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Why are forest rangers not insured?

The families of those who died while extinguishing a fire in the Abay region will be each paid seven million from the Kazakhstan Khalkyna fund. Another two million will be allocated for each minor child. It seems that the sums are not bad, but they will not provide full security that could replace the income of the dead, the Delovoy Kazakhstan newspaper writes.
Why are forest rangers not insured?

There is compulsory insurance of workers against accidents in our country. However, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources does not insure foresters, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population does not notice this.

There are three levels of employee protection in our country. The first level of social protection provides for receiving a basic benefit from the state in case of disability or loss of a breadwinner in the family. The second level of protection includes payments from the State Social Insurance Fund (SSIF). In the event of disability, the fund is obliged to regularly pay insurance benefits to the injured worker. When determining the amount of benefits, both the employee’s work experience and the degree of loss of the capacity for work are taken into account. The third level of social protection provides for insurance benefits made by insurance companies.

According to duty and conscience

A law that obliges every employer to insure their employees against accidents that occur in the course of performing work duties was passed in 2005. Even as 15 years have passed since the law adoption, there are still companies and, as the latest tragedy proves, even government agencies, that do not conclude the compulsory insurance contract for their employees.

According to the National Bank’s statistics, the premiums of life insurance companies in the sector "Insurance of employees against accidents in the performance of their labor duties" (CAI) grew by 64.7% in April 2023 against an increase of 64.8% in March (all - year by year). Cash fees were 25.9 billion tenge.

“Don't pay attention to the numbers. In fact, no more than 30-35% of employers in the country insure their employees against accidents today. And these are the employers who are often audited by various authorities. These are usually production, the real sector of the economy. State-owned enterprises are rarely inspected, so there is no need for officials to protect employees,” said a source familiar with the situation.

According to speaker, there are exceptions to the law. For example, CAI is not mandatory for companies in the form of a CGU (communal government agency).

“I assume that forestry in our country is designed in this form. Everyone knows that the work of foresters is dangerous: they can freeze or fall under an avalanche in winter; there are floods of rivers and lakes in spring, and there are also poachers and wild animals. But the law was passed not in favor of ordinary people. And here you, journalists, need to look for developers and talk with deputies. The situation needs to be corrected. Seven million is a little more than 15 thousand dollars. Is it possible to raise children on this amount?!”

The speaker is outraged

Without changing the legislation, the situation could be corrected by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population. As of June 1, state labor inspectors revealed wage arrears to 15.3 thousand employees in the amount of more than 2.8 billion tenge at 481 enterprises of the country. The executives of these enterprises were issued 570 mandatory orders and imposed fines in the amount of more than 78.3 million tenge.

“The powers of the MLSPP are much broader, but for some reason, officials do not see a problem in Kazakhstanis who are not insured by the state. Moreover, according to my information, employees of many government agencies are not insured against accidents, that is, the situation in the Ministry of Ecology is the rule, not the exception. And in this regard, let me remind you that the Ministry of Labor is now trying to take this type of insurance into a state-owned company. Are this "blindness" and the latest initiative of the Ministry of Labor connected? I don't know,” says a source in Astana.

How much is CAI and what does it guarantee?

Employee accident insurance is a process in which legal entities, such as LLPs and sole proprietorships, enter into an insurance contract to provide protection for their employees in the event of accidents that occur in the course of performing their work duties.

The minimum amount of insurance premium is 1 minimum wage (70 thousand tenge in 2023). However, in case of accident, the insurance company pays the employee. The amount of harm is determined by the degree of loss of the employee's capacity for work. The amount of compensation to the employee depends on the degree of loss. The amount of compensation is calculated based on the average monthly salary but cannot be more than 10 minimum wages (in 2023 - 700,000 tenge).

If an employee dies, funeral expenses will be reimbursed. Compensation is received by the person who carries out the burial. The insurer makes payments in the amount of 100 MCI. If the amount of insurance benefit, funeral expenses is more than the insurance coverage under the contract, the employer pays the difference to the insurer.

“According to the Civil Code, the employer is liable to their employees in the event of an accident that occurs during the performance of their work duties. If the employees were not insured, the company will be obliged to compensate for the damage with its own funds. In the event of serious injury or death, such payments may continue for a long time. Therefore, if now good lawyers come to the families of the victims, I believe they have every chance to win cases against state employers, and they will have to be paying a separate pension to children for many years, says a source in Astana. – That is why, I do not recommend that employers violate Kazakhstani legislation and insure their employees against accidents. During force majeure, payments will be made by insurers for a long time,” concluded the source, who wished to remain anonymous.

Beyond the budget

While the Ministry of Ecology saves on foresters' insurance, their families are helped by ordinary Kazakhstanis, financial organizations and businesses. Thus, people will receive three million tenge from Halyk Bank. The financial organization will also write off all loans to them. The Eurasian Bank is also canceling the debts of dead people. Freedom Holding Corp. together with Semey Cement Plant LLP will make annuity payments to the families of those killed in the fire. Under the terms of the program, in favor of minor children whose fathers died during a natural disaster, monthly payments of 200,000 tenge will be made until the children reach the age of 18.


Photos are from open sources.

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