Journalism in the Public Interest

AIG Faces Hearing on Denial of Medical Claims by Contractors Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, announced today that a panel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on June 18 to examine whether AIG and other major insurance carriers have inappropriately denied medical claims of contractors injured on the job in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kucinich, the chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, said earlier that he was "alarmed" by a joint investigation by ProPublica, ABC News and the Los Angeles Times, which found that the troubled insurance giant routinely denied medical care to civilians injured in the war zones. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., first requested a hearing after the reports aired earlier this year.

Kucinich's panel will be joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has also expressed concern over the billion-dollar government-funded system to care for injured civilians. Sanders had planned to hold hearings in the Senate but decided instead to join Kucinich's panel because the Senate health and labor committee has a heavy schedule of health care reform hearings this summer.

Under a federal law known as the Defense Base Act, contractor companies are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees deployed to a war zone. AIG dominates the market for such insurance, handling nearly 90 percent of all claims in Iraq. Government audits and inquiries have questioned whether AIG and other carriers charged "excessive" premiums for the insurance. Taxpayers ultimately pay for such insurance as part of the contract price.

"The hearing will explore ways to increase oversight and improve the [Defense Base Act] workers' compensation program in order to enhance protections afforded to injured civilian contractors," according to a release (PDF) from the subcommittee, which oversees labor issues.

Injured civilian workers, representatives from AIG and other carriers, and officials with the Labor Department, which oversees the program, are expected to testify. AIG has said it would "fully cooperate" with requests for documentation from the committee. The company maintains that the "vast majority" of claims are paid without dispute "when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received."

Barry Schmittou

June 9, 2009, 1:25 a.m.

I have provided you with evidence (including quotes from U.S. Judges) that prove this exact same thing is happening in Workers Comp and disability cases throughout the nation.

You can see the evidence by going to

I have had cancer burned from one eye and am very disappointed that Propublica will not do anything to help !!

Thank you for all the hard work that you have done T. Miller.  It has been a long road for all of us.  The only thing we can hope for is that they look at all the facts.  Not just numbers.  They need to look at the facts that they are denying the worst of the worst injuries.  The ones that they know that they will be paying on for long period of time.  They deny the claims that are none scheduled Neck, shoulder, head, brain and back. 
I hope they look at not only the contractors but what happens when they deny the contractors.  What happens to the family element.  Who ends up paying in the long run the tax payer does.  So the tax payer pays more money out in the long run.  Not only for the contractor but for his family.  The family ends up with no insurance for years and years, no help from the company they contractor worked for or the insurance company.  We live in a world of wondering day to day of hoping that the next check comes so we don’t lose the roof over our heads. 
There are laws set in place to protect our families but these laws have been ignored.  Many of these contractors are prior military and it is sad that they are treated like trash for going over and supporting the effort overseas.  Just because they are no longer in uniform their lives are not worth no less then the men or women serving next to them.  These men and women are the people making sure that are soldiers are getting their food, getting from one place to another, their mail, some make sure our soldiers are safe, some even protect our high ranking officials. 
Now it is time to start treating them the right way.  We hear that if the paper work is in order.  Well when these men and women are taken off the battle field. Are they to yell “Wait don’t remove me from here until you sign this paper work.”  When is it time to say wait a minute, give me a break and use common sense in a matter.  We know these men and women did not get blown up walking across the street going to the market at home. 
Thank you to Congress and Senate for helping but please just look at all the facts.  Listen to all of us look at all the facts.  Don’t let lawyers pull the wool over your eyes.

“when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.” . . . .

It doesn’t seem to matter if you have the required documentation or not . . . your claim will be denied anyway. I have documentation of the truck accident, documentation from my doctor, a state certified worker’s compensation doctor, a state certified psychologist, a neurologist and a mental health counselor and still AIG’s attorney says that I must prove that I was seen by KBR medics within 30 days of the accident . . that’s the part that I can’t prove . . KBR’s lousy record keeping is keeping my claim in limbo, my word that I was seen by the medics is not good enough for the DoL to approve my claim to be heard by an ALJ. Plus, the KBR medics motto is 1) see your personal medical provider when you are on R&R and 2) drink more water (no matter what your complaint is).

In the meantime I haven’t been able to work in almost 3 years. If not for my family I would have been on the streets a long time ago, and to continuously see the extragavant “weekends” and exhorbitant bonuses awarded to AIG, for losing billions of taxpayers dollars, while I go without medical care, that has already been payed for by the taxpayers, is enough to make me wonder why I volunteered to help our military in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of the work I did, and I would volunteer again, but I would definitely do more research on the companies and their insurance carriers before taking on a high risk job again.

Barry Schmittou

June 9, 2009, 11:44 a.m.

This is really organized crime because multiple insurance companies are blatantly violating the law in numerous types of Workers’ Comp, Disability and HMO cases, and the medical doctor’s paid by the insurance companies are also criminal participants.

Then add the insurance company attorneys who work for private law firms as they who openly lie in Court.

Please look at to see how the insurance company crimes that are being committed in Iraq and Afghanistan are also occuring in multiple types of insurance in the U.S., and so many lives are being destroyed, but no one in government will take the comprehensive action that is necessary !!

This is the accountability that I have been stating about.  Our contractors can not be accountable to make sure that the companies do their jobs.  All we can be accountable is for ourselves.  The oversight is to be done by the DOL and the DBA laws.  The problems that we have is that the DOL allows the lawyers who represent the firms of AIG and CNA and other insurance companies to sit in when the laws are written.  So they may reword things so they can put the loop holes in for themselves.  The complications in the law and they are to vast.  In the military we have a term it is K.I.S.S.  I use it with my children.  I think the government needs to start using it also.  It would make life and government work allot smoother.  KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. 
If the contractor is overseas working or is under contract and is hurt the injury is paid for.  No if ands or but about it.  If a doctor overseas or stateside says that that person is injured and needs the surgery then there should be no question.  If several doctors say that that person is damaged no question.  Stop paying these high priced lawyers to file these papers and drag out things that should not be dragged out.  It cost the taxpayer more and the contractors more in lawyer fees then it would then just to pay the bills and the contractor.
Honestly maybe it is time that CNA and AIG and the other insurance companies hand over the claims to a third company for review.  Hand it over to a non profit organization of that has no interest in money that is saved or spent by insurance company.  The only interest they have would be to get the correct result for the injured and taxpayers.  Not for the bottom line of the insurance company.  Only for the rights of fallowing the laws of the DBA laws. 
The filing of all these motions in court, flying attorneys all over the states, fly nurses to doctors appointment to oversee appointments and then dragging out, denial, cutting off medical, and financial support to the contractor and their families.  For them to loose everything they have. 
These people are the start of what is bringing down our country today.  The money hungry men and women that don’t care that they are killing families.  Taking not only the contractors lives in their hands and destroying them because they can not get the medical help they so desperately need.  Many have lost the battle for their lives waiting for the medial attention they they have been denied. 
While others have lost their families to the financial struggles, their homes, savings, children, health insurance, sanity, cars and the will to go on with the fight.
I am one of the few that will speak up and put my name to it.  I have nothing for them to take anymore.  I have lost everything.  While I watch my husband in pain.  Here is my site that I have started this year.
This site was started after a year of the insurance company playing games with us.  Stopping payments to checks after we deposited it, cutting our pay (after they found out I was going to have Surgery), cutting off insurance and walking away from binding arbitration when the agreed to come to the table with a higher amount. These are just a few of the games they love to play with our heads.  So don’t let them say the pay most of the claims.  They pay the small claims.  They pay the claims that they know the contractor will be able to go back to work.  They pay the claims when they know nothing more will come out of their pocket.  They will fight,deny and delay anything they can that will have to be kept on the books and paid out for a long period of time.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories