Critical Illness Insurance should be considered as an essential part of any financial and estate planning because of its potential to reduce the possibility of economic hardships on families in the event that one member is diagnosed with a major illness, says Othneil Blagrove, Senior Manager – Sales, JN Life Insurance.

Mr. Blagrove explained that the high cost of treatment associated with caring for persons with critical illnesses has impacted many families negatively, leaving many in debt. He added that the need for families to invest in a Critical Illness Insurance policy should be given priority especially in light of a World Bank Study which stated that in the average Jamaican household, if there is a member of the family diagnosed with a Non-Communicable Disease, they are likely to spend a third of their disposable income on treating that ailment over time.

Othneil Blagrove
Othneil Blagrove, Senior Manager – sales, JN Life Insurance Company

“When you examine the cost of healthcare locally, a serious illness that requires surgery can set back a family millions of dollars. Also, if the family member who is ill passes on, the surviving members may be left to foot the outstanding bills. These costs have placed many families in difficulty even long after their loved one has passed,” said Mr. Blagrove.

“Many persons may say they have savings for such eventuality, but the money set aside is sometimes not enough. There are cases where families who have saved a good amount of money have seen the funds reduced significantly because of a critical illness diagnosis and the funds it took to treat it. As such, a Critical Illness Insurance policy can provide the cushion needed to undergo treatment,” he added.
The JN Life Insurance senior manager added that with data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness revealing that one in three Jamaicans is hypertensive; one in eight is diabetic; and one third of the population will be diagnosed with a chronic illness such as prostate cancer or breast cancer, more persons needed to plan for illnesses.

Mr. Blagrove noted that while more persons were purchasing Critical Illness Insurance policies, many persons were still hesitant because they believe it is costly. However, he advised that persons could start with a minimum monthly payment and increase their premiums as their incomes rise. “Many people think life insurance premiums are costly. However, there are inexpensive policies available which offer coverage for an individual or family. I would urge Jamaicans to invest in a Critical Illness Insurance policy that can protect them and their family from financial difficulties should a medical emergency arise,” he said.