SLOVAKIA may face another arbitration proceeding as a result of its law banning health insurance companies from extracting profits from their businesses. The Dutch insurance company Eureko, a shareholder of insurer Union Poisťovňa, may initiate arbitration proceedings, the SITA newswire wrote.
At the beginning of September, the six-month deadline for an amicable settlement of the dispute between the shareholder and the Slovak Republic expired. The parties in the dispute were unable to solve the problem by mutual agreement. “The Finance Ministry and a shareholder of the Union Poisťovňa insurer did not reach an agreement,” confirmed ministry spokesman Miroslav Šmál.
He thinks that the insurer's shareholder will take further steps.
However, the insurer was reluctant to provide any comment. Nor did the Health Ministry have any information about the current situation. “The ministry has no updated information about the development and conclusion of the talks, since the Finance Ministry is in charge of the matter,” said Health Ministry spokeswoman Silvia Horváthová.
Eureko sent a pre-arbitration call to Slovak state bodies on March 4. The company was reacting to a revision of the law on health insurance companies that came into force at the beginning of the year.
The revision orders health insurers to reinvest profit from public health insurance in the healthcare system. Health insurers are obliged to do so for the first time in 2009 for profits earned this year. The Union Zdravotná Poisťovňa health insurer was established in 2006.
Slovakia already faces international arbitration in another case. In the second half of July, six months elapsed for amicable settlement between Slovakia and the Dutch shareholder of health insurance company Dôvera, Health Insurance Companies of Eastern Europe (HICEE).
The Dutch shareholder sent a pre-arbitration call to Slovak state bodies in January. HICEE offered Slovakia an out-of-court settlement of damages amounting to Sk15 billion (€498 million).
29. Sep 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports