AgriCare Insurance Plan Established For Farmers And Fisherfolk
The AgriCare Programme, a newly developed group life and health insurance plan for farmers and fisherfolk, will come into effect on March 1. The groundbreaking initiative is a partnership between the Government and Sagicor Life Insurance Company. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, made the announcement during the House of Representatives sitting on Tuesday (February 9).
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.
Minister Green said the reality for the majority of farmers and fisherfolk is that, when faced with illness, significant medical expenses or deaths, there are no provisions to help 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.
The Minister informed that “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”.
In terms of the benefits, the Group Major Medical Plan covers surgery and hospitalisation as well as chemotherapy, radiation and dialysis.
The Full House Plan provides funds that can be utilised 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.
Mr. Green explained that for a monthly premium of only $217.08, a farmer or fisherfolk could have personal accident coverage of $1 million.
“A Critical Illness Bundle has coverage of $500,000 with a monthly premium of just $284.10, and for $965.95 you can get up to $1 million for the Group Life Plan… that is life insurance coverage of $1 million for less than $1,000 per month, inclusive of General Consumption Tax (GCT),” he further outlined.
The Minister added that the programme “has been crafted in ways that are affordable and manageable” while pointing out that “Sagicor will facilitate premium payments, in either four equal quarterly payments or twice per year”.
Mr. Green indicated that there will be a three-month enrolment period, starting March 1, during which target beneficiaries and their dependents can sign up for the Programme 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”.
Mr. Green also used the opportunity to encourage all farmers and fishers to register with RADA and the NFA. He also urged other private-sector entities to “join us on this journey”.
“We believe that our 220,000 registered farmers and our 26,000 registered fisherfolk provide tremendous scope for the design of creative facilities to deal with issues such as health and life insurance,” Mr. Green said.
Additionally, he said “we do believe that we have enough data out there to enable our private sector to develop an appropriately priced crop insurance scheme [and] provide low-interest capital for our agriculture and fisheries sector”.
“We cannot recover stronger if our financial sector continues to pay lip service to agriculture and fisheries. Now is the time. Seize the moment and unleash the true potential of our food heroes,” the Minister added.
The Sagicor AgriCare Programme is a private-sector initiative that is facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
For more information on the AgriCare plan click the link below: