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Dubai: Have critical illness and/or life insurance in the UAE?

A new report from Zurich in the Middle East indicates that the number of life insurance and critical illness claims are on the rise with $111 million paid over the last three years while a survey of lifestyle and health trends in the region has revealed that majority of people in the UAE are making more wholesome lifestyle choices with 90 per cent of people rating themselves as healthy. 

Are we really fit? Zurich's 2020 Customer Benefits Paid Report for the region reveals the most common claims made by insured individuals and how that portrays the general health variables. The information has derived from Zurich’s 2017-2019 Claims Data. 

Biggest health risks, predominantly men

Heart attack and stroke are the topmost health risks across the community accounting for almost 39 per cent of life benefits paid and over 42 per cent of critical illness claims. These also remain the most prevalent health risk for men.


Cancer poses the second most significant risk, responsible for 27 per cent of life claims and close to half of all critical illness claims, and is the most pervasive risk among the female population – with 8 in 10 female critical illness claims arising from cancer


Accidents are the third most imminent threat in our region at almost 13 per cent of life cover claims.

Average life expectancy

The average age of customers who claimed under Critical illness benefit, according to the report, is 49 years and the average life expectancy according to the claims data is 51 years.

“The greatest barrier to taking out life insurance is lack of awareness around life and health risks. Understandably, most people avoid thinking about their own passing or the chances of becoming a victim of critical illness,” says Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich in the Middle East.

“The lifestyle survey highlights our tendency to adopt the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality. The reality is that over the past three years, Zurich in the Middle East has paid out USD 111M in claims. This is an increase of 9% from the previous period.”

Many people who have life insurance, tend to overlook protecting themselves against critical illness. Stroke, heart attack, cancer, diabetes, among other debilitating conditions, are prevalent in the region. These illnesses are also living conditions, where the insured can benefit in their lifetime to cover the cost recovery and manage the loss of income.

Furthermore, insufficient cover continues to be an issue. Zurich reports that 93 per cent of critical illness claimants were insured for $250,000 or less. The climbing costs of treatment and associated expenses, together with supporting the family and paying bills without an income for an extended period of time means that the insured amount may fall short of what is needed.