GSIS eyes more benefits for members

BUSINESS SNIPPETS - Marianne Go - The Philippine Star
GSIS eyes more benefits for members
PGM Wick Veloso with employees honored for their outstanding insurance sales achievements at the flag-raising ceremony.
STAR / File

Government workers can look forward to a Living Benefit program that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is studying and is hoping to complete by April this year, following a significant increase in the GSIS Fund which posted last year a 33 percent increase in revenue that it now intends to plow back as benefits to its members.

The GSIS had earlier announced that it posted a 33 percent increase in revenue to P311.3 billion last year compared to P234.9 billion earned in 2022, showing a 70 percent surge in net income from P66.4 billion to P113.3 billion in 2023, and a staggering 3,903 percent rise in total comprehensive income from 2022’s P3.6 billion to P143.4 billion compared to the prior year.

More importantly, the GSIS Fund has now reached P1.7 trillion and is ready to be deployed to help in the government’s nation-building goal.

This was revealed by GSIS president and general manager Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso in an exclusive interview where he also discussed in more detail their effort to expand the insurance coverage of additional government assets and properties, a list of which is not yet available and that the GSIS needs to compile.

“It is hard to get a list of finished infrastructure projects...to check if they are insured. We have to look for them...bridges...public schools...art pieces in the National Museum...in embassies...we have no numbers...how many are insured?” Veloso admitted.

The GSIS’s mission and vision statement, he said, specifically mandates that “by 2028 (GSIS) will become a world class pension fund run by esteemed professionals, using digital technology to be able to enhance its services and benefits to its members, and at the same time help in nation building.”

For instance, Veloso said, businesses in export processing zones fall under the coverage of the GSIS as per its charter. However, it turns out, most actually secure insurance from private insurance firms, for which, Veloso warned, “You can be criminally liable for getting outside insurance other than GSIS if you are in an export processing zone.” The GSIS team, thus, Veloso said, has stepped up its effort to look for more insurable government properties.

With the GSIS’s renewed effort to insure more government assets and properties, Veloso reported, “In 2022, we collected P6.8 billion in insurance premiums from them. In the past, we did not go beyond P5 billion. Then from P6.8 billion in 2022, that jumped to P9.8 billion in 2023.”

In line with its effort to look for more government assets and properties to insure, Veloso clarified, “even if we are a monopoly, we still go and visit them and ask for their business.” Likewise, he said, he has instituted a recognition award for members of their insurance team who actively search and seek insurable interests. The recognition award is given during the Monday flag raising ceremony to deserving individuals who, in turn, get a boost from getting the attention of the GSIS top brass.

Living benefit

Veloso also revealed some details of the program that the GSIS is preparing for its two million active members and would also be extended to its 550,000 pensioners and survivorship beneficiaries.

The Living Benefit program would allow the government insurance corporation to give a payout for six critical illnesses – strokes, heart attack, renal failure, liver failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

The introduction of a one-time payout of P250,000, stemmed from a feedback process Veloso instituted to find out what products, processes and improvements are needed.

As a result, they learned that offering a Living Benefit to members is key to stave off the start of indebtedness which emanates from a sickness issue.

However, Veloso admitted, the GSIS still needs to fix the execution of the program for the two million members and 550,000 pensioners and survivorship beneficiaries that the GSIS wants to cover, “leaving no one behind.”

The GSIS, Veloso said, had earlier launched a multi-purpose loan (MPL) program for up to P5 million, 15 years to pay at only six percent per annum interest.

Thus, in the first 100 days of the launch of the MPL, Wick reported, the GSIS was already able to lend out to 250,000 members a total of P100 billion.

Likewise, Veloso said, the GSIS is also coming up with a pabahay or housing project in Fairview and Cogeo for those who have served the government for the longest time.

However, he said, the GSIS has reinvented the wheel in terms of getting property by having an option to lease or to buy GSIS foreclosed properties. He elaborated that members would be given the opportunity to rent or lease for as low as P2,000 for 150 square meters, or have ability to pay installment.

GSIS members can also avail of personal fire insurance for their property, which only requires the members to pay just 50 percent of the required premium.

Investment opportunities

However, Veloso is not content on simply relying on growing its insurance portfolio. As such, the GSIS is on the lookout for big, important projects to invest in, “cognizant of our role in nation building, and we are looking at different investments.”

The government financial institution, Veloso assured stakeholders, intends to “maximize our inherent advantage,” noting that in the past, “it was not used to take advantage of the inherent advantage of the fund, and that is what we are doing here to get extra income ... If there are government assets, just G to G... if the private sector takes too long, whether unsolicited or solicited...we want to be able to develop... that is where we are going to get the next revenue stream, especially now, with low interest rates. “

Unfortunately, the GSIS PGM, at this point is not quite ready yet to reveal exactly what investments GSIS will make.

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