History

History of the National Insurance Services

The National Provident Fund laid the foundation for the National Insurance Scheme. It was designed to provide some form of social security to the people of St. Vincent & Grenadines. Act 1 of 1970 established it in 1970. The first Director was Mr. Claude Samuel. The succeeding Directors were Basil Coombs, Alison Lewis, Frederick Providence and Hugh Dougan. The benefits structure consisted of Old Age Pension, Death Benefit to the named beneficiary, and Permanent Incapacitation Benefit. The NPF benefit was paid in a lump sum based on accumulated contributions with interest. The total contribution rate was 10%.
The benefits provided by National Provident Fund were limited and inadequate. As a result, in 1982 it was recommended that the NPF be replaced by a comprehensive social Insurance scheme to provide protection for all employed persons. The NPF Act was repealed and replaced by the NIS Act #33 of 1986.

1987 The National Insurance Scheme became operational on 5/01/87.

  • The Prime Minister & Minister responsible for NIS was The Right Honorable Sir James Mitchell
  • The first Administrative Director – Mr. Hugh Dougan
  • Deputy Director- Mr. Christopher Da Silva
  • A 9-member board was established for the first time
  • Chairman – Mr. Henry Gaynes
  • Deputy Chairman – Arnet Cambridge
  • NIS Director – Hugh Dougan
  • Board Member – Charles Antrobus
  • Board Member – Kenneth Gonsalves
  • Board Member – Susan Joachim
  • Board Member – Gurney Gibson
  • Board Member – Conrad Sayers
  • Board Member- Sony Boyce
  • The staff compliment was 24 workers.

Six benefits were introduced at the inception:
Sickness, Maternity, Funeral Grant, Age, Invalidity and Survivor’s. Six months after inception, the first sickness benefit was paid to Charles Albert Joseph. Four weeks after, the first maternity benefit was paid. The maternity grant was $50 and the funeral grant was $500.
The Maximum Insurable Earnings- $1670 per month or $385 per week,total Contribution rate – 5.5%, employee’s 2.5% Employer’s 3%. There were 784 registered employers and 15,361 registered employees
Total benefits payments amounted to $80,000
The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $57 million, Net Income-$7.7 million and total reserves – $57 million

1988 The total benefit payments amounted to $80,296.
The Scheme’s financial position:
Income from total contributions amounted to $6.5 million (13.5% increase from 1987). Net Income – $8.2 million, total Assets amounted to$74.9 million (14.5% increase) and total reserves –$65 million

1989 We bid farewell to Mr. Hugh Dougan and welcomed Mr. Castine I. Quashie as Administrative Director
Persons became eligible for the first reduced Age Pension, Survivor’s and Invalidity benefit. The first Age Pensioner was Winnifred John and the first Invalidity Pensioner was Robert Williams.
National Insurance Scheme Sports & Cultural Club was formed.
Motto: “Discipline, Responsibility & Amity”
Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income – $9.6 million, Total Assets – $74.9 million, total Reserves – $74.7 million.

1990 The NIS Sports & Cultural Club participated in the National Drama Festival with its presentation Melba’s Calamity. It placed third in that competition.
The first Survivor’s Pension paid to the survivors of Alanzo Jacobs (Eve Jacobs, Mark Jacobs and Joshau Jacobs)
The Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income- $9.7 million, Total Assets – $84.7 million, total Reserves – $84.4 million

1991 The NIS Sports & Cultural Club entered the National Drama Festival with the presentation “Cover Me With Your Love”. It placed second in the competition.
The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $95.4 million, net Income – $10.8 Million, total Reserves – $95.3 million

1992 The NIS office was relocated to the present Headquarters- The Administrative Center
Mr. Lynford James was appointed as the Director and Mr. Reginald Thomas Deputy Director
The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $106.5 million; net Income – $10.8 million and total Reserves –$95.3 million
The first actuarial review was done by Mr. Francisco Bayo, the Principal conclusions:

  • The NIS is actuarially sound.
  • The 5.5% will be sufficient to finance the benefit payments.
  • The insurable earning ceiling needs to be increased
  • The benefit payments need to be increased
  • Employment Injury Benefits should be added to the insurance system.
  • The computerization of most operations should be considered.

The NIS Sports & Cultural Club participated in the National Drama Festival with its presentation “Ten Thousand Dollars–Go High, Go Low”

1993 The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $117.7 million, net Income – $11 million, total Reserves – $117.3 million

1994 Mr. Reginald Thomas became the Executive Director, he is the longest serving Director.
Board of Directors:

  • Arnhim Eustace – Chairman
  • Lawrence B. Duncan – Deputy Chairman
  • Reginald Thomas – NIS Executive Director
  • Hudson Williams – Board Member
  • Elliot Sprott – Board Member
  • Sonny Boyce – Board Member
  • Julian Jack – Board Member
  • George Reddock Board Member
  • Manual De Freitas – Board Member

The second Actuarial Review was done, principal Conclusions:
(1) Amendments to Benefits:
Maternity Grant increased to $200, funeral Grant increased to $2000, funeral Grant payable on death of spouse – $1000, funeral Grant payable on death of children ($200-$1000), the establishment of Minimum Age pension of $40 per week
(2) NIS should improve the degree of compliance in the collection of contributions.
(3) Because of the expected fast accumulation of funds more short, medium, and long-term investment goals should be developed.
NIS was non-aligned from the Civil Service
NIS operations were computerized
The Mortgage Finance Programme operated by NCB was started
The NIS Student Loan Programme was implemented
The Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income – $11.3 million; Total Assets – $129.2 million, total Reserves – 128.6 million

1995 Pensioners’ Appreciation Day was introduced
The third Actuarial Review was completed, summary of Recommendations:
1.   Increase in the Contribution Ceiling to $2600 per month and $600 per week
2.   Inflation increases for the existing age pension
3.   Increase in the rate of survivor’s pensions
4.   Increase in the rate of short-term pension payments
The introduction of the monthly turnaround document
The first seminar conducted by Social Security, USA for senior and junior staff
The formation of the NIS in-house work teams:
Team Glue, Little Lights, Spiwiks & Star Reachers
NIS became a member of CISS
The restructuring of the organization:
The following positions were added:
Manager of Compliance, Manager of Benefits, Manager of Registration & Contribution
The Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income – $10.7 million, Total Assets $141.8 million, total Reserves – $141 million

1996 The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $154.8 million;
Net Income – $13.1 million, total Reserves – $154.1 million
The financial and accounting regulations were enacted

1997 The National Insurance Scheme celebrates 10 years of service to the nation.
The Scheme’s financial position:
Total assets amounted to $154.8 million and total reserves amounted to 154.1 million; total Net Income – 14 million; the value of the investment portfolio was $146.2 million
The following benefits were added:

  • Employment Injury
  • NAAP – there were 1300 recipients

Voluntary Contribution & self- Employed coverage were added
The total contribution rate increased to 6%-Employer’s – 3.5% Employee’s – 2.5%
0.5% for Employment Injury Benefit
The introduction of the NIS Annual Awards Dinner. Employees with 10 or more years of service were awarded for their long service.
NIS donated an Ultrasound machine to the General Hospital.

1998 A new Chairman of the Board – Mr. Earl Crichton
The first strategic plan was completed
The Canadian Reciprocal Agreement was signed
NIS became a member of ISSA
Certified Records of employees Earnings & Form C1A replaced the Deduction Card.
The Combined Form C5 was introduced
The Statistician position was added to the organizational structure
The Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income – $15.3 million; Total Assets – 184.6 million; total Reserves – $183.4 million

1999 Minister of Finance & Minister responsible for National Insurance – Hon. Arnhim Eustace
Board of Directors:

  • Earl Chrichton – Chairman
  • Julian Jack – Deputy Chairman
  • Reginald Thomas – NIS Executive Director
  • Elliot Sprott – Board Member
  • Manual De Freitas – Board Member
  • Cleve Lewis – Board Member
  • Freddie Campbell – Board Member
  • Louise Glasgow – Board Member
  • Vernice Haynes – Board Member

The Caricom Reciprocal Agreement was signed
The minimum weekly primary pension increased to $50
The Customer Service Audit Desk was established
Quality Service Officer – Ms. Dawn A. Small
The first Financial Comptroller was appointed –Lennox Timm
The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) of USA undertook training with the Scheme in areas of Compliance
We unveiled our mission, vision & goal statements
The Scheme’s financial position:
Total Assets amounted to $201 million, Net Income – $16.1 Million; total Reserves – $199.5 million
The fourth Actuarial Review was completed:
The principal conclusions:
(1) The NIS is actuarially sound. The current contribution rate of 6 percent will be sufficient to finance the current benefit structure for the next 10 years.
(2) The value of Maternity and Funeral Grants should be increased. Maternity Grant increased to $400 and Funeral Grant increased to $3000
(3) The value of a Non-contributory Assistance Age Pension should be increased to EC$25 per week.

2000 The first female Deputy Director was appointed – Miss Mineva Glasgow
NIS participated in the National Health Fair & the National Independence Exhibition
Regional Training Seminar was conducted on Developing Social Security Schemes with Information Technology”
The NIS Sports Club participated in the Caribbean Games in Trinidad and placed 2nd.
The introduction of the children’s Christmas party
The contribution ceiling increased to $3250 per month and $750 per week
The Scheme’s financial position:
Net Income – $18.3 million; Total Assets – $200.8 million; Total Reserves – $217.9 million

2001 Prime Minister & Minister responsible for National Insurance – Right Honorable Doctor Ralph Gonsalves
Board of Directors

  • Chairman – Mr. Lennox Bowman
  • Deputy Chairman – Mr. Thornley Myers
  • NIS Executive Director – Reginald Thomas
  • Board Member – Mrs. Victoria Yammie-John
  • Board Member – Mr. Elroy John
  • Board Member – Mr. Junior Bacchus
  • Board Member – Mr. Anthony George
  • Board Member – Mr. Julian Boyea

NIS hosted two retirement planning financial seminars
There were training seminars for staff members (local, regional, and international)
The NIS Sports & Cultural Club participated in the Caribbean Games in Grenada and placed 1st.
The NIS Sports & Cultural Club participated in the Local Table Tennis Tournament and placed 2nd in that competition.
New pension payment system:

  • Long term pension are now paid fortnightly
  • Automatic processing of pension cheques

The fifth Actuarial Review was completed:
Summary of Recommendations:
(1) The current contribution rate of 6% will be adequate to finance the NIS operations until the year 2016
(2)The increase in the value of the NAAP to $25 per week should be in effect weeks after June 30th, 2002.
(3)Pensions awarded prior to January 1, 2002 be increased 3% for every year (or part thereof) from the latter of December 31st , 1999. Maximum increase of 6% increase in benefits is to be paid weeks after June 2002.
(4)Effective January 1st, 2003, the ceiling on insurable earnings should be increased to $3770 per month or $870 per week
(5)Effective June 30th, 2002, the Maternity grant should be increased to $500.
(6)Effective June 30th,2002, the funeral grant be increased to $3,600 and funeral grants regarding the death of dependants be increased by 20%.
(7)Effective June 30th,2002, the minimum pension should be increased to $55.
(8)Effective June 30th, 2002, the minimum pension for survivors should be increased by 10%
(9) The Scheme should continue to improve compliance because it will need many active contributors to support the growing number of pensioners.
The Launching of “NIS on Wheels”
The introduction of the NIS in-house Debating Society
5/01/87 – 5/01/02 NIS celebrates 15 years of service to the nation
Slogan: We’ve secured since then, we’ll continue to the end.
Prime Minister Gonsalves planted a tree at the site for the new NIS headquarters. He was assisted by the Chairman (Lennox Bowman) and the NIS Executive Director (Reginald Thomas). This was part of the activities to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the NIS.
The Scheme’s financial position:
As of 31/12/01 the total assets projected was $240 million, Net Income for 2001 is projected at 16.8 million, Reserves are projected at $183 million, There is a fund ratio of 13.9

2002 Launching of the book “Walk Through – A Layman’s Guide to St. Vincent & Grenadines National Insurance Scheme Legislation.” This was written by The Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Mineva Glasgow.
Coverage to Market Vendors – the Self-employed Coverage was extended to the vendors in the Kingstown Marketplace.
Implementation of the Voluntary Contribution Coverage for nationals overseas
Financial Position : Net Income – EC$18.8 Million
Total Reserve – EC$ 258.3 Million

2003 Internal Audit Division- This new division was created and Ms. Cornelia Quashie was appointed as Internal Auditor.
The increase in the NIS Ceiling on Insurable Earnings- Monthly – EC$ 3,770 Weekly – EC$ 870
NIS hosted a workshop for Journalists
The Year 2003 signalled the termination point of the Institution’s first strategic plan (1999 – 2003).
The commencement of the Golden Years Activity Centre at Cane Grove
The death of Board Member, Mrs. Victoria Yammie
The appointment of a new Board Member – Mr. Garvin Jackson
Financial Position: Net Income – EC$ 18.9 Million; Total Reserves – EC$ 277.2 Million; Fund Ratio – 16

2004 The NIS hosted the following workshops:

  • The Inter-American Conference on Social Security (CISS & CARICOM)
  • Occupational Health & Safety Workshop

We held the 9 th Annual Pensioners’ Appreciation Day
NIS Name Change- The name was officially changed from “National Insurance Scheme” to “National Insurance Services”.
The unveiling of the new Mission and Vision Statements, and the Organization’s creed and charter
The death of Board Member, Mr. Julian Boyea. He was replaced by Mr. Nowell Soleyn.
The establishment of the Human Resources & Marketing Division- Manager – Dawn A. Small, Marketing Officers – Suzette Solomon and Idalia Job
The opening of the Golden Years Activity Centre at Cane Grove

2005 Completion of the Sixth Actuarial Review
Launching of book: “ NIS Made Simple For Schools’’ by Mineva Glasgow
The establishment of the Research Unit headed by Mr. Stewart Haynes
NIS honoured Centenarian Dorcas Labbay of Questelles
Opening of the Golden Years Activity Centre at Black Point
NIS Financial Position
Total Assets-$320,199,578
Total Reserves -$317,681,185
Net Income -$19,740,014

2006 Increase in the NIS insurable earnings contribution ceiling:
Monthly -$4333.00
Weekly -$1000.00
NIS Undertook an in-house Data Improvement Project
Launching of the E-Submit Software to facilitate electronic payments
A survey was conducted to determine the needs of self-employed persons in St.Vincent and the Grenadines
Establishment of the NIS Medical Panel