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Achmea Wins Arbitration Against Slovakia Over Insurance

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Achmea BV won an arbitration case against Slovakia in which the Dutch insurer claimed the country breached investment treaties when it forbade health insurers from making a profit.

The arbiters on Dec. 7 awarded Achmea 22 million euros ($28.4 million) in compensation for damages incurred by its Slovak subsidiary Union AS because of the profit ban, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. The Slovak Finance Ministry is analyzing the verdict, which it considers unenforceable, spokesman Marek Rockar said in an e-mailed statement on Dec. 8. It can be appealed within three months, he added.

The ban was introduced in 2007 by the administration of Robert Fico, who has accused private health insurers of profiting from public funds, which instead should be fully spent on treatment. As the Constitutional Court has since ruled that the measure contradicts the constitution, Fico’s government is pursuing a plan to expropriate private providers and return to a single state-owned insurer.

Two-thirds of Slovakia’s 5.4 million citizens are insured by the state-run General Health Insurance Company. Union has 400,000 clients while Dovera, controlled by the Czech-Slovak private equity group Penta, has 1.4 million clients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Radoslav Tomek in Bratislava at rtomek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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