Jamaica needs to be better insured against natural disasters, says economist Errol Gregory.
Natural disasters occur regularly in the Caribbean region and have massive impacts on persons and the economy, the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) lecturer said. He pointed out that the impact of these disasters could be tempered through the improved use of insurance.
His comment found resonance with Chris Hind, general manager of JN General Insurance Company (JNGI), who declared that “the country needs to improve its level of insurance coverage, as major segments of the population have no effective coverage in the event of natural disasters”.
He pointed out that home insurance coverage is relatively low and frequently tied to the need for a mortgage loan to protect the lender. And, where it is not mandatory, insurance coverage is not only low but in some areas, such as agriculture, coverage has actually declined over the years.
“This poses a challenge, given that insurance transfers the cost of potential loss to entities prepared to bear it,” Hinds explained. “Without the insurance mechanism, persons and organisations are forced to bear the cost of their loss on their own.”