KINGSTON, Jan. 28 (JIS): Jamaica has become one of the first developing countries to provide life and health insurance coverage for its national athletes, with the launch of the Jamaica Athletes Insurance Plan by the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, today (January 28).
At the press launch, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the initiative represents real progress and is a profound demonstration of the Government’s investment in the people and particularly the youth of Jamaica.
She further noted that it is also an example of investment in the economic potential of the nation.
“In launching the Jamaica Athletes Insurance Plan, Jamaica is within the best practices of the international sporting community. We are also trailblazers in this area among developing nations. It is a noteworthy national achievement,” she said.
The establishment of the Insurance Plan, which becomes effective February 1, results from the National Sports Policy, which was introduced in 2013. Out of a series of consultations with sporting associations, athletes, the private sector, youth clubs, tertiary institutions, among other sports stakeholders, for the establishment of the Policy, the need for the provision of medical expenses for athletes was highlighted.
Through Guardian Life Ltd. the Plan will provide group health insurance for some 1,323 athletes from 28 national sports associations and federations which are registered, while group life and personal accident insurance will be provided by Allied Insurance Brokers, through Sagicor.
The Government contributes 95 per cent towards the cost of premiums and the remainder is provided by the national sports associations and federations collectively.
Agreements were signed with the Sports Development Foundation, the National Health Fund (NHF) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), for the provision of funds over the next three years to support the plan.
Noting that Jamaica has a long and distinguished local and international sporting history, the Prime Minister said the Plan is supported by the Jamaican people who are grateful to the athletes.
“Our athletes are not only sources of great pride and joy. For us, sport also represents an integral part of the cultural and creative industries of the Jamaican economy,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the Government is committed to ensuring the health, wellness, social protection, safety and prosperity of Jamaica’s athletes.
She expressed thanks to the institutions for financial support and hailed the Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, for her work in getting the programme to this point.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Elaine Foster-Allen, in welcoming remarks at the ceremony, also hailed the establishment of the Plan.
“This is about service for our national athletes, who are committed to representing their country internationally and regionally, and the national associations which facilitate their development and the honing of their skills and talents,” she said.