Sixty companies “red-flagged” RST investigates SZV insurance car d fraudPOSTED: 04/5/16 9:00 PM
St. Maarten News – The Detective Collaboration Team (RST) is currently investigating fraud with SZV-insurance cards, SZV’s interim director Glen Carty told this newspaper yesterday. The insurer has sixty local companies ‘red-flagged” in connection with the fraud.
The fraud first came to the public eye when UP-faction leader Franklin Meyers made a remark about it in a meeting of parliament on March 9 of last year. His information came from a closed door meeting with SZV.
Four days later, on March 13, SZV filed a complaint about irregularities with the issuance of its insurance cards.
The insurer had found that companies registered people for a fee as their employees and even put them on their payroll while in reality they were not working for the company. This way, the ghost employees were able to obtain health insurance from SZV and residence papers.
The prosecutor’s office said yesterday that the investigation is ongoing and that it will therefore not provide specific information about it at this point in time.
Carty said that the system at SZV is “currently reasonably air tight” because insurance cards are now processed electronically.
“We have red-flagged sixty companies. If they apply for SZV-cards or for renewals we conduct additional controls. We visit those companies and say: you have so many people on the payroll. Where are they?”
With e-SZV the insurer has moved one step closer to e-Health and from there on to e-Government.
Shortly, SZV will make a presentation to the Council of Ministers about the advantages of e-Government. The St. Maarten ID-card could be equipped with a chip that contains all information about its bearer.
“With this system we will be able to solve island-wide fraudulent behavior,” Carty said. “There is one small problem, because SZV also insures undocumented people. We will issue an SZV chip card to them but that way you know immediately who is legal and who is illegal. Then it is up to the immigration department to accost the employer of these people and give them six weeks to get their papers in order.”
According to the SZV-director, the chip card will also bring costs down.
On the financial end, SZV has started to become more pro-active with the collection of premium arrears from companies. “We come in peace,” Carty said. “We are not after closing down businesses. We will show what the arrears are according to our administration and compare notes. Once we have an agreement, we want the companies to stay current with their payments. For solving the arrears, we make a payment plan; that could be for six months, but, depending on the situation, also two years or even longer.”
Last year, SZV improved its premium collection by 10 percent, Carty said.