A research by Zurich has found that critical illnesses are affecting people in the UAE at a younger age than before. While the Middle East has a relatively young population, the average age of claimants for critical illness benefits is 48 years old, and 50 years old for life claims.

    The most prevalent health risks in the region were found to be cancer and heart attacks. A study of claims between January 2016 and December 2018 revealed that 47% of life and critical illness claims were due to cancer and 38% for heart attacks.

    Top Risks By Gender

    Notable differences between the genders showed that the percentage of claims for cancer benefits was higher for women at 81%, while for men 56% of claims were for heart attacks and stroke. For life insurance claims, heart attacks and stroke were the most frequent cause of death among men in the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar at 40%.

    A Safeguard Against Financial Loss

    Zurich maintains that insurance providers have a responsibility to raise awareness of the prevalent health risks in the region, and the importance of having adequate coverage as a safeguard against financial hardship. This is especially true in a region where a significant proportion of the population comprises working families with dependants. For these families, it’s vital to have life insurance in place, as this will shield dependants from financial loss in the event that the primary breadwinners in the family are unable to work.

    The Importance of Adequate Coverage

    According to Zurich’s client database, 88% of customers who had lodged a claim for critical illness benefit had only $200 000 or less in coverage. In cases like these of inadequate coverage, it would be very difficult for the insured’s family to cover medical expenses, post-operative care as well as regular living expenses. This shows that even as health risks in the region are increasing, many people are drastically underinsured.

    Zurich is the sole Middle East based insurer that issues yearly claims statistics particular to the region. The firm has paid out $102 million in benefits over the last three years, an increase of 27.5% from the last measured period.

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