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Cancer remains top health concern in Mideast: study

DUBAI, April 16, 2019

Cancer (47 per cent) and heart attack (38 per cent) remain the top two health concerns in the Middle East for both life and critical illness claimants, said Zurich Middle Each, a leading multi-line insurer, in a new report.

Cancer is the primary cause of critical illness benefits paid to women (81 per cent) while heart attack is the primary cause of critical illness claims from men (56 per cent), added the report titled “2019 Customer Benefits Paid Report”.

 Accidents are among the primary causes of death among men in the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar (12 per cent).

Notable age trends

Against the backdrop of the Middle East's relatively young population, health eventualities are occurring at a relatively young age. The average age of Zurich customers claiming critical illness benefit is 48 years, while life claimants are aged 50, highlighting the need for early protection and preventative measures.

Increasing health risks vs. insufficient protection

Zurich Middle East has paid out $102 million in customer benefits over the past three years, a 27.5 per cent increase compared to the previous period. There is a prevalence of health risks within the region and they are occurring at an increasing rate.

As this reflects the growing importance of protection, the right amount of cover must be considered. Many claimants are underinsured, as 88 per cent of customers who suffered a critical illness had coverage of $200,000 or less. With critical illness claimants being only 50 years on average, this amount is not enough to cover key needs such as family income replacement and post-operative care expenses, highlighting the importance of having adequate levels of financial protection at the outset.

"As the region remains underpenetrated, it is key for insurance providers to take ownership to raise attention, and build consideration about the prevalent health risks in the region," said Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich Middle East.

"Financial protection is paramount, particularly in a region like the Middle East with a significant proportion of working families with dependents. The financial impact must be considered if the key income earners are unable to work."

"Our role at Zurich is to make people in the region aware of these facts. It's also important for us to listen to our customers, share their claims stories and create solutions and services based on their needs. Our website, social media and blog content emphasise the importance of both protection and prevention as we are passionate to spread this important message to our community.

"You can rely on Zurich to honour our customer commitment. Zurich continues to be the only life insurance provider in the Middle East to issue yearly claims statistics specific to the region. We are proud to report that we paid out 93 per cent of life cover customer benefits and 94 per cent of critical illness customer benefits. At Zurich Middle East, we have been committed to the cause of helping our customers protecting their financial futures and being Ready For Life for over 30 years,” Jopp added. – TradeArabia News Service




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