B-123196, DEC. 16, 1955

B-123196: Dec 16, 1955

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BUREAU OF NARCOTICS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 4. THIS ORDER STATES THAT "CAR OWNERS WILL MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEIR LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICIES ARE IN EFFECT AND KEPT CURRENT. * * * OFFICIAL ASSISTANCE IN IMPORTING. DRIVERS' LICENSES AND SIMILAR BENEFITS WILL BE GRANTED ONLY TO THOSE PREPARED TO COVER THE FINANCIAL RISKS INHERENT IN OWNING AND OPERATING A MOTOR CAR.'. PERMIT HIM TO LEGALLY IMPORT IT OR PROCURE TAX EXEMPTION TO OPERATE THE CAR UNLESS THE INSURANCE WAS SECURED. IT IS A GENERAL POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS AND FUNDS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT USUALLY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE TO COVER LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. 13 COMP.

B-123196, DEC. 16, 1955

TO MR. G. W. CUNNINGHAM, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF NARCOTICS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 4, 1955, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT OF AN ITEM FOR $77.70 CLAIMED AS REIMBURSEMENT OF AN ANNUAL PREMIUM PAID FOR LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE OPERATED IN ITALY AND REGISTERED AS PRIVATELY OWNED IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE OPERATOR'S EMPLOYMENT.

IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXPLANATION OF THE EXPENDITURE FOR LIABILITY INSURANCE, THE PAYEE ADVISED YOU, UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1954, THAT HE INSURED THE VEHICLE PURSUANT TO AMERICAN EMBASSY OFFICE ORDER NO. 46 (REVISED JANUARY 15, 1952) ISSUED IN ROME, ITALY. THIS ORDER STATES THAT "CAR OWNERS WILL MAKE CERTAIN THAT THEIR LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICIES ARE IN EFFECT AND KEPT CURRENT. * * * OFFICIAL ASSISTANCE IN IMPORTING, EXPORTING, OR SELLING AN AUTOMOBILE, OR IN OBTAINING TAX EXEMPTION, TAX FREE GASOLINE, DRIVERS' LICENSES AND SIMILAR BENEFITS WILL BE GRANTED ONLY TO THOSE PREPARED TO COVER THE FINANCIAL RISKS INHERENT IN OWNING AND OPERATING A MOTOR CAR.' HE ALSO STATES THAT THE EMBASSY WOULD NOT PROCURE A ROME LICENSE PLATE FOR THE CAR, PERMIT HIM TO LEGALLY IMPORT IT OR PROCURE TAX EXEMPTION TO OPERATE THE CAR UNLESS THE INSURANCE WAS SECURED.

THE OFFICE ORDER APPEARS TO APPLY ONLY TO PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEES REFERRED TO THEREIN, AND APPARENTLY CONTEMPLATES PAYMENT BY SUCH EMPLOYEES FOR THE INSURANCE. MOREOVER, IT IS A GENERAL POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS AND FUNDS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT USUALLY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE TO COVER LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. 13 COMP. DEC. 779; 14 ID. 836; 23 ID. 269; ID. 297; 4 COMP. GEN. 690; 7 ID. 105; 16 ID. 453; 17 ID. 419; 19 ID. 211; 21 ID. 928. THIS RULE HAS BEEN HELD TO BE APPLICABLE TO INSURANCE AGAINST TORT LIABILITY AS WELL AS INSURANCE AGAINST FIRE, TORNADO AND SIMILAR INSURANCE. 19 COMP. GEN. 798.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE OPERATOR'S EMPLOYMENT, IT APPARENTLY WAS NECESSARY THAT THE CAR HAVE THE APPEARANCES OF BEING THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF THE EMPLOYEE RATHER THAN AN OFFICIAL CAR. THE INSURANCE EXPENSE THUS WAS NECESSARILY INCURRED INCIDENT TO SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE NEED AND MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A NECESSARY EXPENSE IN CARRYING OUT HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. AS THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO CARRYING OUT THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE, PAYMENT OF THE INSTANT ITEM IS AUTHORIZED. ALSO, NO FURTHER OBJECTION WILL BE INTERPOSED BY THIS OFFICE TO THE SIMILAR PAYMENTS MADE FOR THE TWO PREVIOUS YEARS.