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Insurance plan for farmers, fisherfolk in Jamaica


Insurance plan for farmers, fisherfolk in Jamaica

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Kingston – The AgriCare Programme, a newly developed group life and health insurance plan for farmers and fisherfolk, will come into effect on March 1, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green said on Tuesday.

The groundbreaking initiative is a partnership between the Government and Sagicor Life Insurance Company.

Under the Programme, farmers and fishers who are registered with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and National Fisheries Authority (NFA), respectively, will have access to a Group Major Medical Plan, a Full House Plan, a Critical Illness Plan, a Personal Accident Plan and a Group Life Plan.

Dependents of farmers and fishers will also be eligible for the derivable benefits.

Speaking during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister Green pointed out that the reality for the majority of farmers and fisherfolk was that, when faced with illness, significant medical expenses or deaths, they had no provisions to alleviate the burden on themselves and their families.

“I heard these cries first-hand in October 2020 on the all-island tour that we conducted, regarding the lack of an insurance facility to provide security for them and their families,” he said.

“My team and I subsequently made a call to our local financial institutions to partner with us to provide insurance coverage to our food producers, and that call was answered by Sagicor.”

The Group Major Medical Plan covers surgery and hospitalization as well as chemotherapy, radiation and dialysis.

The Full House Plan provides funds that can be utilized to purchase certain primary-care benefits, including drugs, dental and vision, doctors’ visits and consultations.

The Group Critical Illness Plan provides lump-sum coverage in the event members are diagnosed for certain critical illnesses; the Group Personal Accident Plan provides the insured member, or their dependents, with certain benefits arising from an accident; while the Group Life provides coverage in the event of an insured member’s death.

Minister Green said the programme “has been crafted in ways that are affordable and manageable”, adding that “Sagicor will facilitate premium payments, in either four equal quarterly payments or twice per year”.

He said there will be a three-month enrolment period, starting March 1, during which target beneficiaries and their dependents can sign up without undergoing medicals.

“This health and life insurance plan is a significant step in the transformation of our agriculture and fisheries sector. Not only are we securing the health and well-being of our farmers and fisherfolk but we are sending a clear signal to all of Jamaica that farming and fishing are all valid professions,” the Minister stated.

He added that this was especially important for young people, “as we want our youth to know that farming and fishing are not only important but are lucrative and well-secured professions”. (CMC)