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Slovakia wins first arbitration case involving private health insurers

Slovakia won its first trial involving private health insurers as the arbitration court ruled that the company’s shareholders do not have the right to ask for a return of lost dividends, the SITA newswire reported.

Slovakia won its first trial involving private health insurers as the arbitration court ruled that the company’s shareholders do not have the right to ask for a return of lost dividends, the SITA newswire reported.

The verdict was confirmed by the Ministry of Finance, which said the arbitration court’s final decision was rendered on Monday, October 17.

Dutch company HICEE B.V., a member of the Penta group and one of the shareholders in the Dôvera and Apollo health insurance companies, claimed that the government of Robert Fico violated the agreement signed between Czechoslovakia and Netherlands over support and mutual protection of investments when it passed the law prohibiting private health insurers to pay dividends unless they fulfilled two requirements: to pay money to establish a reserve fund and to create obligatory technical reserves from which the insurers must pay for treatment of patients registered on waiting lists.

Earlier in the year, the arbitration court passed a ruling in which it said that it had no competencies to judge the case. According to the Finance Ministry, the court accepted Slovakia’s claim that the indirect stake of HICEE in Dôvera and Apollo is not included in the treaty ensuring the protection of investments.

“Regarding the ruling in favour of the Slovak Republic, the arbitration did not reach the phase in which the arbitration tribunal could judge the facts at issue, i.e. whether the change of the laws pertaining to the health insurance really caused a loss to HICEE company,” stated the spokesman for the Finance Ministry, Martin Jaroš, as quoted by SITA.

Slovakia still faces another two international arbitrations as well as three lawsuits filed with Slovak courts by other shareholders of the health insurance companies.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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