Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? You might find the answer here! But, if you don’t, feel free to email or call us by visiting our contact page.

Is Cook Islands superannuation compulsory?

Yes, under the Cook Islands National Superannuation Act (the Act), membership of the Fund is compulsory for all employees in employment in the Cook Islands, or employed outside the Cook Islands by an employer resident in the Cook Islands.

There are limited exclusions to this, outlined under section 37 of the Act.

How does Cook Islands superannuation (CINSF) work?

Members are required to pay 5% of their earnings which is matched by 5% from their employer. These contributions are invested in your compulsory account to help support you in retirement.

Can I contribute more than the 5% compulsory contributions?

If you would like to contribute more than 5% of your wages, you may make additional contributions to a voluntary account. Employers are not required to increase their contributions above 5%.

What are the benefits payable under the CINSF scheme?

The superannuation benefits payable are; retirement pension, early retirement pension (subject to eligibility), total and permanent disability benefits, prepaid funeral benefit, withdrawal benefit for contract workers, insurance benefits (subject to eligibility), death benefit, dismemberment and major burns benefit, terminal illness benefit.

What is my superannuation number (NSF)?

This is your CINSF identification number, it starts with “NSF” and is six digits long, eg NSF123456. You can ring or email our office to find out your NSF number.

When can I access my superannuation?

When you reach retirement age (currently 60), as a member you have the option to access your superannuation fund, or you may opt to continue working and contributing until you are ready to retire.

Can I access my superannuation before I turn 60?

If you are between the ages of 55 and 59 years and are made redundant, or suffer ill-health, you may be eligible for an early retirement pension and / or a lump sum withdrawal depending on the balance of your compulsory account.

What happens if my pension runs out?

If you are a pensioner, the CINSF will pay you a pension for life at the same value. This means, even if your pension balance runs out, we will continue paying you your pension until you pass

What is my superannuation balance?

You superannuation balance is made up of your compulsory account, that is comprised of your employee and employer contributions, your voluntary account, plus any investment returns.

You can find out this information online by logging on to our CINSF Member Portal. To create a login, please contact our CINSF office. You can do this in person, or by email.

Do I get life insurance?

The CINSF have a Group Life Insurance Policy. Every fund member is automatically approved for life insurance regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions, which is paid out in the event of a member’s death (subject to eligibility). Any member aged over 60, or pensioners, are not eligible for an insurance benefit.

The insurance benefit paid will be equivalent to one full year’s salary (from your last/current job), however, you must have made contributions within 180 days before your death for eligibility to be maintained.

What happens to my pension when I pass away?

If you are married, your pension will go to your spouse. If you do not have a spouse, your pension will go to your estate or dependents at the trustee’s discretion.

What happens if I pass away before I retire?

Your compulsory account balance, which includes investment returns, plus any insurance benefit, and the balance of your voluntary account (if any) will be paid out to your estate or dependents at the trustee’s discretion.

Do I need a will?

It is recommended that you make a will. That way, your wishes in respect of your assets, which include your CINSF funds, will pass to the person(s) you wish to receive them.

If I am in financial hardship, can I access my superannuation?

No. If you made contributions to your voluntary account, you may be able to access these funds.

What is the voluntary account?

In addition to your compulsory account, you may make additional contributions to a voluntary account. These contributions are made to a voluntary account held in your name and can be accessed by you once a year. In order for the account to remain active there must be a minimum of $100 left in the account. The contributions in this account are also invested based on the investment option you chose when you joined the fund. You may only open a voluntary account when you are a member. Pensioners are not able to open a voluntary account but a pensioner can retain their voluntary account when they become a pensioner.

Can I withdraw my superannuation when I leave the Cook Islands if I worked on a contract?

– For 3 years or less, we will pay out your superannuation balance as a lump sum, however, there is a stand down period of 6 months before you can claim.

– For more than 3 years, you may transfer your superannuation balance to an approved overseas fund (Fiji National Provident Fund, New Zealand KiwiSaver (subject to acceptance by the KiwiSaver provider), Tuvalu National Provident Fund, or Sun Super Australia) or you can leave it here and remain invested until retirement age before you can access your superannuation fund.

– If there are no approved schemes where you permanently departing and 4 approved funds do not apply to you, there is a 5-year waiting period before we can pay out your balance as a lump sum.

What happens to my contributions/where does my money go?

Your contributions are invested in managed investment schemes which in turn invest in assets like shares, bonds and cash. The amount that is invested in these assets is dependent on the investment option you chose when you became a member of the Fund.

If you did not choose an investment option prior to 1 January 2022, you will have defaulted to the Conservative Fund. If you joined the Fund after 1 January 2022, you will be defaulted to the Balanced Fund.

All investments are held in the name of Public Trust New Zealand as Trustee of CINSF.

How do I know which investment option to pick?

There is a questionnaire available in the Member’s Handbook and online, that will help guide you on which option may be best suited for you.

What is the difference between an income asset and a growth asset?

An income asset is an asset which is generally low risk with the potential for steady or modest returns for example, a term deposit with a bank, or a government stock. A growth asset is generally higher risk with the potential for higher returns as it aims to outperform its benchmark and provide a capital return on its investment, for example shares.

Where can I find more information on how the fund is performing?

The CINSF team publishes the fund’s investment returns on its website every month.

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