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Injury cover soon for athletes

Justin Marville

Injury cover soon for athletes

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From as early as next month, local athletes could be paying nothing for their injuries past playing time.
All athletes and officials affiliated with the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) are facing the possibility of being fully covered under an extensive group plan after the BOA was able to secure a personal accident policy for its federations.
Details of the historic plan came to light one day after the top brass of the BOA held a meeting with the 32 local federations to discuss the proposal.
“The lack of insurance acts as a demotivator in people coming forward to participate in sport because you only have to get injured once then can’t meet the cost and, to use Bajan terminology, ‘ya dun wid that’”, explained BOA president Steve Stoute.
“[So] this is an insurance programme that would cover officials and athletes while they’re training and competing at home, or training and competing abroad in the event of accident in the field of play or travel or otherwise.”
“This is something that national sports organisations have been asking for quite some time and we have been looking to try and find a solution. Indeed when teams travel under our umbrella to Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, Pan American Games, we effect a policy but that only covers the specific games and after that the policy,” he added.
Each person under the Sagicor General policy would be required to pay a yearly premium of $17 to be covered under permanent disability benefits, temporary disability benefits, death benefits and medical expenses due to accidental injury.
And the coverage wouldn’t be limited to injuries incurred in Barbados alone, as the plan is set to cover up to $80 000 in continental Europe, $25 000 in European-administered islands and $25 000 in North America.
“Last year, a cycling team went to Martinique and one of the female cyclists fell and incurred medical fees in the region of US$4 000, all off which her own insurance had to pay and these are quite frequent occurrences,” said Stoute.
“Also last year three cyclists got killed training and if that policy was in place at that point in time the families of those riders would’ve gotten $50,000 [in] death benefit each, which would’ve been a tremendous help.
“Of course there are some exclusions as there are with all insurance, you’re allowed three injuries in a year and of course there are other limitations as in the case of contact sports such as boxing.
“If a boxer gets hurt in the course of a bout he would not be covered. However, if he falls out of the ring or if he is injured while training he would be covered,” he added.
A retired insurance executive, Stoute revealed that the response from the meeting was quite positive, with each federation giving an indication that it would be getting its competitors on board this year.
However, the BOA head stressed the need to have at least 4 000 athletes covered in total to achieve the low premium and garner such extensive benefits and coverage.
“We feel it is a very important mechanism to have, so we want to get it into effect as soon as possible and we’ve given the associations up to the 28th of February to tell us if they’re interested and how many people they plan to cover,” Stoute disclosed.
“We want to get this done as soon as possible [but] one of the problems is that these federations are always very enthusiastic about these initiatives but when it comes to coming forward, putting their money where their mouth is, it is difficult and I’m not talking only monetary.
“For the insurance to work, each association would have to provide a detailed list of the people that are covered. So it involves quite a bit of administration to make it happen. We’re relying heavily on the associations to keep up their end of the bargain.”