Stakeholders Bat for Greater Access To Insurance

November 10, 2021

Via LOOP Jamaica

Even as the government plans to introduce legislation to regulate the microinsurance space in Jamaica, Sagicor Life has embarked on a drive to provide greater access to the industry for low-income earners through customised products. 

Speaking recently at the Insurance Association of Jamaica’s (IAJ) Microinsurance Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Dr Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public Service announced that work is far advanced in the development of a microinsurance policy and supporting legislation, which will be a framework for insurance service providers to serve the most vulnerable in society.

The Microinsurance Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament by March 2022 according to the Finance Minister. Microinsurance is a type of coverage that offers insurance plans specifically tailored to the needs of low-income earners.

With an aim to significantly improve the welfare of hundreds of thousands of uninsured and under-insured Jamaicans, Sagicor Life in recent times has launched several customised products to meet the needs of various vulnerable groups.

Earlier this year, the insurance giant partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to launch Jamaica’s first insurance plan for farmers and fisherfolk. The product, named AgriCare, is targeted to the specified group through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and granted access to health and life insurance coverage to farmers who enrolled.

Two years ago, the life and health insurance company also launched a health insurance plan to provide coverage for youth up to age 21 who are enrolled in schools. The product provides medical expense coverage for students at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels for a low annual premium.

Speaking at the conference, Manager - Direct Marketing Programme, Employee Benefits Division at Sagicor Life Jamaica, Kayon Walker Heslop shared that the life insurance company has been engaging these individuals and have been impressing upon them the importance of health and life insurance.

“At Sagicor, we take our role seriously when it comes to our efforts to reduce hesitancy towards insurance among vulnerable groups and see it as a part of our contribution to building our nation. We feel that it is our responsibility to be able to identify gaps wherever they are, and create the products and services that will meet the needs of our market,” she said during her presentation. 

Walker Heslop also explained that the company was able to generate significant interest by providing potential members with meaningful coverage at affordable premiums.

“Microinsurance is about providing access to mutually beneficial insurance coverage at affordable rates for the vulnerable,” she explained. 

She also noted that meeting the individuals where they are is another critical factor to the success of the education drive, saying, “One of the other things we did and continue to do is to provide accessible touchpoints for clients’ convenience and ease to interact with and access our products and services.”

Walker-Heslop encouraged industry players to continue to innovate to increase access to insurance and propagate the value of the product to all individuals. 

She was part of a panel that discussed the topic, "Digitization, Financial Inclusion, and MicroInsurance" at the conference, with Melanie Williams, Project Coordinator, Financial Inclusion Strategy, Jamaica, and Christabelle Brown, Operations Liaison, WiPay Jamaica and General Manager, WiShops.