Health insurance will be one of the key personal financial issues for residents in 2007, according to executives at Nexus, the region’s largest independent financial advisor.
Changes in the legal and economic framework is encouraging many people in the Middle East to re-examine their need for private medical insurance, particularly for those families who are self funding their medical expenses.
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are all in the process of implementing new laws relating to the provision of compulsory health insurance – a challenging task, given the rising population and increase in healthcare costs.
Private medical insurance ranges from regional budget cover up to comprehensive world wide cover – a key necessity for frequent international travellers.
This makes the choice of private medical insurance more challenging and there is definitely increasing demand for proper advice, according to Nexus executives.
“Health insurance is something which many people hope will never have to be used, but it is vitally important that proper provisions are put in place in case such an eventuality does arise,” said Mahmoud Nodjoumi, owner and CEO, Nexus.
“As the landscape changes, independent advice becomes essential, so that people can feel confident about the extent to which they are covered and the contribution their policies will make for their long-term health,” he added.
In Saudi Arabia alone, demand is such that recent estimates predict that the insurance sector will be worth more than SR15 billion by 2009. Saudi Arabia has an expatriate population of seven million, making it potentially the largest health insurance market in the region.
In the UAE, private health insurance has risen to the top of the agenda with Abu Dhabi recently passing a law requiring all employers in the Emirate to provide minimum cover for their employees. In November 2006, Dubai also announced that similar regulation will follow for the Emirate’s residents.
Kuwait has witnessed spiralling demand for insurance products with a report by Kuwait-based Global Investment House estimating the market grew to 150 million Kuwaiti dinars in 2005. Health insurance has also taken centre stage in Bahrain with the announcement that expatriates will receive mandatory cover by the end of 2012.
With the health insurance landscape changing so rapidly in the region, Nexus is currently in discussion with a number of healthcare insurance brands to increase the range of options provided for customers in the Middle East.
The company is also currently in discussion with a number of international healthcare insurance brands, to increase the range of options provided for customers in the Middle East.
Nexus has more than 250 professional and independent advisors in the UAE and Bahrain making it the largest insurance brokerage IFA in the region.
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