'Watershed moment' - Massive insurance coverage secured for regional cricketers
Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron is hoping that the US$253,000 ($31.9 million) the board has dished out to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) to secure a health insurance plan for retained players from all six regional franchises will lure the best athletes in the region to the gentlemen's game once again.
Cameron made the comment at the handover ceremony of the health insurance cards to Jamaica Scorpions players at Sabina Park, yesterday.
Bringing cricket back
"One of the major reasons for us doing this is that we want cricket to become the number -one sport in the region again," Cameron said. "There is no other sporting body in the region who is giving their players health insurance."
The plan, which is being offered by Excel/VUMI, will cover 123 players from across the region, including women, with 90 of those players coming from the domestic level and 30 internationals.
The plan will offer health insurance as well as critical- illness coverage. It is a full medical plan and also provides international coverage with providers all over the region and in the United States.
"The coverage is available worldwide, including the United States, at some of the best hospitals," said business development officer for Excel Insurance Brokers Kinshasa Minott.
"This is not just health insurance for sport-related injuries. There is a dental benefit, there is optical benefit, there is prescription up to US$1,200, there are benefits for full surgery, so it is not just about your health as a player, but as an individual."
WIPA president Wavell Hinds, who has worked hard to secure the deal, described the initiative as a watershed moment for regional cricket.
"This is a watershed moment in West Indies cricket. It is the first time you will have members of our cricket fraternity being offered health insurance," Hinds said.
"The purpose of this is to provide coverage and security to all our members and we want to expand it beyond the playing field to our staff and the groundsmen and others."
He continued: "The health insurance will allow the players to be able to go out on the cricket field and play in a more assured manner so that they can focus on the cricket."