Don't wait until it's too late - Life insurance for entertainers
As the entertainment fraternity continues to come to grips with the loss of one of its own - Niko Chromatic - his death has rehashed arguments surrounding the need for entertainers to not only take better care of themselves, but to be financially prepared for any eventuality, including death.
Niko Chrtomatic died on May 8 from a kidney disease he had been battling for the past three years. His story was particularly heart-wrenching as the entertainer had just recently secured enough funds to undergo life-saving surgery overseas. His tragic end has brought to the fore the need for entertainers to not only secure health insurance, but life insurance policies as well.
Speaking with Television Jamaica recently, the Insurance Association of Jamaica revealed that approximately 70 per cent of Jamaicans are without life insurance. The reports revealed that only 29 per cent of the workforce has life insurance, a fact the VP of the IAJ, Vernon James, deemed 'unfortunate'. "The time to buy that (life insurance) is when you're healthy. We do believe that there is significant scope to improve the penetration, and it is a necessary activity that has to happen in the country for people to be secured from the health services," he said. "People don't view life insurance as a priority they have other things that they consider more pressing."
Death seem farfetched
Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), agrees. He told The Sunday Gleaner that persons, in general, particularly young people, do not see the need to get a life insurance policy. Speaking specifically to entertainers, Campbell explained that their vibrancy, popularity, and fame make death seem far-fetched for them. "The problem in Jamaica is that although you have so many young people dying, we just don't see ourselves, especially if we are young, worrying about writing a will or thinking about health or life insurance. They should think about it (death), but they don't because it won't happen to them. It happens to other people, but not them. Entertainers want to keep young all the time, and there is nothing wrong with that, but what are you doing to make sure that your house is in order?" he asked.
Campbell added: "What I have found over the years is that entertainers nuh have no time a worry bout that (life insurance or death). So the problem lies in convincing a young, successful entertainer that they must start thinking about their future in that way."
He said that if more entertainers realised the importance of health and life insurance, they would see that it's a necessity and that it is better secured while they are young. "If you start preparing from an early age, the insurance plans are a lot cheaper. If you start dealing with your insurance at 21 or 22, the plan is so cheap you can get say a $10 million dollar coverage for little or nothing," he explained. "By the time you reach 50, is nearly three times that, and it gets more expensive as you age."
Campbell stresses that health and life insurance secures an individual to the extent that if the individual becomes ill or dies suddenly, there will be fewer persons coming out to seek help from the public in assisting with medical expenses or funeral arrangements. Pointing to all the veteran entertainers who have died or fallen on hard times and who have had to seek the help of the public with funeral plans, Campbell urged younger artistes to take their demise as a lesson, and not wait until it is too late to take action in securing their future and that of their families.