As reported in November last year, a Health Insurance Law was passed making it mandatory from the end of October for employers with companies of more than 1000 employees to ensure all staff have health insurance.
The programme, which is being managed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), is being rolled out in three stages. Following the initial phase ending in October, companies with between 100 and 999 employees must have health insurance in place by the end of July 2015 and, in a third phase, those with less than 100 employees have until June 2016 to ensure cover is in place.
As part of the programme, insurers and brokers interested in either supplying products or advising on the sale of insurance, must apply to the DHA for a licence to sell the Basic Benefit Plan, a product designed by the Government.
One company which has recently been granted a licence is Axa Insurance (Gulf), one of only two international insurers which have been designated a Participating Insurer (PI) by the DHA, the other being American firm MetLife Alico. In total, of around 50 firms which applied to the scheme, seven have so far been granted PI status.
If a company does not apply and receive PI status at this stage, they will not be allowed to participate in the two further phases of the mandatory health cover’s implementation.
Ghulam Mohd Teli, chief officer for health & life at AXA Insurance (Gulf), said, given the health insurance market in the UAE is largely driven by insurance brokers, this is an opportunity for them.
He said: “It is definitely an opportunity for brokers but at the same time [the Basic Benefit Plan] is a thinly priced product so they will not be expecting a huge revenue from this product.
“However, that being said if they do not tackle this segment, they will automatically be out of the further phases.”
Teli added that the DHA had revealed in a meeting with the seven selected insurers last week, that it is about to begin the process of inviting brokers to register and apply for a licence very soon.