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Welcome! Welcome to another exciting and informative issue of the Wellness eZine by Sagicor. In this issue, we highlight Sagicor Life Jamaica’s successful GSAT Scholarship, which provides assistance for students who have achieved outstanding results in their examinations. Sagicor has been assisting Grade 6 students since 1994 and we are proud of the great tradition we have established in giving back to Jamaica’s youth. As usual, we also continue to share information with you about the importance of making smarter food choices, staying fit and taking better care of your home to ensure that you and your family can live happier, healthier lives. As always, your feedback is invaluable to us, so please feel free to send your questions, comments and suggestions to

Contents 3 5 6 8 9 12 13 14 15 17

What you need to know How the Sagicor Fastcard works Sagicor Helps Take the mystery out of your retirement planning Cover Feature Sagicor rewards outstandng GSAT students Focus on wellness JMMB promoting wellness for increased productivity My Fitness Modern reflexology: Zoning in on therapeutic choice Family Health 4 bad food ingredients to avoid Health News  Healthy Home Is your bathroom making you sick? Ask the doctor Fighting the ‘big C’ Highlights Sagicor’s GSAT Awards luncheon

What you need to know

How the

Sagicor Fastcard works


he Sagicor Fastcard, also known as the ‘swipe card’, is an electronic authorisation card for participating providers: doctors, laboratories, pharmacies and hospitals. It is used in conjunction with a terminal similar to the ones used for authorisation of credit/debit card purchases.

The card aims to provide fast and easy access to specific health benefits by eliminating manual processing and improving the reimbursement turnaround time for service providers. On presentation of the Fastcard, the service provider is able to check eligibility and available balances before completing a transaction. Each card is programmed with credit limits that are based on the plan negotiated by each employer or our pre-packaged Individual Health plans. In order to monitor your available balances, we ask you to retain copies of your receipts or call our Corporate Contact Centre at 1-888-SAGICOR (724-4267), selecting option 3. There are occasions, however, when service may be declined. Some of the reasons for declination are: - Overutilisation of the benefit - Termination of coverage - Faulty magnetic strip - Plan not active   If you experience any of these problems, please call our Corporate Contact Centre. In the event that the problem cannot be rectified at that time, you may pay for the service upfront and be reimbursed according to plan benefits. The Fastcard is issued once for the lifetime of your health plan, while a Benefit Card is provided at each anniversary date. If your card has been lost or stolen, please report it immediately and the cards will be replaced at a minimal charge. You can reach us at 1-888-SAGICOR (724-4267), Select option -3 or the address below: R DANNY WILLIAMS BUILDING 28-48 BARBADOS AVENUE KINGSTON 5


Sagicor Helps

Take the mystery out of your retirement planning


e all want to have a comfortable and enjoyable retirement, but without a focused approach and structured plan, this dream will probably not be achieved. Gone are the days when we can view our retirement as our parents did, being assured of a guaranteed pension at age 65, receiving generous gifts of gratitude for our services and health insurance for life, or relying on the support of their children. Earlier generations could safely depend on employerprovided pensions, but the reality is that today, not many people are accessing group sponsored pension arrangements buying into the merits approved retirement schemes, which allow individuals to save in a secure, tax efficient manner for their retirement. These individuals are left to rely on their personal savings and the benefits from the National Insurance Scheme. The situation is further compounded given the knowledge that advancement in medicine has resulted in persons living longer, often into their 80s and 90s, where they often outlive their savings. Here are four factors to consider when planning for your retirement: Setting goals Most people spend on average 40-45 years working and 25-30 years in retirement. Recognising that retirement is indeed a journey and one therefore has to be emotionally, socially and most importantly financially ready, you should consider these five issues in your planning: 1. Income replacement 2. Inflation protection 3. Retirement income protection 4. Post-retirement risks 5. Psychological adjustments The first step in retirement planning is estimating how much money you will need. A popular rule of thumb claims that you will only need about 70 per cent of your preretirement income to maintain your lifestyle in retirement. While you will probably save some money currently being spent on work-related items like formal clothes and commuting, other costs go up in retirement, such as health care. In your goal setting exercise and determining the level of replacement income desired, the two main expenses to really take into consideration would be housing and

Marlene Motta, Senior Benefits Consultant, Employee Benefits Division - Marketing

medical expenses. Will you still have mortgage or rental payments? With increasing medical expenses and this trend continuing unabated, it is perhaps better to aim at securing replacement income of at least 75 per cent of your income at retirement. Benefits of starting early and planning ahead Having determined how much money you will need, you need to now figure out how you will accumulate it. The best thing is to start saving in a structured manner at a younger age when time is on your side. Your money will grow, not only from your additional savings, but also from the miracle of compounding. This is the result of earnings from interest and from the regularity of the amounts being saved. With an early start, you enjoy a wider selection of investment opportunities, the ability to shop around for more attractive returns and being able to consider longterm tax shelter savings, which can facilitate additional tax benefits and allow you to also seek passive income. You will also be protected from unexpected setbacks such as loss of employment and extended periods of illness. See part 2 in the next issue.


Cover feature

Sagicor rewards Scholarship recipients Amanda Bond and Gianluca Webster


Outstanding GSAT students

ince 1994, Sagicor Life Jamaica has made the transition from primary to secondary schools easier for 226 students and their parents with a scholarship programme for outstanding grade six scholars. This year, 10 girls and six boys were rewarded for their excellent performances in the annual Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and were feted at a special luncheon hosted by Sagicor in August.

Gianluca is no stranger to doing well academically. At age 10, while still in grade five, he sat the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Human and Social Biology examination and earned a distinction. This achievement at an age when most of his peers were focusing only on GSAT was astounding. The former Old Harbour Primary School student did not disappoint at the GSAT level, earning a place at his school of choice.

Each year, the beneficiaries, who are selected with the help of the Ministry of Education (MoE), receive fiveyear scholarships valued at $125,000 that cover all their academic expenses. It is renewed every year as long as the students maintain a B average, 75 per cent, by the MoE’s standards. They also become part of a mentorship programme where they are matched with Sagicor employees and past recipients who act as their ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters’.

His mother, Dorette, was surprised and ecstatic. “I knew he worked hard, so he was just reaping the fruits of his labour,” she said. However, the results did not come as a surprise for Gianluca. His mother revealed that after each exam, he came out smiling at how easy the paper had been.

Among this year’s recipients are Gianluca Webster and Amanda Bond, who are now attending Ardenne High School and Campion College, respectively.

Gianluca’s father, Michael, is the one who pushes him to excel and is always saying, “he can do it; he can do it.” In fact, it was at his suggestion that his son took the CSEC exam. Michael said he is never surprised by how well he does because he knows that the ability is there.


Fathers Christopher Bond (left) and Michael Webster (far right) are proud of their children’s accomplishments

“Excellence has been a habit with Gian,” his mother agreed. “He graduated at the top of his class in kindergarten, was first in his class from grade one to grade six, graduated as top student from primary school and was given the honour of being valedictorian.” Sagicor’s GSAT scholarship winners are selected based on merit without them having to apply, so Gianluca’s selection came as a surprise. Upon hearing that her son was to be a recipient, Dorette was relieved because she knew that the scholarship would provide necessary financial assistance. “I felt great about the scholarship. All of the time I spent and the struggles I went through were rewarded,” said Gianluca. Eleven-year-old Amanda Bond was ‘as cool as a cucumber’ upon receiving her GSAT results, said her mother, Lorna. The real excitement for Amanda was beating her older brother’s GSAT average from 10 years before. Her 98.4 per cent average earned her a place at her first choice school. Laughing, Lorna remarked that Amanda generally takes everything in stride while the rest of her family frets on her behalf. Lorna was elated about Amanda’s results, but added that she had expected them to be good. She was even happier when

she heard about the scholarship, not just for its monetary value but also for the prestige that comes along with having earned it. Since beginning classes in September, Amanda’s favourite thing about high school has been art class. She is looking at becoming an interior designer and loves the painting, drawing and designing she gets to do there. “She’s always looking for the next step,” said Lorna. “We don’t put pressure on her, but she works hard and she expects to do well.” Both Gianluca and Amanda are adjusting well to the changes that come with being high school students, including a new, bigger environment, new friends and a different teacher per subject. Sagicor is committed to its mission of helping to uplift Jamaican youth. In addition to academic scholarships, Sagicor has incorporated secondary scholarships, which are awarded to the top boy and girl from the Jamaica Teacher’s Association/ Sagicor National Athletic Championships. These scholarships are brought into effect once the children reach secondary school.


Focus on wellness

JMMB promoting wellness for increased productivity


ood physical and mental health are dependent on a number of different factors and Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) is one company that does its best to ensure the all-round wellness of its employees. The company’s belief is that if an employee is well they work more productively and this has been JMMB’s philosophy since its inception. One of the major benefits that JMMB offers is the non-contributory health insurance available to JMMB employees and their families. This insurance plan, provided by Sagicor Life Jamaica, covers children until they turn 18, but if they are enrolled in school full-time, they can be covered by the policy until age 23, provided there is proof of enrolment. There is also an emphasis placed on diet and exercise. This is primarily done through the company’s ‘Biggest Loser’ competition. Staff members are placed in teams and after an initial weigh-in, each team creates a diet and exercise programme. The teams also do regular weighins to track their progress. At the end of the period, the team that loses the most weight wins. Additionally, JMMB ensures that healthier options like fish and vegetarian meals are provided for its employees at lunchtime. The JMMB gym, located at their head office on Haughton Terrace, is open to all employees in the corporate area and a gym stipend is provided for those at

branches outside of Kingston. In addition to the standard gym equipment, there are several classes available, such as yoga, kickboxing and Zumba. JMMB also encourages employees to use their talents and abilities at the occasional variety show and sports or fun days. JMMB also considers the mental wellbeing of staff members, providing counselling sessions through Family Life Ministries. These sessions can be transferred to JMMB employees’ family members if needed. A nursery is also available and provides a space for young children to be cared for while their parents are at work. This is especially helpful for those who work late in the evenings. Knowing that their children are nearby and being well taken care of removes a burden from the minds of staff. “When the child is comfortable, the brain can be comfortable,” said Human Resource Administration Manager, Simone Dunbar. Overall, a quarter of JMMB’s yearly finances is dedicated to wellness. This also involves seminars on health, money matters and a variety of other factors that could contribute to stress. These benefits are not just for the Kingston employees and every effort is made to ensure that employees in other branches have similar advantages. “When an employee is well, they produce good work. They’re creative and efficient and that productivity leads to good business and profitability,” said Dunbar.

My fitness

Modern reflexology: Zoning in on therapeutic choice By Nicola Crosswell-Mair, TMP, CPR

Reflexologists Nicola Crosswell-Mair and Shirley Reeson treat clients during World Reflexology Week,

In the last 20 years, traditional reflexology has seen a strong resurgence in the western world and is now well known for its positive results. Historians and archaelogists discovered hieroglyphics in Egypt which illustrated patients feet being treated. Their research revealed that this procedure strongly resembled modern reflexology. Fast forward to the 21st century, where reflexology is well established and practised in most countries around the world, including Jamaica. Many local certified professional reflexologists (CPRs) are sought out by clients who desire this non-invasive therapy.

Several types of reflexology have developed in the last few decades. Dedicated reflexologists who use the profession for research as well as a practice, have observed that clients responded positively to variations of traditional therapy. Chi reflexology was developed by Australian, Moss Arnold. This powerful method of reflexology incorporates traditional Chinese medicine and involves meridians and linkage work. Meridians are energy pathways in the body which can be accessed by applying pressure to specific areas on the feet which link organ systems. His approach has been effective in treating various complaints. Arnold has been to Jamaica to teach his method.


My fitness Vertical reflex therapy (VRT) was discovered by Lynne Booth, a registered nurse and CPR. She runs a home for the elderly in Bristol, England. Once, while dealing with a patient, an elderly member came to her with a chronic pain in the hip and requested immediate treatment. In the interest of time, Booth asked her to stand and proceeded to carry out treatment. The treatment took about 15 minutes and the following day the member returned and reported that the pain had completely disappeared. This motivated Booth to continue to research administering vertical reflexology treatments. Ten years later, it is now well known and is helpful with orthopedic problems, addictions and insomnia. Today, Booth travels the world teaching VRT and has taught her course in Jamaica.

method involves the integration of colour in traditional treatment. Typical of reflexology, the redistribution of the body’s energy for purposes of balance plays an important role. Research has shown that every colour has a unique vibration that resonates when we absorb it. One example is the colour blue – when we see it, we feel calm and peaceful. The world is now moving towards utilising natural healing methods as a non-invasive treatment option that may be used along with conventional medicine. Reflexology continues evolving, bringing to the client help, relief and relaxation from the stresses of living in a fast-paced environment.

Last year, Pauline Wills of the Oracle School of Reflexology carried out a course on colour reflexology in Jamaica. This

Cislyn, a member of the public, receiving a free reflexology treatment from Crosswell-Mair


Family health

Four bad food ingredients to avoid


As with most things in life, moderation is key, so bear that in mind and approach your diet with an awareness of what you are consuming. The less processed foods are, the better they are for you. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot indulge in you favourite treat – as long as that is all it really is, a treat that you have once in a while.

rocessed foods have become a daily part of our lives. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner usually include at least one processed item. These foods contain a myriad of ingredients that, not only can’t we pronounce them, but we often don’t know their potential effects on our bodies. Many of us shop unconsciously, picking up items without even looking at the labels before placing them in our cart. Here are a few of the ingredients you should look out for and avoid consuming: Aspartame Found in many products, aspartame has become a household staple without people even realising it. This artificial sweetener can be found in commonly consumed items like sugar-free gum, instant teas and coffees, juice beverages and sodas. Illnesses and disorders such as brain cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, birth defects and emotional conditions like depression have all been linked to aspartame consumption. High fructose corn syrup Recent studies have shown that the consumption of added sugars could be the cause of many critical health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and some types of cancer. Dr Robert Lustig from the University of California, San Francisco, says that while the consumption of sugar may have decreased, the consumption of high fructose corn syrup has increased, which is of equal detriment. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become the most widely used sweetener in processed foods and beverages. HFCS was introduced as a cheaper alternative to sugar between 1975 and 1985, so many manufacturers began using it as a substitute. This sweetener is metabolised to fat far more rapidly than any other sugar, leading to plaque build-up and narrowing of blood vessels, which can cause heart and circulatory diseases. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) While the Food and Drug Administration has classified MSG as a safe food, there have been symptoms reported in the past that have been attributed to its consumption. Reactions to the ingredient, used as a flavour enhancer, include nausea, headaches, sweating, chest pains and heart palpitations. The best way to avoid these potential symptoms is to minimise your consumption of products containing MSG.


Health news

News updates

Anti-Aging Benefits of Omega-3 During the normal aging process, the body’s muscle size decreases. A study done by researches at University of Aberdeen showed that with the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids by women over the age of 65, their muscle strength increased. The rate of muscle loss is also partially dependent on lifestyle; those with an inactive lifestyle and a low protein diet are likely to lose muscle at a faster rate. Normal-High Blood Sugar linked to Brain Shrinkage Research done by the Australian National University has shown that even at a level below prediabetes, normal-high blood sugar can have negative effects. Brain shrinkage, commonly associated with dementia or aging, has been linked to normal to high blood sugar levels. Having taken into consideration other factors such as alcohol consumption,

high blood pressure, smoking and age, it was found that normal to high blood pressure was responsible for six to 10 per cent of the loss of brain volume. On the bright side, dark chocolate could help to lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels while raising good cholesterol levels. Overweight and Healthy? According to a recent study at the University of South Carolina, people can be obese but just as physically fit and healthy or metabolically fit as someone with normal body weight. Metabolically fit refers to not having high cholesterol, raised blood sugar or high blood pressure as well as exercising regularly. So whether or not you are overweight, strive to keep your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure under control and ensure that you get some exercise.


Healthy home

Is your bathroom making you sick?


he bathroom is a place where people go to get clean. We shower, we brush our teeth and wash our faces all in an attempt to maintain good hygiene. Yet, in our quest for cleanliness, there are some unhealthy factors that might be overlooked. The bathroom is a perfect breeding ground for mould; hot and wet, mould could not ask for a better place to multiply. This threat to your health is a difficult one to target because mould can come in a variety of forms including those not noticeable to the naked eye. Because mould thrives in moist areas, the best way to counter it is to ensure that your bathroom harbours as little moisture as possible. One way to avoid encouraging the growth of mould is by using the exhaust fan in your bathroom, especially during and after a shower or bath. If you do not have an exhaust fan, open the windows and doors regularly and change your bath mats frequently. Another less noticeable area that you might be overlooking is your showerhead. A dirty showerhead can harbour viruses, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens that can contribute to illness. When you turn on the shower in an effort to get clean, you could be blasting yourself with bacteria. Before stepping under the spray, let the water run for a few minutes to get rid of some of the bacteria. However, this isn’t a substitute for a clean showerhead and you should still ensure that it is cleaned regularly. Although conservation is important, it should not be done at the expense of health, so if you are using fewer towels in order to reduce your laundry load, you could also be unwittingly spreading germs. Instead of having just a couple hand towels near your sinks, each member of the family should have their own for personal use. These damp towels become a hotbed for germs and, when shared, can cause the spread of any number of illnesses. Women now have a good reason to nag men to put the toilet lid back down. Flushing the toilet with the lid up allows thousand of tiny water droplets to spray items that are nearby. These droplets may contain bacteria from urine and faeces. Toothbrushes, face towels, bathroom counters, water cups, anything left near enough to the toilet could be at risk of contamination. Awareness is key and now with some minor alterations to your bathroom routine, you can help prevent the spread of germs within your environment.


Ask the doctor

Jamaica, we can fight the big C! By Dr Andrea Gardner Carey

October is known internationally as breast cancer awarness month and every year, we use this time to commemorate the women that have valiantly fought and, sadly, in some cases, succumbed to the disease; to applaud the scientists and technicians that work tirelessly to find cures and to show our gratitude to the organisations that campaign assiduously to provide funding for the research, the screening programmes and the care of those diagnosed with this disease. But rather than just speaking with you about breast cancer; which is going to be covered in so many forums over the coming weeks, I would like to discuss the common cancers in Jamaica and what if anything, we can do to prevent them. The most recent long-term study of Jamaican cancer death rates was in the last decade and was only conducted in Kingston and St Andrew. However, it is the general consensus of most practitioners that there has been little change in the common types affecting the sexes.

while this new ‘family’ takes over the house behind the fence and the dogs. And wherever this occurs in the body, will determine the type of the cancer that the person will develop. Cancers can be hereditary, but there has been increasing evidence to suggest that our modern lifestyle is a crucial factor in the high cancer rates, both locally and worldwide. Our dietary choices, sedentary lifestyle, poor wellness management and other social choices can make the difference between health and illness. The Western diet Our western diet is primarily meat and fat based with little fruit and vegetable. Due to inadequate nutrition education in schools, the high cost of fruits and vegetables and poor food choices, many patients adhere to this diet. Over time, this may contribute to the development of cancers. A better option is a low fat diet, high in fibre, with lots of fruits and vegetables.

In Jamaican men, the top five cancer-related deaths are: - Prostate cancer - Lung cancer - Colon cancer - Lymphoma (a special type of blood cancer) - Stomach cancer In Jamaican women, the top five cancer related-deaths are: - Breast cancer - Cervical cancer - Colon cancer - Uterine cancer - Lymphoma What is Cancer? Well here is an analogy. A group of security dogs are behind your fence defending your home. The fence is there to keep out any foes and if any intruders try to get in, the dogs will take them down, thereby protecting your home (ie your health). The dogs and the fence are the defense systems in your body. The intruders are cancer-causing viruses or cancer cells made in your body. However, if the intruders disguise themselves and appear friendly, the fence and the dogs may be ineffective. Soon, the intruders multiply and grow so that the defense system is useless


Obesity and Lack of Exercise Obesity is strongly linked to breast, colon and uterine cancers. Persons that have a body mass index of 30 kg/ m2 or greater are classified as obese and even without this medical classification, many of us have too much body fat. My belief is that as a nation, we do not address this issue seriously enough. Excess fat cells can promote cancer development by crippling our defense system. Also, minimal exercise means that the protective effects of exercise are lost. We need to walk more, exercise at least three times a week for approximately 30 minutes per session and keep off the weight. Social choices Smoking is strongly linked to several cancers but especially lymphoma, lung and stomach cancers. Whether it may be bush, ganga (marijuana) or cigarettes, we need to stop smoking. If you can’t do it cold turkey, there are medications and aids to help you put this dangerous habit aside. Promiscuity has been linked to cervical cancer, but even those who are not promiscuous can still develop the disease. As a nation, we need to be choosier in those situations, for it appears that condom usage may not prevent the development of cervical cancer.

risk for cancers. If you have symptoms or a family history of cancers, then screening is even more important. Even if we are unable to prevent the development of cancer, screening permits detection in the early stages when it is possible for a cure. When cancer is detected in the advanced stages, a cure is less likely. If your general health is good from a lifetime practising healthy habits, then even if the cancer is diagnosed, your body will be better able to heal. Many ‘healthy’ people have been diagnosed with cancer and show us that it can be beaten.

Let me know how you are doing! If you have a medical question you’d like answered in an upcoming issue, email

The lack of proper screening Ignorance is not bliss. If you don’t get regular check-ups and screenings, then you won’t know that you could be at



Sagicor’s GSAT Awards


his year, Sagicor Life Jamaica awarded five year academic scholarships to 16 students who excelled in the Grade Six Achievement Test. The awardees were feted at the annual GSAT luncheon on Thursday, August 23 at the Knutsford Court Hotel. Here are some of the highlights:


Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited 28-48 Barbados Avenue Kingston 5, Jamaica.

Phone: 1-888-Sagicor (724-4267) Fax: (876) 929-4730

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