The management of the Ghana Education Service (GES) is set to re-introduce the GES-SICLife Group Insurance Policy after extensive engagements with stakeholders.
Currently, the GES district directors and the SICLife district managers are separately collating figures of those opting out of the programme such that by the end of this month, all such figures will be submitted to the GES headquarters for validation before the Controller and Accountant General’s Department is instructed to commence the deduction.
The intention is to ensure that only those interested in enrolling on the policy are covered.
So far, only 5,000 out of the 136,000 staff have opted out of the policy and their earlier contribution of GH¢10 a month will be refunded to them.
The managements of GES and SICLife have since last year, when the policy was suspended, been engaged in sensitisation of the GES staff on the benefits they stand to gain if they enrol on the policy.
The policy suffered a setback in June last year when it was rolled out to cover all the staff of the service, resulting in agitation, leading to the suspension of its implementation.
Welfare of staff
In an interview in Accra last Tuesday, the Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, said the decision to get the group policy for staff was informed by the quest of management to improve on the welfare of staff.
He said the management of GES was interested in anything that had to do with the welfare of the staff and would make their lives comfortable.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained that the policy was part of the government’s commitment to promote the welfare of staff of the GES, adding that since the suspension of the rollout, GES had engaged in sensitisation of its staff to explain the rationale for the policy in order to get their buy-in.
He gave an assurance that the GES would not impose the policy on any of its staff members, explaining that SICLife had designed an exit form for those who still felt strongly that they did not want to be part of it to opt out.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained that initially, the GES was using the leadership of the various teacher unions to sensitise their respective members "but we later realised that it is more on a personal level and that is why we changed the approach".
He said the GES was cautiously taking painstaking measures to ensure that all those who would not be interested were taken off before the rollout.
In a separate interview, the Managing Director of SICLife, Madam Elizabeth Wyne-Dogbe, explained that those who would complete the exit form would receive a full refund, “while those who do not complete the exit forms are automatically part of the policy and are, therefore, eligible for all benefits under the policy”.
On those who will opt out and later want to be part, she said such people would be accepted back, but unlike those who had been signed on currently and, therefore, were eligible for all benefits under the policy immediately after signing in, those returnees would have to go through a waiting period of at least three months before they could become eligible for the benefits.
Giving an insight into the policy, Madam Wyne-Dogbe explained that under the group policy, a teacher was expected to contribute GH¢10 a month, while the government made a counterpart contribution for each staff.
“Under the policy, once insured, the person is to be paid up to GH¢18,000 in the event of permanent disability and also the same amount is paid to a beneficiary in the event of death of the insured.
“In the event of critical illness, an amount of GH¢9,000 is paid to the insured upon diagnosis of cancer, kidney/renal failure, heart attack, deafness, loss of sight, stroke, paralysis or loss of speech.
“The policy has a provision for cashback of 10 per cent per member after three years of no claims,” Madam Wyne-Dogbe further explained.