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Military contractors are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with many of the same physical and mental issues of the soldiers they work next to. More than 1,400 civilian workers have died and 31,000 have been wounded or injured in the two war zones. Where soldiers turn to military coverages and veteran benefits, civilians rely upon a federally supervised insurance system.

AIG has been one of the prominent providers that have received government paid premiums of more than $1.5 billion and raked in nearly $600 million in profit.

At the same time, these insurance companies have initially rejected 44% of the claims. Their response has been to point out that under governmental rules, they only get 14 days to decide what to do with a claim. So their response is: Deny, Defend and Delay. When an injury resulted in more than four days of lost work — about 9,000 of 31,000 total war zone claims — insurers filed a protest in nearly half of cases. Even when a worker was killed, the companies filed protests in more than a third of cases. Fortunately, of the cases litigated, 70% of them are being paid in the end. But, these numbers seem to confirm the frivolousness of the denials.

Federal audits have also found that the premiums being paid are unreasonably high. AIG charged contracting giant KBR $284 million in premiums on a single insurance contract from 2003 to 2005. AIG is expected to pay $73 million for the care of injured KBR workers.

So here we have a company that is already turning to the government to save it, and seems to be substantial into the government for premium payments, mistreating those who are working to protect this country and the free market they so often tout. The insanity of the whole mess is somewhat revolting.

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