few minutes AND payroll deduction is available.
Have questions? Call us at 866.955.FEDS (3337) or contact us online.

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