Social Insurance

May 24th, 2023    |   Related To: The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT)

Niala Persad-Poliah, Executive Director, The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIB)


Niala Persad-Poliah
Executive Director, The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIB)

Entrusted with the task of protecting insured persons against economic difficulty due to loss of earnings emanating from work-related contingencies, the National Insurance Board of Trinidad & Tobago (NIBTT) is an entity of massive importance for the citizens of T&T. Specifically, 634,381 citizens, or as NIBTT sees it through their client service-oriented approach, ‘customers’.

Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, the organisation occupies a unique position to provide a detailed perspective on all aspects of Trinidad and Tobago’s social insurance landscape.

NIBTT’s Executive Director, Niala Persad-Poliah, acknowledged the accomplishments of the organisation saying, “Our golden anniversary is a time to reflect on all that we have accomplished and strategically chart our vision and plans for the future. Fifty years reinforces the knowledge that we have served a noble purpose in the lives of many, and this anniversary is an encouragement for us to press on to sustainability and enhanced service.”

The NIBTT has grown exponentially with the required solidity to achieve its stated aims built around its core values of collaboration and commitment, accountability, resourcefulness, resilience, and empathy. Persad-Poliah provided the specifics of said development. “I reflect on how we have grown. For example, in 1977, our Retirement Benefit expenditure was just about $2 million. Fast forward 20 years to 1997, and Retirement Benefit expenditure was $139 million. We have seen the $1,000 minimum pension in 2004, rise to $2,000 in 2008 and then on to $3,000 in 2012. In 2021, our Retirement Benefit expenditure stood at $4.5 billion with more than 125,000 persons now accessing this benefit.”

The clear intention is to continue NIBTT’s progression through the embracing of continually evolving work practices, not least of which is the inevitable requirement of increased technology implementation. The Executive Director confirms that mass digitisation is fully on the NIBTT horizon. “We are well on our way to a comprehensive digital transformation right now. If I look perhaps five years into the future, the NIBTT will have seen a full transformation and we will be reaping the rewards from our current efforts. I look forward to the implementation of ICT initiatives and other customer-focused projects at the NIBTT, to better serve the needs of our customers.”

There are other factors that must be taken into consideration as the NIBTT moves forward, including the reality that people are living longer and healthier lives. Persad-Poliah acknowledges this social impact and responded, “Strategic reform is an important element. I am pleased to see that the reform measures, as outlined in the 10th Actuarial Review, are being discussed as the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) has embarked upon stakeholder engagements with Unions, Associations and Chambers on the issue of the gradual increase of the retirement age to 65 years.”

For 2023 and beyond, the intended trajectory is backed by a solid base: “Our large and diverse investment portfolio remains robust, and the NIBTT’s total funds stand at approximately $30 billion as at June 2021. We are always cognisant of our larger mandate of providing excellence in social insurance customer service, to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Article by: Sheldon Waithe