Dr. Damian Ffriend, Senior manager, sales and services, JN Life Insurance Company

JN Life Insurance has developed two critical illness products, which allows their clients with these policies to retain coverage even after the initial diagnosis of an illness.  The plans, which allow for persons claim as long as their premiums are up to date, is a first for Jamaica.

“Research suggests that one in three Jamaicans will be diagnosed with a critical illness by the age of 60,” explained Dr. Damian Ffriend, senior manager, sales and services, JN Life Insurance Company. “And, as we mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is worthy to note that the median age for diagnosis of that disease among women in Jamaica is 52. These diseases place a heavy burden on families, based on the costs associated with treatment.”

“As a ‘life company,’ we are dedicated to giving our clients peace of mind in those difficult times; and both products will assist families with those expenses,” he stated.

The critical illness plan has two components: a family plan and one for individuals. The critical illness plans, marketed as “JN Life Aide” and “JN Life Family Aide,” offer coverage for JN Life Insurance policy holders after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer or any other critical illness, provided that the premiums are being paid.

The JN Life Aide is an individual critical illness plan, which offers coverage for 13 illnesses including: cancer, stroke, heart attack, partial kidney failure and major burns.

“We’ve found that very often, if you’ve had one critical illness, you become more likely to have something else, because the body had to go through all of those challenges; and in such cases, we say the waiting period is six months,” he related.

Dr Ffriend said the JN Group is aware that a cancer diagnosis can be financially devastating for the average Jamaican family. “I’ve seen persons, not only grapple with the costs of taking care of their health needs, but also while they are ill and trying to get better, their house for example, goes on auction, because they had to make a choice between paying the mortgage and trying to get better,” he related.

“We’ve seen future generations get put back several years, because what was supposed to be the education fund for the children had to be used for cancer treatment,” he said.

The JN Life Family Aide also covers 13 illnesses and includes coverage for children. Both plans offer coverage of up to $6 million. The family plan covers up to six persons with eligibility ages being between 0-60 years old; while the individual plan covers persons starting from age 18.

“There are more children being diagnosed with critical illnesses; however, they are normally not covered for critical illnesses. As a result, we find it necessary to be the first insurance company with a critical illness product on the market, which offers coverage for children,” the senior manager explained.

He added that the current plan allows for parents and in-laws to be covered.

“Another feature of the product is that, once the client is eligible, he or she is covered up to the age of 80 years old, which means that parents and in-laws can also be covered,” he stated.

In addition, a feature which both products offers is that participants are still eligible after their first diagnosis.

“At present, most insurance companies do not reinsure persons diagnosed with a critical illness after they have recovered, despite the fact that, the risk of being affected by the illness again increases after the initial diagnosis. Both of our products allow for the client to be covered for reoccurrence, provided that the initial diagnosis occurred after ‘onboarding’,” Dr. Ffriend outlined.

“After you have received payment, you continue to remain our client; and you are still covered for the sum for which you were insured. While critical illnesses are part of the facts of life, they do not have to mean the end,” he assured.