Your Unknown "Insurance Policy"

Many federal employees are unaware of 31 USC 3721, which allows an agency to reimburse an employee for damage or loss of personal property incident to federal service. The agency may pay a claim up to $40,000.00. The employee must present the claim within two years, the employee must prove that her personal property was lost or damaged in connection with employment and that the possession or use of the property was reasonable under the circumstances. The employee must also show that she was not responsible for the loss or damage through her own negligence. Significantly, the employee does not have to show that the loss or damage was caused by the fault of someone else; loss or damage are enough in themselves to justify the compensation. Examples of possible claims under this statute are damage to one's private vehicle while using it in the course of employment or loss of luggage while traveling on official business. We suggest that clients ask their agencies for the agency regulation on claims under this statute. Remember that the agency's denial of a claim under the statute can be the basis of a grievance.