For Im­me­di­ate Re­lease

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Source: The Saint Lu­cia Ho­tel and Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion Inc. (SLHTA) Con­tact: Mr. Noorani M. Azeez, SLHTA Tel: 1 -758 452 5978 or 453 1811.


Med­i­cal in­sur­ance is key to im­prov­ing staff wel­fare and pro­duc­tiv­ity:

Cas­tries, Saint Lu­cia – 2nd March 2017 – In an un­prece­dented move to de­liver the best group med­i­cal in­sur­ance cov­er­age for hospitality in­dus­try work­ers, the SLHTA an­nounces a strate­gic al­liance with lo­cal in­sur­ance bro­ker Ster­ling In­sur­ance Ser­vices (St. Lu­cia) Ltd. The strate­gic al­liance which was forged last month came into full ef­fect on 1st March 2017, with the in­tro­duc­tion of a NEW SLHTA GROUP HEALTH IN­SUR­ANCE PLAN be­ing of­fered ex­clu­sively to em­ploy­ees of SLHTA mem­ber com­pa­nies.

SLHTA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Noorani Azeez ex­plained that “the new plan was de­signed around a keen con­sid­er­a­tion of which med­i­cal in­sur­ance ben­e­fits are in the best in­ter­est of our in­dus­try em­ploy­ees and built ac­cord­ing to the de­mands of in­dus­try work­ers.”

The SLHTA now of­fers mem­bers ac­cess to health and med­i­cal in­sur­ance with the best sched­ule of ben­e­fits cov­er­ing vi­sion, den­tal and other med­i­cal care in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to Pri­vate Duty Nurs­ing Care, Hospi­tal Room and Board, Pre­scribed Drug Ben­e­fits, Di­ag­nos­tic (X-ray & Lab) ben­e­fits, Psy­chi­atric Ser­vices (Out of Hospi­tal), Phys­io­ther­apy Ben­e­fits, Chi­ro­prac­tic Ben­e­fits, Ra­dio­ther­apy/Chemo­ther­apy, Air­fare and Emer­gency Air Am­bu­lance, Con­gen­i­tal Birth De­fects, Aids/Aids re­lated Ill­nesses and Pre­ven­ta­tive Care Ben­e­fits.

“Our team mem­bers are our great­est al­lies in grow­ing our in­dus­try,” said Azeez, “it is there­fore an im­per­a­tive that our As­so­ci­a­tion ne­go­ti­ates the ab­so­lute best med­i­cal in­sur­ance ac­cess for our mem­ber em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies. Our group med­i­cal in­sur­ance plan must there­fore be sec­ond to none. Our tourism in­dus­try work­ers work very hard to de­liver our prom­ise of the best va­ca­tion ever for our guests. They there­fore, de­serve the very best group med­i­cal in­sur­ance cov­er­age we can pro­vide. The SLHTA be­lieves that we now pro­vide ex­actly that.”

At the heart of the strate­gic part­ner­ship is a com­mit­ment to con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of the plan over the com­ing months. The SLHTA has com­mit­ted to con­tinue mon­i­tor­ing the pulse of in­dus­try work­ers and ex­pand the plan to meet their grow­ing needs.

Azeez added that “The cov­er­age is be­ing of­fered ex­clu­sively to SLHTA mem­bers be­cause col­lec­tively we can lever­age the strength of num­bers to ne­go­ti­ate the best ben­e­fits. Our goal is to dou­ble the number of per­sons on the plan by the end of this year, thereby ex­ceed­ing 2000 work­ers and ben­e­fi­cia­ries.”

Mrs. Diane Smith, Di­rec­tor of Ster­ling In­surances (St. Lu­cia) Ltd., com­ment­ing on the con­tri­bu­tion of her com­pany to the part­ner­ship stated that “we un­der­stand the im­por­tance of this plan not only to the SLHTA but to the in­di­vid­ual em­ploy­ees and we want to en­sure that in­te­gral in the im­ple­men­ta­tion process is the education of the em­ploy­ees on the op­er­a­tion and ben­e­fits of the plan. In these chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times a Health Plan is worth more than just the cost of the pre­mium. It is im­por­tant to strike a bal­ance between the need for bet­ter cov­er­age and the af­ford­abil­ity of the pre­mium.”

The new plan is in­sured by The Bea­con In­sur­ance which will soon in­tro­duce a cut­ting edge tech­no­log­i­cal plat­form al­low­ing SLHTA mem­bers the op­por­tu­nity to mon­i­tor and track the sta­tus of their claims via a se­cure on-line por­tal. Azeez noted that “The abil­ity to also use this plat­form to fa­cil­i­tate di­rect de­posit of claims to their bank ac­counts will prove im­mea­sur­ably con­ve­nient to our work­ers sav­ing them time, trans­porta­tion and tele­phone costs to fol­low up on claims which can prove to be frus­trat­ing.” Among the core ben­e­fits of the plan is a com­mit­ment from the bro­ker to sub­mit all claims to the in­sur­ers within 24 hours of re­ceipt, a com­mit­ment from the in­sur­ers to process claims within 5 work­ing days of re­ceipt of the claim and spe­cial at­ten­tion pro­vided to ma­jor med­i­cal claims.

Azeez con­cluded that “this gath­er­ing of strengths from three in­dus­try giants com­pris­ing SLHTA, Ster­ling In­surances and the Bea­con In­sur­ance will im­me­di­ately har­mo­nize ex­clu­sively to the ben­e­fit of tourism in­dus­try work­ers who are mem­bers of the SLHTA.” The plan is the only ap­proved health and med­i­cal plan en­dorsed by the SLHTA.

The new ini­tia­tive forms an in­te­gral part of the SLHTA’s on­go­ing mis­sion to en­hance its value for mem­ber­ship propo­si­tion for over 200 mem­ber com­pa­nies. It builds upon the As­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ist­ing hu­man de­vel­op­ment pro­grams rang­ing from com­mu­nity after school sup­port for kids, for­eign lan­guages train­ing for the gen­eral pub­lic, hospitality skills train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for in­dus­try work­ers, hospitality ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gram for un­em­ployed youth and strength­en­ing agro-tourism link­ages with farm­ers and agro pro­ces­sors.

About the SLHTA: The St. Lu­cia Ho­tel and Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion (SLHTA) is the prin­ci­pal tourism pri­vate sec­tor agency in St. Lu­cia with a mem­ber­ship of over 200 com­pa­nies com­pris­ing 74 ho­tels and other ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ment plus al­lied mem­bers rang­ing from air­lines, ground trans­porta­tion agen­cies and des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment com­pa­nies (DMC) to dis­trib­u­tors, restau­rants, pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor agen­cies, re­tail­ers, tourism pro­fes­sion­als, tour guides, tour op­er­a­tors and travel agents. As a pri­vate non­profit mem­ber­ship or­ga­ni­za­tion, the SLHTA‘s main role is to fa­cil­i­tate tourism sec­tor de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment in St. Lu­cia. It does this through, in­ter alia, pro­vid­ing train­ing and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for work­ers within the hospitality sec­tor, pre­sent­ing its mem­ber­ship with as much in­for­ma­tion and tech­ni­cal sup­port as pos­si­ble for fa­cil­i­tat­ing their in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive ad­vance­ment and up­hold­ing the col­lec­tive in­ter­ests of its mem­bers.

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