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Important Information from Towergate CSPA Travel Insurance




I have just had the following update from Northern Ireland Civil Service Pensions Branch
"An issue we may encounter, if the printing offices close is that pensioners may not get payslips – payments will still be paid through BACS. We also have approx. 87 pensioners who still receive a cheque and this might also pose an issue. We have written to these pensioners requesting bank details but the success rate has been minimal. We can do manual checks but this is dependent on the postal service & some shops etc will not cash manual cheques. Plus I would imagine most of these pensioners will not be leaving their homes."




GROUP CIRCULAR 897
 We have been notified by Towergate Health and Protection Ltd the brokers who administer the CSPA travel insurance on behalf of the Alliance, that the underwriters AXA PPP healthcare Ltd issued the following updates on 16 March 2020 in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. How long the withdrawal of the CSPA travel insurance policy to new applicants will last for is a matter for speculation at present.  We will notify members of any change to this situation in the light of future updates. This issue affects all Affinity organisations with travel insurance policies underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare Ltd.
Most importantly now that Covid-19 has been classed as a pandemic, it is no longer viewed as an unforeseen event. 
We should warn any customer wishing to purchase travel insurance as a standalone cover or as an add on to one of our PMI policies that this is our position. 
Cover on both new and existing travel policies will continue to include cover for medical treatment should a member choose to travel within FCO advice and fall ill with Covid-19. This is the case so long as the member was fit to travel.”

We understand that some members may be feeling concerned. The situation is very changeable and we advise all members, their family and friends, to keep themselves informed by listening to the news and checking the regularly updated Government and NHS guidance, which can be found at these links:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

It is most important to look after your health and those around you. The basic way you can do this is to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose or eyes and if you cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with your elbow. Throw the tissue away in a bin immediately.

If you feel unwell with the symptoms of the virus, which are similar to flu, NHS England advises that you DO NOT go to the GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, but instead call telephone number 111 
Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
Scotland: call your GP surgery or call 111 if your surgery is not open
Wales: call 111 (if available in your area) or call 0845 46 47

Northern Ireland: call 0300 200 7885

Alternatively go online to the 111 Corona virus service here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 
CSPA Head Office will be closed from Tue 17th March 2020 
·      A notice on the website and a message on the answerphone 
Staff who are able to, and for whom it is practical, will work from home. However, a considerably reduced service will be in operation, e.g.; no newsletters or circulars will be issued and application forms for membership will not be processed (not an exhaustive list)
Our objective is to maintain and improve the purchasing power of all pensions from Civil Service related schemes. 

Advice recently from NICS Pension Branch

1.  The reason  Pay Advice Slip may show two components in its makeup is due to the fact part of the members pension is GMP, below is the statement on GMP taken from the pensioners newsletter:

2.We in Civil Service Pensions revise awards as matter of course – at present we are working through the revisions arising from the voluntary exits schemes and we have over 80% of those completed. Age retirements etc are also revised mainly as a result of a back-dated pay award or another change notified by the employer.
The majority of revisions do result in the payment of arrears however, a revision can also result in an overpayment due to the way pay is calculated. Eg prior to a pay award the best pay to calculate an award is not the most current salary (some go back 13 years) and Pensions Increase is applied to the award. However, after the application of the pay award the best pay is the most current salary and no Pensions Increase is due to the award – this can result in an overpayment.
If any Member receives such a notification asking for a repayment do not agree to anything and contact the Hon. Sec. Tony Damoglou immediately on 028-92610610 or apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk

 



I have just had the following update from Northern Ireland Civil Service Pensions Branch
"You will be pleased to know that we have contingency measures in place to ensure our pensioners get paid & the March payroll has been successful.  
An issue we may encounter, if the printing offices close is that pensioners may not get payslips – payments will still be paid through BACS. We also have approx. 87 pensioners who still receive a cheque and this might also pose an issue. We have written to these pensioners requesting bank details but the success rate has been minimal. We can do manual checks but this is dependent on the postal service & some shops etc will not cash manual cheques. Plus I would imagine most of these pensioners will not be leaving their homes."

If you still receive your pension by cheque or know anyone who does please contact NICS Pensions Branch on 028 71321202and try to speak to Colette Heaney or Margaret Coyle
 or email Colette.Heaney@finance-ni.gov.uk


The following has just been released by CSPA Head Office
GROUP CIRCULAR 897 To:      Branches, Groups and Executive Council          17 March 2020  1.    FURTHER INFORMATION ON CORONAVIRUS 2.    CSPA TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY -TEMPORARY WITHDRAWAL OF TRAVEL POLICY TO NEW APPLICANTS - CLAIMS INVOLVING COVID-19 3.    MESSAGE FROM FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES 4.    BBC FREE TV LICENCES AND RED BUTTON
Press here to see full text of GC897 Northern Ireland Branch AGM (arranged for the 22nd April 2020) has now been postponed and will be rearranged when normality returns.

CSPA Travel Insurance Policy -Temporary Withdrawal Of Travel Policy to new applicants  - Claims involving Covid-19 We have been notified by Towergate Health and Protection Ltd the brokers who administer the CSPA travel insurance on behalf of the Alliance, that the underwriters AXA PPP healthcare Ltd issued the following updates on 16 March 2020 in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. How long the withdrawal of the CSPA travel insurance policy to new applicants will last for is a matter for speculation at present.  We will notify members of any change to this situation in the light of future updates. This issue affects all Affinity organisations with travel insurance policies underwritten by AXA PPP healthcare Ltd.1.“The Executive Committee at AXA PPP healthcare have made their decision today to cease offering new travel policy access with immediate effect on all Affinity schemes until further notice.” 2.“We have been assessing the Covid -19 situation here at AXA PPP and now have a decision on how we move forward. Most importantly now that Covid-19 has been classed as a pandemic, it is no longer viewed as an unforeseen event.  In line with other providers in the market, including AXA Insurance, we will use our existing policy terms to reject cancellation claims from members who booked their trip or purchased their travel insurance policy after 9am 14 March 2020 due to Covid-19.  We should warn any customer wishing to purchase travel insurance as a standalone cover or as an add on to one of our PMI policies that this is our position.  We have made this decision because cancellation as a result of COVID-19, is now considered something the member should reasonably have known about before they purchased their travel insurance or booked their overseas journey. Cover on both new and existing travel policies will continue to include cover for medical treatment should a member choose to travel within FCO advice and fall ill with Covid-19. This is the case so long as the member was fit to travel.”
 
CORONAVIRUS The Alliance has been monitoring rapidly unfolding developments in news of the Coronavirus. We understand that some members may be feeling concerned. The situation is very changeable and we advise all members, their family and friends, to keep themselves informed by listening to the news and checking the regularly updated Government and NHS guidance, which can be found at these links:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

It is most important to look after your health and those around you. The basic way you can do this is to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose or eyes and if you cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with your elbow. Throw the tissue away in a bin immediately.

If you feel unwell with the symptoms of the virus, which are similar to flu, NHS England advises that you DO NOT go to the GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, but instead call telephone number 111 
Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
Scotland: call your GP surgery or call 111 if your surgery is not open
Wales: call 111 (if available in your area) or call 0845 46 47

Northern Ireland: call 0300 200 7885

Alternatively go online to the 111 Corona virus service here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 
 
Outline plan for Headquarters Office Closure
CSPA Head Office will be closed from Tue 17th March 2020  
If we have enough fit and healthy staff, we will try as far as possible, to provide a basic service to members. This will take the following form: 
·      A notice on the website and a message on the answerphone ·      A request to those contacting us to defer non urgent requests·      For requests deemed urgent the work mobile numbers of the General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary, will be provided  Staff who are able to, and for whom it is practical, will work from home. However, a considerably reduced service will be in operation, e.g.; no newsletters or circulars will be issued and application forms for membership will not be processed (not an exhaustive list)We hope you can find everything you need. The Civil Service Pensioner's Alliance is a campaigning and lobbying group for pensioners from the civil service and related pension schemes. 
Our objective is to maintain and improve the purchasing power of all pensions from Civil Service related schemes. 
Branch AGM now postponed
Hon Treasurer/Membership SecretaryThe Hon Treasurer/ Membership Secretary Alastair Hunter has indicated that whilst he is happy to continue in the post for the foreseeable future it would only be prudent to have another person trained in the work of the Treasurer/Membership Secretary to be able to take over should Alastair wish to relinquish the post.The Northern Ireland Branch Executive Committee of CSPA are therefore now advertising for someone to shadow the work of the Treasurer/Membership Secretary and be able to take over the post in the fullness of time.There is a small honorarium payable and anyone interested should in the first instance contact the Hon Sec Tony Damoglou on apdamoglou@cspa.co.uk or 07775743008.According to our Branch Constitution the holder of the post does not necessarily have to be a member of CSPA so if you know of someone who is not a member but would be interested please have them contact the Hon Sec.

).Pension Payslips From March 2018 Civil Service Pension (NI) Pay Advice Slip appearance has been upgraded, this change was added: b.    To allow members who have more than one component to their pension to view pension breakdown correctly.d.    In preparation for Civil Service Pensions online functionality Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) It is the GMP portion of the pension which is showing as “Normal Pension” within the Slip. I would like to assure you and your member that the breakdown of pension on the members Pay Advice Slip will have no consequence on any annual percentage increase due nor will it affect any spouse pension entitlement due.
It has been brought to the attention of the Branch Committee that  a Pension Revision exercise was being carried out by Pensions Branch.We in Civil Service Pensions revise awards as matter of course – at present we are working through the revisions arising from the voluntary exits schemes and we have over 80% of those completed. Age retirements etc are also revised mainly as a result of a back-dated pay award or another change notified by the employer.The issue with My CSP is that they were not doing the revisions of awards as part of their schedule of work and this was identified by their auditor. The processes they are looking at are in relation to building the revisions into their work practices.The majority of revisions do result in the payment of arrears however, a revision can also result in an overpayment due to the way pay is calculated. Eg prior to a pay award the best pay to calculate an award is not the most current salary (some go back 13 years) and Pensions Increase is applied to the award. However, after the application of the pay award the best pay is the most current salary and no Pensions Increase is due to the award – this can result in an overpayment.As per managing public money we are obliged to seek recovery of overpayments 
Goods are regarded as tangible things, ie items that are produced eg furniture, cars, white goods etc. Services as the word implies are activities carried out by others for your benefit, eg health treatment, financial services, library service, etc.Many thanks for your help.
Age Sector Platform (ASP) Funding Crisis and DemiseASP was widely recognised as being the foremost organisation (with approximately 200,000 members of its constituent groups) working on behalf of older people in Northern Ireland. This work has focussed on; organising the Northern Ireland Pensioners’ Parliament; lobbying and campaigning both at Stormont and Westminster on a wide range of issues impacting on older people; and being at the forefront of protecting and defending the rights of older people. The Northern Ireland Branch of CSPA has in the past supported Age Sector Platform not only by our participation in ASP campaigning committees and payment of our membership fee but also for the past few years by donations equivalent to the 60p per member per year that CSPA HQ puts aside for Campaign Funds so that our campaigning could be carried out by a much larger organisation and therefore be so much more effective.At the Board meeting on 3 September 2019 it was disclosed that “The financial position of ASP has now reached a critical stage and unless an offer of substantial additional funding is received between now the end of the year then Age Sector Platform will probably have to close”.I can confirm that ASP has now closed.  However, some members of CSPA together with members of NFOP are looking at ways of continuing the lobbying activities carried out by ASP.   Currently (24/2/2020) discussions are ongoing with AGE NI regard to the NI Pensioners' ParliamentMembership Renewal
cspani2k@hotmail.com

Active Ageing Strategy 2014-2020Further Information HereHealth Mattersor suitably modified. In order to do that we will require as many cases as possible where older people have been or will be adversely affected by these changes to let us know. Please  Click Here to register your problem with us. 
Equal Pay



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