Major achievements occurring during this period include:

• The purchase and completion of the Wulff Road Complex.

• The official openings of four new Community Health Clinics in: Bimini; San Salvador; Spanish Wells; and Harbour Island

• The commencement of construction of two (2) additional Community Health Clinics in: Grand Bahama - Eight Mile Rock; and New Providence - South Beach. 

• The purchase of Claughton House in New Providence.

• The successful and peaceful completion of contract negotiations with the Board’s two bargaining units.

• The commencement of the construction of the multi-million dollar Poincianna Hill Office Complex.

• The introduction of a toll-free hotline service for Family Islanders.

• The passage of a bill to amend the National Insurance Act.  Key features of these amendments, which came into effect on 1st January, 1999, were:

  1. An increase in the weekly ceiling on insurable wages from $250 to $400.
  2. The introduction of punitive measures against employers who fire, demote or penalize in anyway, their employees who request information from the Board on their contributions, or who cooperate with the Board.
  3. An increase in Funeral Benefit, from $1,000 to $1,500.
  4. An increase in Maternity Grant from $250 to $400; and a relaxing of the qualifying conditions to allow payment to women who may have been out of work for several years, but who would have paid at least 50 contributions into National Insurance.
  5. The introduction of a supplemental pension for persons who suffer 100 percent industrial disability, and as a result, require constant care and attendance.
  6. An increase of 10% on Retirement, Invalidity and Survivors’ Benefits. The increase at the minimum level was $20.00
  7. The adjustment of the ages at which Early Retirement Benefit is paid. The changes were as follows: 80% at age 60; 84% at age 61; 88% at 62; 92% at 63; and 96% at age 64.
  8. An increase in the maximum amount persons aged 60 to 69 years are allowed to earn while in receipt of Retirement Benefit, from $120 per week, to half the ceiling on insurable wages - $200 per week.
  9. A liberalization of conditions, enabling Self-employed persons to continue to work and receive their Retirement Benefit, provided they earn no more than half the ceiling on insurable wages - that is, $200 per week.
  10. A lifting of all earnings restrictions on persons age 70 years and older. The amendments made it possible for employed persons to continue to work, and for self-employed persons to return to work, and receive their Retirement Benefit, regardless of their income.
  11. A revision of the eligibility conditions for Survivors’ Benefit, making it possible for males to qualify in the same way as females.
  12. An increase in the upper age limit - from 18 years to 21 years - for dependents who are full-time students, to receive Survivors’ Benefit.
  13. An increase in Invalidity, Old Age Non-Contributory, and Survivors’ Assistances for adults, from $160 to $180 per month; and from $36 to $41.54 for Sickness Assistance.

• The official opening of two new community Health Centres in Harbour Island and Spanish Wells.

The Right Honourable Hubert Ingraham, M.P., retained ministerial responsibility for National Insurance; Mr. J.M. Pinder, continued as Chairman of the Board of Directors; and Mr. Lennox McCartney continued as Director.  Mr. Van Delaney was confirmed in the post of Deputy Director.

NIB’s Reserve Fund stood at $891.6 million* at the end of 1998

(*Unaudited Accounts for the period 1st January to 31st December, 1998).