THE National Insurance Board (NIBTT) is playing its part in the national effort to combat the spread of the covid19 pandemic. In response to questions from Newsday, NIBTT in a statement last week said its goal during this period " is to play its role in supporting vulnerable citizens within its financial, human and technological needs."
The NIBTT said covid19 is recognised as a highly contagious disease under the national insurance (Benefits) regulations 18 (2). This regulation states that an insured person who is required to stay away from work because he or she is under observation as a suspected carrier of a contagious disease or because he has had contact with a case of infectious disease "shall for the purpose of this regulation be treated a a person rendered temporarily incapable of work by reason of illness".
In this regard, NIBTT said it is obligated to assess all covid19-related sickness claims "once the claimant experiences a loss of earnings". The NIB also said on average, it receives about 1,000 applications for sickness benefit annually and pays out "about $50 million annually for this benefit".
The NIBTT said, "No one knows at this time, the current life of this virus, and it will be highly speculative to make reliable projections." But the NIBTT added it will handle all valid claims as required by law. NIBTT added that it does not offer unemployment leave.
NIBTT also said it is awaiting further information regarding Government's proposed pandemic leave and will no speculate about any impact this will have on its funds. At the end of the 2018 financial year, NIBTT said its total funds stood at $27.8 billion. Contribution for the year amounted to $4.6 billion.
Benefit expenditure crossed $.8 billion and is estimated to cross $5 billion for financial year 2020. Apart from actuarial recommendations, NIBTT said, "Our goal is to identify all viable strategies to close the gap and make relevant recommendations to the Government.
NIBTT also said its 2019 annual report has been submitted and its information will be made public when the report is laid in Parliament in accordance with the law.