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Demand for International Medical Insurance Grows in Dubai
Posted on Dec 08, 2014 by Alex Nellist
UMI has seen demand for International Medical Insurance Growing in Dubai due to the robust economy in the region
Based on the Annual report on the UAE insurance sector for 2012, the premium written for Medical Insurance more than doubled between 2008 and 2013.
The premium written in 2013 for Medical insurance increased about 50% compared to the previous year. The introduction of mandatory health insurance in the emirate of Abu Dhabi surely had a big impact on data related to medical insurance total written premium. Since the introduction of the compulsory private insurance for residents of Abu Dhabi the number of members insured privately through a basic or enhanced medical insurance plan has grown from 2.3 million in 2008 to 3.3 million in 2013 (about 40% more).
Based on “The Report: Dubai 2013” from Oxford Business Group, a mandated health insurance environment will likely support the expansion of the private healthcare facilities and benefit insurance companies. A similar pattern is expected to develop in Dubai with the introduction of mandatory health insurance.
Factors affecting the increased demand in Health Insurance
The Dubai population at the end of 2013 was 2.21 million and increased during 2014 of approximately 6% increase driving demand for healthcare services. Male population makes up about 70% of the population. The female population accounts for about 30% of the population.
More work, better lifestyle, less exercise more cars and accidents
The UAE and Dubai have increasing rates of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. The UAE is ranked 16th worldwide for population living with diabetes for example. About 19% of the population is affected by this condition. Based on the health statistics 2013 from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, the first cause of death due to illness in the region is diseases of the circulatory system. Deaths caused by car accidents constitute 62% of injury deaths.
Dubai is one of the major contributors to the UAE’s GDP. In 2013, GDP had a growth rate of 4.8% (4.4% in the UAE). Based on the National Bureau of Statistics data, the UAE GDP growth rate during 2014 has been 5.2% (see data.worldbank.org). UAE is ranked 19th globally by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and it ranks 14th in the list of the happiest countries published by the UN.
More Doctors and Hospitals
With the population growing, the need for hospital beds is increasing and investment opportunities in the healthcare sector increases as well.
The number of doctors, nurses and beds per 1,000 people is significantly lower than countries such as European countries (France, Germany, UK) and the USA. In the UAE the currenty ratio of beds per 1000 people is 1.9, compared for example to European countries which have a higher ratio of over 3 hospital beds available per 1,000 people, and even countries such as Germany and France with over 6 beds per 1000. Dubai is leading the way in the development of the healthcare sector and the city currently has the highest ratio of hospital beds available in the UAE, although there’s a lot of potential and need for more beds and facilities.
Mandatory Health Insurance
Thanks to the implementation of the mandatory health insurance for residents of Dubai, employees of companies with over 1,000 employees are now required to have compulsory insurance in place as of October 2014. The deadline of October 2014 affected about 700,000 workers, which means that in Dubai, during 2014, about 30% of the population went from being uninsured to having medical insurance secured.
A mandated environment has driven up the value of the GCC health insurance industry and is expected to have the same effect in Dubai. As of January 2015 the insurance companies will be offering compliant plans tailored for residents of Dubai. All residents will need to transfer onto a compliant plan during 2015.
Although not strictly related to the demand of International Medical Insurance in the UAE, it is important to note that it's medical tourism is growing, with Dubai leading the expansion of the sector and the government facilitating and supporting the growth.During 2014, hospitals and facilities supported by the Dubai Health Authority have started to promote packages for medical tourists mainly for wellness, checkups and short-term treatment.The development of Medical Tourism is also facilitated by how easily accessible Dubai is thanks to geographical location and also thanks to hosting the third best air transport infrastructure in the world (based on WEF).