Minister of Sports Olivia Grange
Nearly 1,300 of the country’s sportsmen and women have already signed up for the Jamaican Athletes Insurance Plan (JAIP), which is being implemented at just under $60 million per annum.
The athletes are drawn from 28 of the over 40 sports associations whose members comprise junior and senior athletes, who represent Jamaica in international competitions.
The plan, implementation of which commenced on February 1 following two years of preparatory work, provides group health, life and personal accident coverage for beneficiaries ages seven to 75.
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is spearheading the JAIP’s implementation.
Portfolio Minister Olivia Grange says the initiative is one of the priority objectives of the National Sport Policy, “which speaks to creating an environment that facilitates health, wellness, security, social protection, safety, and prosperity for all our athletes”.
“The Jamaican Athletes Insurance Plan, therefore, will ensure that each athlete can enjoy a career without having to worry about the financial burden they may have to bear if an injury occurs,” she pointed out.
Her remarks were delivered by Senior Director, Florette Blackwood, during a forum at the Mona hockey field in St Andrew on Thursday, June 30.
Grange said athletes are already using the plan, particularly the health component, pointing out that just over $2 million has to date been paid out by insurance providers Guardian Life Group and Allied Insurance Brokers Limited.
Grange said JAIP “is working”, and encouraged athletes who have not yet registered to do so. She said officers in the Sports Division and the JAIP administrative office, located at the Ministry, will be available to address any concerns.
“Please give us your feedback, especially when things are going well. Let us have your testimonials (as) this will help us to attract more financial support to ensure the longevity of the plan,” she urged them.
The Minister commended the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) for organising and hosting the forum, and moving to register 62 of its members for the insurance plan.
Grange said the Ministry anticipates that over the medium-term, the plan will be expanded to include an athletes’ retirement scheme.
Additionally, she said “we hope that we will be in a position to include our coaches and administrators in this very important initiative”.
Director of the Sports Division, Suzette Ison, who also spoke at the forum, indicated that a marketing and communications programme will shortly be rolled out to further sensitise beneficiaries about the JAIP’s provisions.
Participants also heard presentations from representatives of the insurance providers.
JAIP is being financed by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF); National Health Fund (NHF); Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.