Sunday, January 20, 2008

Booming Business in Liability Insurance for Feds

Link

WASHINGTON — When Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. came under investigation for ordering the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation videotapes, one of his first calls was to a small Virginia insurance company that thrives on government trouble.

Like a growing number of C.I.A. employees, Mr. Rodriguez, former head of the agency's clandestine service, had bought professional liability insurance from Wright & Company. The firm, founded in 1965 by a former F.B.I. agent, is now paying his mounting legal bills.

The standard Wright policy costs a little less than $300 a year. The government pays half the premium for all supervisors and certain other high-risk employees, a group that includes hundreds of C.I.A. officers, including everyone at the agency involved in counterterrorism or counterproliferation.

The more scandal official Washington produces, the better for Wright's niche business for federal employees. Every whiff of investigation or litigation drives additional nervous federal workers to the company's door.