From the Desk of The Chairman
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Looking at the future of BCIMA
"Our first focus area is the increase of membership numbers and the solidifying of the scheme’s position as being one of the most affordable medical schemes".
The challenges facing the building and construction industry keep mounting with large businesses facing business rescue and liquidation and an exodus of construction giants including Probuild,
Liviero, NMC, Basil Read and Group Five, all of which have succumbed. More recently these firms were joined by Adamson Nielsen and Pace Construction, which unfortunately suffered the same fate.
BCIMA operates in turbulent times within the building industry and economy, which have been further destabilised by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has brought the industry to a grinding financial halt.
In forging ahead, the Board of Trustees will focus its attention on two critical areas. Our first focus area is the increase of membership numbers and the solidifying of the scheme’s position as being one of the most affordable medical schemes. Increasing our member numbers will ensure that we will be well within the Council for Medical Schemes’ prescribed numbers of 6 000 members for a stand-alone scheme beyond the implementation of National Health Insurance. The scheme will not rule out exploring opportunities for
mergers and acquisitions in achieving its goal of reaching the required membership targets.
The appointment of the new Principal Officer (PO)
The appointment of the new Principal Officer (PO), Ms Phumelele Makatini could not have come at a better time when the medical scheme was in need of innovative ideas and a fresh perspective to
propel it into the future.
Ms Makatini’s tenure followed the retirement of former long-serving PO, Mr Bernard Le Roux, who did a sterling job over the years leaving a financially stable and robust fund with a liquidity ratio that
has consistently exceeded the requirements of the Council for Medical Schemes.
I therefore welcome Ms Makatini as she takes over the reins at this challenging time, with the full confidence that she will continue the excellent legacy that preceded her. I also wish to take this opportunity to wish a fulfilling and healthy retirement to Mr Bernard Le Roux.
A Word from the Principal Officer
Like so many other organisations the world over, the Building and Construction Industry Medical Aid Fund (BCIMA) finds itself operating in unprecedented and unpredictable times due to the myriad
changes brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is at times like this that we can all take solace in the impeccable track record of BCIMA, an organisation that has certainly withstood the test of time. If the strong solvency ratio of 107%, as reported in the 2019 Annual Financial Statements, is anything to go by, the Scheme has ample
reserves to withstand not only COVID-19, but any storm that may cross its path in time to come.
BCIMA has retained its Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) exempted status, which is highly beneficial to members. This is because the exemption enables the Scheme to better manage costs, which in turns helps to keep contributions lower.
Although the Scheme is PMB exempt, we wish to assure our members that claims for COVID-19 will be paid as per the normal scheme limits and benefits, as the health and wellbeing of our members will always be our most important consideration.
When I joined BCIMA at the start of 2020 I had many ideas about how I intended to grow the
Scheme. I had a game plan for boosting the scheme’s membership base exponentially, using
methods that I had tried and tested throughout my business development career. These included interactive roadshows, pitching to key decision makers at employer level, as well as to affiliated union members at employee level. All these initiatives would have been undertaken face-to-face.
These very same tactics now have to be deployed via online media strategies requiring the Scheme and its leadership to be innovative, flexible and agile – which we are.
Despite the challenges faced by the building and construction industry, I remain optimistic about the future of BCIMA. We have a strong balance sheet and our investment tools have maximised our financial performance despite certain losses due to market volatility.
I remain excited about the potential growth of the Scheme, which for the first time has a presence online in social and business media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Our brand is getting noticed and the future looks bright for BCIMA.
We have an excellent product which is well suited to the needs of our target market. We have a single, well-constructed benefit option, our contributions are highly affordable and we cater mostly to workers who would under normal circumstances not be able to afford healthcare cover.
The Fund recorded a surplus of R7.9 million for 2019 (R9.8 million for 2018), which can be attributed mainly to the following factors reflected in the statement of comprehensive income:
• Gross contributions (R500 000 higher than budgeted);
• Net claims incurred (R1 million lower than budgeted);
• Investment and other income (R4 million higher than budgeted).
The Fund started off 2019 with R147 million in reserves and with the positive claims experience have managed to build the reserves and conclude the year with reserves of R155 million.
With the improvement of the reserves, the Fund has strengthened its liquidity with cash and
investments growing from R149 million in 2018 to R158 million in 2019. At the same time, the
investment income of the Fund has increased from R6.2 million in 2018 to R10.8 million in 2019.
The Fund reports on a solvency ratio which relates to contributions and accumulated funds in place. The solvency ratio of the Fund must be within the statutory required rate of 25%. The Fund has achieved a solvency ratio of 108.7% for 2019.
The Fund provides medical cover to the lives of 11 092 beneficiaries. There are 4 214 principal members and 6 878 dependants. The average age of the beneficiaries is 28 and the pensioner ratio is 2.19%.