Tue | May 26, 2020

Life insurance opportunity knocks for persons living with HIV

Published:Sunday | December 8, 2019 | 12:39 AM

Persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can now access ordinary life insurance coverage through Sagicor Life Jamaica. The company is offering policies of up to $10 million to HIV-positive applicants who are fully compliant with their treatment regime.

Persons living with HIV previously had limited options for life insurance as they were only able to access coverage through guaranteed issue or coupon policies, which do not require medical tests to be done, and provides a maximum coverage of up to $5 million.

The new coverage offer is open to persons who are between 20 and 64 years old and will require the provision of a full medical history report, including current test results and attending physician’s report.

Mark Chisholm, executive vice-president, Sagicor Life, Individual Life Division, said the move reflected the value the company puts on inclusiveness in the insurance space.

He noted that persons living with HIV now have longer life expectancy with the improved accessibility to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in recent years.

“We want to ensure that all Jamaicans have an opportunity to access coverage, which will add significant value to their capacity to financially plan for their future and to provide for their families,” Chisholm said.

Data from the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for 2018 indicates that there are 32,617 Jamaicans living with HIV, 39 per cent of whom were accessing ARV treatment. Sixty-two per cent had achieved suppressed viral loads, making the virus undetectable.

Dr Peter Figueroa, professor of public health, epidemiology and HIV-AIDS at The University of the West Indies, Mona, has welcomed the move by Sagicor Life.

Figueroa is a leading activist for the HIV community and has been instrumental in the HIV response locally.

“The treatment now available for persons living with HIV is excellent and, as long as persons take their medication every day, they can live healthy and productive lives,” he said, adding that he believed many persons living with HIV would welcome the opportunity to receive life insurance coverage.