The main public sector union and one of the island’s large insurance companies have formed a unique partnership that has seen the establishment of a new entity by the workers’ representative body.
The National Union of Public Workers and the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd have joined to form an agent, a body to sell insurance products to the union’s 10,000 registered members.
The agent, contrary to popular belief but according to local legislation, is supposed to be an entity, and not necessarily an individual, who can sell products on behalf of the insurance company, which is what the new body will do, said union chairman Cedric Murrell.
Stating that the body was “a step outside one of the traditional role of unions” which would normally negotiate salary increases, Murrell noted in a press launch at ICBL, Roebuck Street this morning: “This event today signals a new chapter in our union’s role to safeguard workers’ representation…
“The NUPW’s Group Medical Plan is renewed yearly and over the past three or four years, ICBL’s sales specialist had been making approaches to secure the plan for his company.” Noting that the arrangement now returned the insurance coverage to ICBL, which had been its insurance agency in the past, the chairman further said: “The proposal to establish an agent not only offered improved benefits to members of the union, but also offered an opportunity for the union to establish a business entity which, in the long term, will ensure that benefits to members are enhanced exponentially.”
Senior Vice President of ICBL and Head of the Life Division, Henry Inniss told media that the deal came after months of negotiations to underwrite a medical scheme for the union.
He said the insurance company had provided training to NUPW staff and there were further plans to educate members on products and the importance of health and wellness through a preventative programme.
“The NUPW is the largest public sector union with a membership of 10,000. The NUPW Insurance Agent Inc. will now provide for the needs of 2,200 members already on the union’s group medical plan, with tremendous potential for increasing this number based on having such a large membership base.
“This is the first time in our company’s history that ICBL has forged an agent relationship with an organisation whose core business is not insurance. But it is not our first time in partnership with the National Union of Public Workers,” said Inniss. (LB)