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Few UAE women covered for critical illness

DUBAI, October 19, 2016

Less than one fifth (18 per cent) of females in the UAE have insurance against critical illness in place, a study said, hinting that the figure may be even lower than the research shows.

Male respondents do not fare much better with just under one quarter (23 percent) of the respondents stating they have critical illness insurance, according to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by Friends Provident International (FPI).

The research also shows that females are less likely to have life insurance, with just over one third (37 per cent) having cover in place compared with 45 per cent of males.

One of the main reasons given by female respondents for not having critical illness cover– cited by 36 per cent - was that they were ‘not familiar with the concept of critical illness insurance’.

Marcus Gent, managing director, Middle East and Africa at FPI said: “It is very concerning that so few women in the UAE appear to have taken steps to protect themselves and their families should they fall victim to a serious illness, and it’s disappointing to learn that more than a third of women are not familiar with the concept of critical illness insurance.

“What is more telling is that of the women that said that they have critical illness cover, almost one third (32 per cent) indicated it was provided by their employer. There is a significant difference between the mandatory health cover an employer is legislated to provide, and critical illness insurance which is not something normally provided by an employer as part of a benefits package. These are two entirely different types of insurance and women may not be as well protected as they think.”

Mandatory health insurance and private health insurance is only provided to cover medical expenses as and when the policy holder requires it and the policy will cover medical expenses that are strictly correlated with the cost of actual medical treatment. Health insurance does not normally provide for long-term recuperation therapy or home care services should they be required. Critical illness insurance can be used for these purposes and any other expenses that arise depending on a policy-holder’s particular circumstances.

World Health Organisation statistics for the UAE show that while women have a greater life expectancy, living on average two years longer than men, their death is more likely to be caused by a critical illness such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the UAE. The most recent statistics available from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) for 2014 show that expatriate women are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than their male counterparts.

Gent commented:“According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, breast cancer is the single most common form of cancer in women worldwide, affecting one in eight women over the course of their lifetime. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is a good time for women to take stock of their situation and decide whether they have adequate protection in place, in the unfortunate event they contract a serious illness.”

“Even if they are not the family’s main salary earner, I would urge all women to consider the impact on their family situation if they contracted a serious illness.

“Apart from the peace of mind that having critical illness cover brings, it means that you have control over your future if the worst should happen. For example, if you have critical illness insurance and make a valid claim, you can decide if and when you are ready to return to work. It can also make your life easier if you need to make any alterations to your home, or employ someone to care of you and your family.

“I encourage all women to be mindful of their circumstances and to raise this with their financial adviser, who can determine the level of cover that may be required, and advise on a range of products that will mitigate the impact a serious illness would have on their life,” Gent concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Insurance | UAE women |

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