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Private health insurers lawsuit ends before European Court of Arbitration

The European Court of Arbitration in Strasbourg has decided not to continue hearing a lawsuit concerning the legislative ban imposed on health insurance companies paying dividends on their profits, the TASR newswire reported. "The decision in question doesn't mean that the amendment to the Act on Health Insurers was a correct move. Likewise, it doesn't mean that the amendment violated a bilateral agreement between the Netherlands and Slovakia," said Martin Danko, PR manager of Penta Group, which has private health-insurer Dôvera in its portfolio. A company named HICEE, a Dutch shareholder in Dôvera, filed the lawsuit against the Slovak state.

The European Court of Arbitration in Strasbourg has decided not to continue hearing a lawsuit concerning the legislative ban imposed on health insurance companies paying dividends on their profits, the TASR newswire reported.

"The decision in question doesn't mean that the amendment to the Act on Health Insurers was a correct move. Likewise, it doesn't mean that the amendment violated a bilateral agreement between the Netherlands and Slovakia," said Martin Danko, PR manager of Penta Group, which has private health-insurer Dôvera in its portfolio. A company named HICEE, a Dutch shareholder in Dôvera, filed the lawsuit against the Slovak state.

The legislation that banned health insurers in Slovakia from paying dividends on their profits was passed by the Slovak parliament in 2008 during the previous government led by Robert Fico. HICEE filed suit in January 2009, claiming some €500 million in compensation for damage done to its investment. In November of 2009, the European Commission stepped in, launching an infringement procedure against Slovakia.

The Health Ministry argued that when it introduced the ban it was acting in line with valid legislation. Slovakia's Constitutional Court in January 2011 ruled that the legislation was not in line with the Constitution. The current Government led by Iveta Radicova responded to this by amending the law to make it possible for health insurers to pay dividends on profits as of August 2010.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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