LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY
One of the greatest concerns for a company deploying a homeland security product or service (collectively referred to as “technology”) is the extraordinarily large liability it faces should an act of terrorism occur despite the use of their anti-terrorism technology. Legal precedence has shown the liability exposure is large enough to cripple an entire enterprise.
To incentivize the creation and deployment of anti-terrorism technologies and provide liability protection, the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (“SAFETY Act”) was enacted by Congress in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
HOW IT WORKS
Once a company submits an application for a technology they have or wish to bring to market, the Science & Technology Directorate within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“Department”) evaluates it for coverage. The Department’s review process first determines the effectiveness of a technology’s anti-terrorism capability and then its potential liability exposure.
If the application is approved, SAFETY Act protections drastically limit the liability against damage or injury claims that allege failure of the technology or service.
Types of Coverage Offered
There are two levels of coverage provided to companies that manufacture, sell, or deploy SAFETY Act approved technologies:
Designation: SAFETY Act Designation caps a company’s liability to a specific dollar amount, which the Department determines during the evaluation process.
Developmental Test and Evaluation Designation: A subset of the Designation category, this is designed for promising anti-terrorism technologies that are undergoing operational testing and evaluation, and affords similar protections.
Certification: SAFETY Act Certification grants companies the equivalent of the Government Contractor’s Defense, which is immunity from suit.
Another powerful benefit of certification is the flow down liability protection your customers receive by virtue of your SAFETY Act coverage. By choosing your SAFETY Act approved technology over a competitor without SAFETY Act, an end-user receives immunity from claims that attempt to place liability on them for the alleged failure of the technology during an act of terrorism.
WHAT TYPES OF PRODUCTS/SERVICES ARE ELIGIBLE?
Below are some examples of the types of products and services eligible for SAFETY Act protection:
• Biometric Technology
• Blast Mitigation Materials
• Cargo Screening Services
• Cyber Security
• Detectors/Sensors (CBRNE)
• Emergency/Crisis Management Systems
• Integration Services
• Intellectual Property
• IT Software
• People and Baggage Screening Services
• Security Services
• Standards/Best Practices
• Venue-Specific Security Plans
• Vulnerability Assessments
For questions about your specific case, contact us: Akmal.Ali@catalystdc.com
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE YOU’RE APPROVED
If approved for any level of SAFETY Act, your company and a non-proprietary description of your technology will be listed on the Department’s publicly accessible SAFETY Act website www.safetyact.gov, which customers can visit to identify technologies with SAFETY Act coverage in place. The Department will also provide approved companies with the official SAFETY Act seal, which can be used for marketing materials, website advertising, conference exhibition booths, etc.
This third-party validation by the Department of your technology’s stated effectiveness provides a tremendous marketing advantage in that it provides approved technologies with a powerful market differentiator among its competitors.
Typically, SAFETY Act protections are valid for five years. To ensure continuous liability protections, approved companies are encouraged to renew their protections by way of the SAFETY Act Renewal process. The Renewal process requires up-to-date effectiveness data for the technology during the deployment time period. A comprehensive renewal strategy is a must for SAFETY Act protections of any homeland security technology.
In order to help you properly benefit from the advantages the SAFETY Act offers, Catalyst offers support with every step of the SAFETY Act application process. For many businesses, handling an application directly can be time consuming and can burden internal resources by taking staff away from their primary responsibilities. The experts at Catalyst offer the technical background, legal expertise, and federal and industry know-how to help you get your application approved so that you can focus on your business.
Catalyst Partners’ SAFETY Act practice is anchored by Akmal Ali, J.D. Mr. Ali most recently served in role of Deputy Director of the Department’s SAFETY Act office, speaking nationwide on behalf of the Department to numerous associations and private sector organizations.
The experience and expertise Catalyst Partners provides on the SAFETY Act is unmatched. Catalyst Partners provides the ability to assess a technology’s effectiveness and translate that into a successful award of a SAFETY Act Designation or Certification.
The scope of our services can be tailored to your specific needs. For most clients, we provide a “turn-key” solution by crafting the entire application from step one. For other clients, we join efforts while the application process is already underway, if it is moving slowly, or has been stalled. We also offer expert advice on structuring your insurance policies and can refer clients to trusted insurance brokers who understand the SAFETY Act.