From the beginning of its activity the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS) is undertaking many initiatives for the benefit of cooperation with foreign insurance institutions and organizations in Europe.
The exchange of experiences with German and French experts in the field accompanied the drafting process of the Act on the Social Security of Farmers.
Membership in the International Social Security Association (ISSA) plays an important role in the international contacts of KRUS. The membership dates back to 1991 when the ISSA Council approved KRUS as a member of ISSA during the 61st session on 21 November 1991 in Geneva. The membership allows the Fund to take part in the association's activities, conferences, trainings, symposia, and colloquia about social security, prevention, and rehabilitation, which is an opportunity to learn world-standard solutions.
There are 11 branch sections in ISSA. Since KRUS became an ISSA member, it has been actively participating in operations of the ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture. The ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture, established in 1969, realizes tasks related to prevention of accidents and occupational diseases for all those employed in agriculture and forestry, which is also one of the Fund's statutory tasks. Entrusting KRUS representatives with the most important positions in the Section's authorities and moving the General Secretariat from Germany to Poland, was a recognition of the KRUS' activities within ISSA and the commitment of the KRUS representatives in the development of the ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture.
The Fund President performs function of the Section's President and initiates the actions promoting safe work and prevention on a farm, which are carried out on a broad scale.
Since 2000 KRUS is also a full member of the European Forum of Insurances Against Accidents at Work and Occupational Diseases. Activity of the Forum aims at exchange of experiences and information in the field of an effective protection against professional risks at work.
In June 1999 the President of KRUS made a decision to apply or admittance of KRUS to this organization. In the same year, at the working session of the Forum in Helsinki, our institution was admitted univocally to the European Forum and became its 15th member. In 2000 the President of KRUS signed the statutes of the Forum officially.
Within its cooperation with the Forum in the years 2006-2010 the Fund undertook - together with the German institution HVBG (now DGUV) - to organize the international congresses devoted to accident insurance, prevention and rehabilitation in agriculture and medical rescuing.
One of the most important foreign partners of the Fund is MutualitĂŠ Sociale Agricole (MSA) from France. The French system of social security for farmers was the point of reference at the creation of the concept of the system of social insurance for farmers in Poland.
In 1993 both institutions began their cooperation following the agreement signed in Bordeaux, France, on 9th October 1992. A partnership was established between the KRUS's 49 Regional Branches and MSA's 54 Department Funds; the cooperation was based on the exchange of groups of specialists in various fields of social security. Works aiming at making the cooperation even closer resulted in signing of The Protocol of Cooperation Between the KRUS and MSA in the Field of Development, Modernisation and Improvement of the Polish Farmers' Social Protection on 19 December 2000. The appointed working teams diagnosed the situation of farmers and rural population in an especially difficult situation. A two-year long 5 towns pilot project organised by the KRUS, with the help from the MSA, realised in five selected KRUS regional branches: Częstochowa, Kielce, Lublin, Siedlce, and Katowice, was completed in 2004. The undertaking allowed to find solutions which would make it possible to overcome difficult conditions and social problems.
Next, creation of the European Network of Agricultural Social Protection Systems (ENASP) within the European Union was started. The network represents the interests of agricultural social protection at the European level, in synergy with its members' own initiatives. Acting as a forum for consultation with European authorities, it also works as a place for exchanging information and
good practices between its members and all its partners in the field of social protection.
Within cooperation with ENASP the Fund participated in the general European research devoted to poverty and exclusion of thepopulation from rural areas.
In 2004 the Central Fund of the MSA proposed KRUS and other institutions from Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany to participate in the EU LEONARDO program in the years 2000-2006. Main purpose of the program was to decrease the accident rate and improve work conditions in the areas in which the contact between a human and an animal is of primary importance, i.e.: in breeding and transportation of animals, in veterinary, therapy and training concerning animal behavior.
Among the important directions in the international activity of KRUS there is a cooperation with the State Social Insurance Fund Board of the Republic of Lithuania (SODRA). The agreement with SODRA was signed in 1993. Agreement is based on exchanging the groups of employees in order to show them in practice both insurance systems in two countries with organization of work in their insurance institutions.
Cooperation with SODRA was initiated in one of the first Conferences of the Baltic States which are organized since 1992, in which from the beginning participates KRUS.
The purpose of the Conference of the Baltic States devoted to social security is the meeting of the representatives of highly developed countries (Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) and the Baltic countries, where the political system has changed and the social security systems are transformed and reformed (as it happened in Poland, Russia, Latvia, Estonia and in Lithuania).
The Fund's membership in ISSA and involvement in the works of the ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture contributed to the establishment of cooperation with the German Federation of Agricultural Proffesional Associations - BLB from Germany (BLB was transformed and at the moment it is called Spitzenverband der landwirtschaftlichen Berufsgenossenschaften- LSV-SpV). Joint activities of the KRUS and BLB managements in the ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture strengthened their mutual interest in social insurance systems and social security of farmers. The German partners helped us in drafting the Act on Social Security of Farmers, since the German farmers' social insurance system was deemed exemplary, as Germany was one of the first countries to recognize the farmstead dangers. An agreement of cooperation between both institutions was signed in 1999 covering the fields of rehabilitation, organization and joint conferences for the KRUS and BLB doctors.
The cooperation of the Fund and the Austrian Institution of Farmers Social Insurance - SVB, similarly as in the case from BLB from Germany, also started from common activity in the ISSA International Section on Prevention in Agriculture. Contacts between the representatives of both institutions are very intense and bring benefits to both parties.
What should be also mention is the role of the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund in the development of the International Association of Labor Agricultural Medicine and Rural Health - IAAMRH. KRUS, from the beginning of its functioning supported the Association in its activity together with other healthcare institutions and research facilities in Poland by participating actively in the works of the subsequent Congresses of this Association.
KRUS maintains numerous contacts with many other social security institutions in Europe such as MELA from Finland, with which an appropriate agreement was signed in 2003, with DGUV (former HVBG) and with Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund from Germany. At the moment of joining the EU the KRUS became even more interesting partner for a number of foreign institutions in the insurance area. Fund signed many bilateral agreements on social security, e.g. with Australia, Canada, Korea, Norway, United States and the Republic of Macedonia.
Nowadays KRUS is one of the most enterprising social security institutions on the international arena. The Fund's representatives are invited to different conferences as experts, they participate in scientific research and initiate and implement programs concerning social security, prevention and healthcare for individual farmers.