The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded many of us about the importance of being prepared for a rainy day, this is why Donald Austin, Chief Executive Officer for Sagicor Life Eastern Caribbean Inc (SLECI) is strongly urging all individuals who currently have life insurance policies to make every effort to keep them in force and up to date.
“Individuals have realised more than ever before, the importance of building a safety net for themselves and their families, as one significant event or change in circumstance has the potential to cripple a household,” he said. “Certainly, no one started 2020 expecting to suffer a reduction in income from working less hours or being laid off from work temporarily due to prolonged business closure; however, life is full of uncertainties which we should try our best to prepare for.”
Mr. Austin explained that when an individual takes out a permanent life insurance policy, over time, it accumulates cash values. These cash values can be made available to the customer as they can borrow from their policy to assist them when cash is required to cover unplanned situations that may occur.
“Due to COVID-19 and the resulting impact on the economy and household incomes, some individuals would have found themselves in a position where they could not meet their financial obligations and being able to access these funds from their policy would have allowed them to ‘ride out’ the difficult period. Arrangements for loan repayment can be set up to begin immediately or can be deferred until they get back on their feet.”
In addition to being able to access this loan facility, Sagicor policyholders also benefitted from a 90-day moratorium on life insurance premium payments, providing them with a grace period during which they did not need to worry about their policy lapsing or losing their coverage. Since then, this period has been extended to 150 days and this has been appreciated by persons who are still finding things difficult.
Mr. Austin, who is charged with leading Sagicor Life’s interests in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent as well as Belize, stated that the company has worked tirelessly to put measures and policies in place to assist its clients with riding out this long, tough period.
“We continue to keep our fingers on the pulse, constantly evaluating the circumstances that face the individual economies of each territory in which we operate, the region and our clients. After 180 years in this business, we know that we cannot be complacent. We therefore continue to be innovative in providing flexible solutions for our customers and prospects, whether in terms of new products and services, or finding ways to make it easier for them to afford to keep their policy active.”