The Jockeys' Guild has entered into a contract that will restore health insurance, including major medical coverage, for its members and their families, effective Jan. 1, 2002.
According to a statement from the Guild, the new coverage that was approved Dec. 4 by the organization's board of directors in Austin, Texas, includes $2,000,000 of major medical coverage, life insurance, dental insurance, and prescription drug coverage. The Guild had been without health insurance coverage for its members since last April, when it was deemed it could no longer afford the premium costs for the insurance. Some Guild members were unable to obtain health insurance coverage on their own due to the cost or they were rejected by carriers because of the risks involved with their profession.
The Guild has since had a change in leadership and management, with reinstatement of health insurance a priority, according to Guild president Wayne Gertmenian. "We are very pleased to have secured health insurance for the Guild's members as the first step in a re-organization process," Gertmenian said in the press release. "Our management team, made up mostly of volunteers from around the country, has been working 90-hour weeks since June, and this huge effort was rewarded."
Matrix Capital Associates, the management team running the Guild, reported that it worked with Marsh, Inc. and Jennings & Associates Insurance Services, two brokerage firms with sports-related insurance coverage "to organize and explain past claims for presentation to insurance carriers." The release said Jennings & Associates has been associated with insurance programs for the jockeys since 1991.
"I'm ecstatic," said jockey Chris McCarron of the plan to reinstate the health insurance coverage, "that the new management team of the Guild was able to negotiate and secure a quality health insurance program for all Guild members. This is the greatest Christmas gift we can give to our families."