Why do FLEOs Need Professional Liability Insurance?

Whatever side you are on politically, there is one thing on which everyone can agree. These are turbulent political times in our country. Unfortunately, federal law enforcement officers (FLEOs) are often the face of the U.S. government – and a target for those who disagrees with a government policy.

If there is a government protest or demonstration, federal law enforcement often plays a role. The public not only associates the crisis at the border with politicians of both parties, but also with Border Patrol officers and ICE officers. If U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents make a bust, will they be accused of mistreating suspects?

Employees who work in federal law enforcement such as the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement may be especially at risk.

Here are some examples.

An FBI agent was sued by a Temple University physics professor who was charged with plotting to provide secret U.S. technology to China. Xi Xiaoxing said the FBI wrongly accused him of espionage because they did not understand the technology behind his work in superconductivity. Eventually, the FBI dropped the charges - after he had been arrested and handcuffed at his home while his wife and young daughters were held at gunpoint.i

Two U.S. Park Police officers were sued for unlawfully detaining an African American Secret Service agent who was waiting to accompany a Cabinet secretary’s motorcade. The lawsuit states that they violated the agent’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure.ii

Two advocacy groups and a law firm filed a lawsuit against immigration officers, accusing them of unlawful searches and arrests, racial profiling, and excessive force. The suit, which names nine federal officials and includes 30 unnamed ICE agents, claims the workers' rights during a Tennessee ICE raid were violated, and seeks monetary and punitive damages.iii

When you are a federal law enforcement officer in any government agency, you need Federal Employee Personal Liability Insurance (FEPLI).

While you perform law enforcement duties for the federal government, you can be vulnerable to:

• Civil lawsuits
• Administrative proceedings
• Criminal proceedings

As a law enforcement professional, your actions can be held against you, no matter if you think you were just performing your duties. Even if you are proven to be innocent of all charges, paying for an attorney can be incredibly expensive. Federal Employee Professional Liability Insurance (FEPLI) covers legal defense costs for qualifying claims.

FEPLI offers both legal defense coverage and covers up to $2 million in related liability costs.

Many feds think that it won’t happen to them, but claims come up easier than you may think. Consider the following scenarios:

Civil Lawsuit
A federal law enforcement officer executes a search warrant, and the person being investigated claims your search was unreasonable and violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

A federal law enforcement officer can be slapped with a civil lawsuit when someone outside the federal government claims you violated his constitutional rights. Your agency may decide to defend you – but it also may not. Even if your agency stands up for you, you can still be liable for monetary damages in a lawsuit. In the case of a civil lawsuit, FEPLI coverage provides legal services and covers liability costs for qualifying claims.

Administrative Proceeding
A female trainee accuses a supervisor of harassing her and preventing her from advancing her career.

Administrative proceedings can occur when the federal government investigates one of its employees for incidents such as injury or death occurring on the job, security breaches, regulatory oversight failures, and more. Employment related proceedings can be brought against you if you are accused of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

FEPLI coverage provides employees with legal advice and representation through the investigative and possible disciplinary process.

Criminal Proceeding
A law enforcement officer testifies in a federal criminal trial and is accused of perjury, which leads to a criminal investigation.

Criminal proceedings are triggered by violations of U.S. Code – Title 18: Crimes and Criminal Procedures. Allegations can be based on assault or abuse of authority, falsifying investigative documents, stealing, releasing prohibited information, and more.

The criminals you fight every day may seem to have more rights than you do. To protect your rights you need backup – just like you do when you are in the field making an arrest. Get the insurance protection you need and deserve from Starr Wright USA.

FEPLI offers insurance protection in the following three contexts: Administrative, civil and criminal. Administrative complaints commonly include EEO actions, OIG/OSC investigations, whistleblower complaints, or ethics investigations. In such cases, FEPLI coverage may provide the employee with legal advice and representation through the investigative and/or disciplinary process. Civil actions may commonly include constitutional torts, personal capacity lawsuits, or Bivens actions. In the case of a civil lawsuit, FEPLI coverage provides legal services for qualifying claims.

Starr Wright USA Federal Employee Professional Liability Insurance Provides the Following for Qualifying Claims:

Covers the cost of legal defense, including for accusations of wrongdoing
Provides insurance protection against baseless discrimination or false harassment accusations
Covers expensive liability costs
Can be reimbursed up to 50%*

You get both financial support and legal services from attorneys who specialize in defending federal law enforcement professionals.

Starr Wright USA has been working for federal workers for more than 50 years. We believe that every federal law enforcement officer deserves an advocate.

That's why we created Federal Employee Professional Liability Insurance (FEPLI). If you are ever faced with an allegation of workplace misconduct, it is best to have FEPLI coverage in place. Apply today to get the insurance protection you need.

*Federal agencies are required to reimburse qualified employees up to 50% (or $150) of their FEPLI premium.

Article authored by Starr Wright USA.

Starr Wright USA is a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s). Starr Wright USA is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit WrightUSA.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.

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[i]
Chinese-born professor sues FBI agent over arrest and false espionage accusation
[ii]
Judge: Secret Service agent can sue officers over detention
[iii]
Workers detained in massive Tennessee raid sue ICE officers
Unresolved privacy battle growing between law enforcement and big tech: ANALYSIS
Professional liability insurance can help protect savings
FBI agent sued for killing hostage during rescue attempt
Former FBI agent on gender bias: Male supervisors think women agents are ‘weak’