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What you need to know about health insurance
Duncan Crerar of Nexus Insurance shares his know-how on the most important things you need to think about when buying health insurance
March 18, 2014 2:33 by kippreport
Why is health insurance so important?
Having health insurance in this region is essential. Most of us in the UAE are expats and we may not have the safety net here that we have back home.
So, it’s important that people take responsibility for themselves, whether through their employers or individually, just to make sure that they have a safety net here if they fall sick or need treatment.
Tips for individuals
Now that mandatory healthcare laws are being established, the focus is on the basic cover that’s going to be implemented over the next few years.
For individuals, I would encourage them to go ahead and purchase health cover now, before these new laws are rolled out fully. I say this for one simple reason – mandatory health insurance is really being targeted towards blue-collar workers in the region. It’s not for everybody; it’s a common misconception that when it comes out, people will have access to low-cost insurance. That is not going to be the case, since it’s for the working class.
So, I would encourage anyone that does not have cover to not wait, and to go ahead and put some benefits in place. One of my tips would be not to focus on day-to-day expenses and small coverage for doctor consultations and medicines.
A lot of people get caught up in small details and miss out on the insurance element of a package, which is there when you need it for making a large claim. So, they buy cheaper policies that cover day-to-day expenses without realising they don’t actually have the right cover.
What is the difference between an insurance company and a broker?
This is a common question. A lot of individual and corporate customers find that the boundaries are a little blurred between brokers and insurers. Some people will also
approach an insurer and a broker at the same time.
The insurance company is the service provider and has certain policies that they can sell to the consumer. What that insurance company can’t do is give advice on other companies and can only do so with the products they have.
What a broker does is that they are an experienced and professional intermediary that studies the market and is aware of all the solutions. So instead of a consumer approaching 20 or 40 different providers, a good broker will sit down with you and understand what you are looking for, and target certain providers that can provide the cover you need. Essentially they take away all the guesswork and hunting.
What advice can you give to SMEs?
What I would say to SMEs is that they should engage with the broker up front without any question. We do a lot of work with SMEs and what we tend to see when they start up is they try and do everything themselves. They take out minimal amounts of cover, from insurers directly, and we often see that they don’t have the knowledge and the experience themselves to really understand the implications.
We have done a lot of reviews for SMEs and have found that they don’t purchase cover where it is a real necessity. When they do the coverage is inadequate and carries exclusions that make you wonder whether it was worth buying the insurance in the first place.