Heart attack
Chest pain. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: Non-communicable diseases top health insurance payouts and increasingly people in their late forties and early fifties are making critical care claims, a survey conducted by a leading insurance agency in the Middle East has revealed.

The 2019 Customer Benefits’ Paid report released by Zurich Middle East indicates that higher amounts are now being paid for health treatment reimbursement, running into millions.

According to the report that is based on a customer survey, the key health risks in the region, including UAE, are cancer where the insurance company reimbursed up to 74 per cent, followed by heart attacks where they made payments to 38 per cent.

The key health risk for people in the region arose from cancer (47 per cent) and heart attacks (38 per cent). In the case of women, the company reimbursed 81 per cent for cancer treatments and in case of heart attack reimbursements, 58 per cent were men. Accidents were the primary reason of fatality in the UAE, Bahrain and other countries of the GCC.

The average age for customers claiming for critical illness was 48 and the average age for life cover claims was 50, highlighting the need for early protection and prevention measures. The survey also pointed out that most people unaware of the increasing health risks were underinsured. Nearly 88 per cent of the customers who suffered from critical illnesses, which included cancer, cardio-vascular disease, strokes etc had a coverage of Dh735,000 or less.

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

He added: “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.”

Chyria’s story

Highlighting the need for adequate insurance cover, Chyria, a mother, wife, cancer survivor and Zurich insurance subscriber, said: “You can’t predict the future, but you can protect it. You get up every morning and think you get another day — let me make the best use of it. Spend more time with family and those you love because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

She said she is now prepared for life’s health challenges with adequate insurance cover.