President's Column: By our members, for our members

Fri February 1st, 2019

Whenever I am called about a member in need of welfare support, I know the Police Association can respond because we have a very strong welfare system built by our members for our members.

A call for assistance could follow an assault or injury on the job, a critical illness or the death of a loved one, among many other situations.

The association can assist with them all, providing empathy backed by practical help – cash grants, petrol vouchers or a few days’ break in one of our Holiday Homes.

We can also give long-term support, including access to counselling and other services.

Of course, we also provide home loans, insurances, birth benefits, political and industrial advocacy and legal support, but it is our welfare arm that sets us apart from similar organisations. Being there in the tough times and having the ability to help members and their families is who we are.

In short, we can all be very proud of our association, recognised as one of the foremost member representative groups in New Zealand and the envy of police associations around the world.

As we head into 2019, it is appropriate we identify our priorities for the year. It will be no surprise to any of you that there is a long list of issues to address, and our Welfare Fund and its diverse services are high on that list.

You will see in this month’s Police News how the Welfare Fund has grown from small beginnings to standing at the helm of our vision to be the trusted guardian of the wellbeing of the police family.

Providing such a successful suite of products and services does not come without challenges. The sweet spot sits at the point of balancing the best services possible while remaining competitive, so, logically, the higher the level of member buy-in on products and services, the more successful the fund is, and the bigger the kitty is for member welfare.

A good example of how we are reviewing our services is the recent variation in Holiday Home pricing to assist in the long-term financial viability of the portfolio, together with new booking rules to ensure the best level of services for all members.

Our Health Plan, unique in that every dollar paid in premiums is paid out in claims, remains highly competitive across all price points. We know older and retired members are feeling the burden of age-related premiums, so we will at least explore increasing options around surgery excesses that might assist.

We have invested in an improved fire and general insurance system that will hopefully encourage more members to sign up for this product. Unlike our Health Plan, fire and general has to make a profit which is returned to members through welfare grants, the purchase and upkeep of Holiday Homes and other welfare benefits for this and future generations.

I am very happy to say that our new website will be open for business next month. It will be contemporary in both look and function. That means it will be user-friendly for you to access all the products and services you so faithfully support and deservedly benefit from.

Chris Cahill

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