SENATOR WANT NIS TO RECOUP FUNDS PAID TO INJURED EMPLOYEES REIMBURSED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES
By Jenique Belgrave
The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) must be refunded personal injury benefits once insurance companies pay out claims.
Saying the NIS is entitled to recover the money it pays persons when they have to be off work due to injuries sustained in accidents, Government Senator Gregory Nicholls said however that this did not always happen.
He told the Upper House on Wednesday during the debate on the Appropriations Bill 2023 that the law must be reworked to make these payments to the NIS mandatory.
“It should be mandatory that when an insurance claim is paid out that those funds are returned to the NIS. I don’t know if a practice direction has to be given or the NIS regulations have to be changed.
“I also believe that our Queen Elizabeth Hospital and our polyclinics have a right to be compensated for the medical care provided to persons who get into personal injury accidents, work-related accidents, car accidents or so,” he added.
The attorney-at-law said these kinds of injuries cost the health system significant amounts of money.
He pointed out that under the law, employers are allowed to recover money that they pay to their employees when they are off work due to injury and stressed that as public sector workers are not insured for sickness benefits, the state’s case for compensation is “even greater”.
“Government pays the salary to the officer who is out injured. The person is not at work, so no work is being done from that officer. Private sector people can claim that back. It is time that the government puts its house in order in that regard as well. People who provide domestic assistance for injured persons can get compensation from an insurance company in a personal injury claim. We need to regulate the way in which that is done. I know the newspapers might say ‘Nicholls asking for the insurance company to carry up the premiums’, but it’s not fair for the state to be the only contributor to the recovery process of injured persons and it is not getting just due just like the operators in the field in the private sector.
“The insurance companies in Barbados must be required to notify the National Insurance when a personal injury claim comes in and the appropriate steps be taken to ensure that the contributions going out that are recoverable as a legal principle of compensation are recovered by the state as well. If we continue to take out of the funds of the National Insurance system and the funds under its purview without properly topping them back up, when contributions can be legally claimed to top them back up, we are only creating another problem down the road,” he contended.