Caytech Electronics and its owner, Marcelo Franca, were fined $8,500 last week for failure to effect and continue a standard health insurance contract as required by the Health Insurance Law.
After the owner pleaded guilty on behalf of the company and himself and attorney Clyde Allen spoke in mitigation, Crown counsel Candia James submitted a list of previous cases and the fines imposed.
Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez said those guidelines, in her opinion, were “way too lenient.” No one detailed the guidelines, but the magistrate later commented that they were very low, considering the penalties that are etched in the law.
The Health Insurance Law states that a person who fails to comply is liable to a fine of $30,000 in Summary Court, and $40,000 in the Grand Court.
The magistrate pointed out that employers know they are legally and morally responsible for having insurance. Apart from the court fine, the consequences could be much more serious if an employee actually needed coverage.
In this case, the company was charged in respect of one employee, for whom there was no insurance in effect between Dec. 1 2010 and Aug. 9, 2012.
The owner of the company was charged for failing to have insurance for himself and his dependents between Aug. 16, 2010 and May 14, 2013.
Mr. Allen asked the court to be as lenient as possible, detailing reasons why his client had difficulty getting insurance coverage.
This led to a discussion of CINICO, the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company Ltd., which, the magistrate noted, had been set up to provide coverage for indigents and uninsurables.
The period for which the employee was not insured was 20 months, and the magistrate imposed a fine of $3,500.
She pointed out that the period for which the employer and his dependants were not insured was close to three years; she fined him $5,000 for this offense.
The magistrate noted there was no evidence as to whether any deductions had been made from the employee’s pay, so she was not taking that factor into consideration.