Excellence In The Provision Of Social Security

MEDIA RELEASE dated March 01, 2010

The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT) is committed to “Excellence in the provision of social security”.

The National Insurance System (NIS) currently impacts directly on the lives of over 650,000 customers and indeed all citizens across Trinidad and Tobago. It is therefore important that information on the provisions and benefits of the NIS is complete and accurate. Our customers must always be clear about their rights and responsibilities.

In this regard, the NIBTT is concerned about a number of gross inaccuracies and misconceptions in the public domain.

Unsubstantiated inaccurate information will only result in misunderstandings about entitlement to benefits, submission of claims and the security of the National Insurance Fund. This is unacceptable. Further, any attempts to discredit the integrity of the management and staff of the NIBTT should not go unanswered.

The NIBTT team is committed to “delivering meaningful social security products and services to our customers”. A recent customer survey indicated that 88% of our customers are satisfied with our service. We are driven to achieve complete customer satisfaction.

As an institution that has faithfully served the people of Trinidad and Tobago since 1972, we consider it our duty to set the record straight.

National Insurance Benefits

In January 2008, there were increases across national insurance benefits ranging from 25% to 100%. The NIBTT operates a system that offers 23 benefits.

It is worthy of mention that over 50% of the 146,000 beneficiaries of the NIS in 2009 are retirement pensioners who received approximately 80% or $1.61B of benefit payments totaling $2.05B.

Retirement Benefit

The National Insurance Retirement Pension is payable for life to persons who have made at least 750 weekly contributions to the NIS (Benefit Regulations 16 (1)). This is one of the few sources of retirement income that is guaranteed for life. We take pride in our ability to offer a minimum retirement pension of TT$2,000.00.

The NIBTT has no plans to increase the number of contributions required to qualify for a Retirement Pension.

The Retirement age in Trinidad and Tobago is sixty - five (65) years. The National Insurance retirement benefit, however, becomes payable from age sixty (60) provided that the claimant is no longer engaged in insurable employment. Section 2 (1) of the National Insurance Act.

The NIBTT has no plans to amend the Retirement Age

Changes to the Act

In compliance with Sections 22 (1) and 70 (1) of the National Insurance Act, Chapter 32:01, amendments to the National Insurance system can be made only after the completion of an Actuarial Review. The Actuarial Review must be conducted every five years. The NIBTT actively engages all stakeholders (Government, Business, Labour) to comment and make suggestions prior to the conduct of an Actuarial Review. All recommendations are considered. On completion of the Review, stakeholders are again consulted to comment on the recommendations of the Actuary.

Any amendments to the National Insurance Act can only be made with the approval of Parliament. The Seventh Actuarial Review was completed in 2007 and the NIBTT is currently preparing for the Eighth Actuarial Review of the National Insurance System.

Therefore, any comments on changes to the National Insurance System are merely speculative. The public is cautioned against considering these statements as authoritative or even predictive of the NIBTT’s intentions.

National Insurance Contribution Rates

On January 4, 2010 contribution rates were increased from 10.5% to 10.8% of insurable earnings.

In effect, this equates to increases that range from: $0.16 to $1.91 per week for the employee in classes one to sixteen;

$0.32 to $3.83 per week for employers.

Increases in contribution rates serve two purposes. They help fund improved benefits and they ensure the long-term survival of the National Insurance System.

Fund Management

The NIBTT's tri-partite Investment Committee continues to prudently manage investments within a disciplined and exacting policy framework.

In fact, in 2008 the NIBTT was ranked #1 in the world by the International Social Security Agency (ISSA) for returns made by any Social Security agency.

There are four principles at the core of the NIBTT's investment policy -

in ensuring the certainty of recovery of investment capital and the return thereon and the maintenance of the real value of invested funds.

  • by achieving a rate of return that assures the long-term viability of the National Insurance System.
  • Liquidity through ensuring that the investment portfolio is comprised of readily marketable assets.
  • Social and Economic Utility to facilitate growth and development.

This policy clearly establishes the asset mix and the conditions under which investments can be made in securities to generate the rates of return required to ensure the long- term viability of the National Insurance System.

As at June 30th 2009 the total funds of the NIBTT exceeded $17B.


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National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT)