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Covid-19: UAE residents to shell out more on health insurance

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on May 6, 2021
Alamy photo used for illustrative purpose

Premiums will go up in 2021 and also in the next couple of years, industry executives say


Health insurance premiums in the UAE have gone up since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, as residents become more cautious about their health.

The industry executives forecast that premiums are expected to go up further this year as well as over the next couple of years.

Anas Mistareehi, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Al Wathba National Insurance, said many health and life insurance companies increased premiums on their insurance plans last year by up to 20 per cent.

“Industry players see a hike in 10 to 15 per cent range in health and life insurance premiums by next quarter,” he said.

“While Covid-19 claims in both health and life insurance sectors can be seen as one-off factors to influence the prices of health and life insurance, where the excessive number of unprecedented claims have been borne by the insurance company and has impacted them negatively,” Mistareehi said.

“If market reports are to be believed then the premium increase may continue to rise up to 40 per cent for the next two-three years to come,” he added.

Hitesh Motwani, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at insurancemarket.ae, said overall premium spend for customers for health insurance has gone up by 15 to 20 per cent.

“This just shows that clients are now more conscious about their health and are looking for better plans in order to be provided better coverage. There has been no increase in the premiums for life insurance,” he said, adding that in fact, there has been an average of eight per cent drop due to changes in regulations from October 2020.

Hatim Maskawala, Managing Director (MD) of Badri Management Consultancy, said health insurers have observed a dip in the frequency of claims during the pandemic due to a reduction in unnecessary use of healthcare facilities.

“But contrary to this, the severity of the claim increased during the period, hence, an eight to 10 per cent increase in medical costs has been observed. And it is expected to go up at similar levels going into 2021,” he said.

New trends in insurance

Highlighting new trends in the insurance industry, Maskawala said more UAE residents are adopting telemedicine for outpatient services.

“Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation with digitalisation across the entire insurance value chain. From distribution to claims handling and recovery, all the processes are increasingly becoming digitalised, and this is expected to continue in the future,” he added.

Mistareehi said the industry is focusing on niche product development, increase in digital dependency, and growth in demand for health and life insurance.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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