Gillian Hyde, general manager of JN Small Business Loans.
Gillian Hyde, general manager of JN Small Business Loans, has affirmed the need for the speedy implementation of a micro-insurance scheme for micro small and medium enterprises, to assist them to withstand the effects of natural disasters, and other perils that may affect their livelihood.
Mrs. Hyde made the call during a panel discussion at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Conference and Expo mounted under the theme: “International Trade and Sustainable Development,” at the Golf View Hotel on May 16.
“Based on our discussion on sustainable development, we at JN Small Business Loan, use this opportunity to call for the speedy implementation of an insurance scheme to assist entrepreneurs in times of disaster. This scheme would help the microfinance sector to manage risks, caused by natural disasters and other perils that may befall our clients,” stated Mrs Hyde.
Micro-insurance is generally designed for entrepreneurs such as: fishermen, small-scale farmers, taxi drivers, domestic workers and other micro-entrepreneurs. It offers coverage for property, term life, health, stock, crop, livestock, and calamity.
The general manager added that currently, climate change is impacting both the agricultural sector and townships; hence such a scheme is necessary.
“From our experience, natural disasters and other perils can have a devastating effect on micro entrepreneurs. And, many persons are struggling to return to the level they achieved prior to these events,” said Mrs. Hyde, noting that after the floods in Montego Bay late last year, many entrepreneurs experienced difficulties in resuming their operations.
Mrs. Hyde added that such an insurance facility would enable entrepreneurs to rebound faster, while enabling the sector to achieve its potential.
“This micro-insurance scheme would provide the comfort of knowing that in the event of a flood, theft, illness or fire, they would be able to sustain their business; and school their children just the same,” she stated.
She added that the scheme could be a public-private sector partnership, with both sectors covering a part of the sum insured.
“Over the years, we have assisted our clients to get back on their feet, through special loans, moratoriums, write-offs and other facilities. This has helped many to maintain their lives. However, as disaster levels increase, there is urgent need to establish a national programme to provide assistance,” she added.
Earlier, members of the panel spoke about the growth potential in Jamaica; and how agriculture and the MSME sector can assist in driving the economy.
Other members of the panel included: Ms Laurie Peters, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica; Ms Racquel Peters, Head, International Trade and Investment, British High Commission, Jamaica; Ms Jian Duo, Economic and Commercial Officer, Chinese Embassy; Mr Aamir Alavi, Economic and Commercial Officer, United States Embassy, Jamaica; Ms Marlene Porter, Sales and Promotions Manager, Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO)and, Mr Stuart Barnes, first vice president, Manchester Chamber of Commerce.