Costa Rican ICMIF member Sociedad de Seguros de Vida del Magisterio Nacional (SSVMN), has been providing protection to workers in the education sector in Costa Rica for 100 years. This protection is in the form of life insurance and complementary services such as credits, subsidies and the provision of orthopaedic equipment.
The Central American country is among the countries with the least number of infections and deaths, however the measures taken by the government, such as the closure of businesses and tourist resorts and the restrictions of vehicle traffic, have had a strong economic impact on the population.
Many workers in Costa Rica were dismissed; some saw a drastic reduction in their working hours; whilst others had to accept the suspension of their contract for an indefinite period.
As pioneer of the Costa Rican solidarity system, the mutual society SSVMN established a system to support education officials who were facing difficulties.
A digital platform was set up to help the members request support. Amnesty on fees payment, payment arrangements, reduction of interest rates for home loans and extension of terms are some of the actions taken to help members of SSVMN.
Members of SSVMN who have suffered or are suffering from COVID-19 have access to a financial subsidy from the mutual society. In addition, those whose difficult economic conditions due to the pandemic measures can apply for a special advance against their life policy.
"The delivery of each of these forms of support is done after an analysis of each case, in line with the financial and social responsibility that has characterized the Life Insurance Society over these past 100 years" says Georgina Diaz Sánchez, General Manager of SSVMN and also Chair of the ICMIF/Americas Regional Association.
To date, more than 1,000 policyholders and stakeholders directly or indirectly affected by the global pandemic containment measures have registered on the platform created by SSVMN.
Internal measures to help employees
SSVMN activated a programme for remote working for all departments, enabling 53% of the workforce to telework. Member policyholders visiting the 14 offices located across the country were seen by staff according to a specific protocol with special hours and priority attention established for specific periods of time for elderly members.
"26% of the population that visits us in branches and central offices are elderly. Although the use of digital channels was encouraged, a protocol was applied for our insured persons who wanted to carry out their procedures in person," said Georgina Díaz Sánchez.