The Government stopped the authorization of new Occupational Risk insurers due to the crisis in the sector
The Superintendence of Insurance of the Nation solved the suspension for 180 days of the treatment of new entities that seek to operate in the Occupational Hazards branch, due to the financial crisis that the sector is going through as a result of the pandemic. The measure reaches orders in progress that are under analysis by the agency.
The head of the National Insurance Superintendence, Mirta Adriana Guida, adopted the resolution that was published this Friday in the Official bulletin under the number 30/22. According to the law, companies “are in a a complex context due to the effect of compensation paid and pending payment as a consequence of the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Indeed, the ART companies had to assume the coverage of all workers who were infected with Covid-19, in accordance with DNU 367/20, who considered her an unlisted occupational disease, that is, not included in the list of occupational diseases. That happened until December 31, and although the Trust Fund for Occupational Diseases was set up to cover the expenses, and it was insufficient.
as published THE NATION, that fund had been created 25 years ago, and was constituted from a fixed charge of $0.60 per worker. To recapitalize it in the midst of the pandemic, the fixed charge was increased to 40 pesos per employee. The background had 5.6 billion pesos, but in a short time, it ran out.
As a basis for the suspension of the entry of new players into the Occupational Risks sector, the Government stated that as of November 30, 2021, this fund had a negative balance of more than 3,000 million pesos. And, although since January 1 it is the companies that must cover the cases of Covid-19, the deficit situation of the fund does not seem to change.
“Depending on the exhaustion of the monetary sums of the Fund, Work Risk Insurers they have had and must face the payments attributable to it with their own resources, which will be reimbursed once their balance is recomposed”, considered the SSN in the resolution.
According to the balance made by the state agency, the Fund provided coverage “to date” to 470,000 workers “with monthly disbursements that exceed 1500,000,000, while income from contributions referred to these workers reach the 400.000.000″.
In this sense, it was recorded that, during June 30, 2021, in the last fiscal year, insurers faced the payment of claims and benefits by Covid for a sum equal to 7600 million pesos.
However, he also stated that there 3,700 deaths from Covid coverage seated in the record of complaints in charge of the Superintendency of Occupational Risks, “most of them pending payment to date”.
However, the agency founded the need to stop the authorization of new entities. “The entry of new operators into the labor risk market would translate into a situation of commercial inequality that does not seem reasonable to sustain,” he pointed out.
The Superintendence of Insurance mentioned a case resolved by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in 1990 (CSJN, 09/18/1990, “Reaseguradora Argentina SA: v. Estado Nacional”, R. 411-XXII, RE, ED 141-828) in which the need to observe the effects that the authorization of a new entity on “the economic balance” of the firms that already operate.
In this way, the SSN remarked that “any new operator would be in a better condition than existing entities, given that would not bear the weight of the claims caused by Covid-19 and its consequences on the financial aspects of the remaining entities”.
The president of the Union of Labor Risk Insurers (UART), Mara Bettiol, had recognized THE NATION that all companies in the sector had to quickly adapt their systems to deal with a new disease. If they went on to cover occupational accidents, they had to have a network made up of pulmonologists, infectologists or clinical doctors.
The expiration of the term in December of the decree that considered the coronavirus as an unlisted occupational disease, and that therefore, the infection had a presumably occupational character, unleashed a battle between companies, social projects and ART.
It was the Occupational Risk insurers that until now covered the benefits from the Trust Fund for Occupational Diseases which, however, was quickly exhausted. The lack of renewal of the measure opted for them to be the employers who must take care of medical assistance, hospitalizations and medications.
“With this level of cases, companies are not going to be able to bear it. We are going to have to cover all the isolations and there is no more aid such as ATP, reductions in social charges or employer contributions. It’s a huge burden at a time when we’re just beginning to recover.”, he had recognized days ago THE NATION Raúl Zylbersztein, Secretary General of the General Business Confederation of the Argentine Republic (CGERA).
The only ones who are currently covered by the ART are health professionals and security personnel, given that the Superintendence of Occupational Risks made it clear, through a resolution, that the infection is understood as inherent to their work performance.