The data also shows Zurich paid AED 273 million (USD 80 million) in critical illness and life cover claims, up 20% from the previous period, January 2014 to December 2016. Commenting on these figures, Zurich Middle East’s Chief Underwriter and Head of Claims, Rohan Chittal, said: “Since publishing our claims statistics in 2011, we have seen a steady increase in critical illness and life cover claims. This reflects the demographic shifts in health within the region with an increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, tobacco use and heart disease in this region.”
“The average age for customers claiming for critical illness was 48 and the average age for death claims was 50, meaning these individuals and their (young) families were being affected in the prime productive years of their lives. If we assume our customers were to retire at 65, that’s 15 years of a loss or reduction in earnings. This highlights the need for protection and the valuable role insurance can play in the financial protection of our customer’s families and businesses.”
A review of the amount of cover selected by Zurich customers showed the reality that underinsurance is a pressing issue. Many claimants are underinsured, with two thirds of death claims and 81% of critical illness claims under USD 200,000. Is USD 200,000 enough cover? It might be. However, most of Zurich’s claimants were under the age of 60 with young families to support.
“The first step to protecting yourself against risks is to be aware of what they are,” explains Chittal. Death and critical illness are unpleasant things to think about and consider, but the financial impact can be devastating. Our role at Zurich is to make people in the region aware of these facts. It’s also important for us to listen to our customers, share their claims stories and create solutions and services based on their needs.”
Zurich also released a short preview video for its customer testimonial series in which three critical illness claimants share their experiences. One claimant, Rajendra Jain, explains: “Who would have ever guessed...I'm an athlete, don't smoke, don't drink and eat right. I was always the fit one. But it (a heart attack) did happen, and it taught me that it can happen to anyone at any time.”
“Zurich continues to be the only life insurance provider in the Middle East to issue yearly claims statistics specific to the region, says Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich Middle East. “We are proud to report that we paid out 94% of life cover claims and 93% of critical illness claims. We are fully committed to sharing this information with our customers and delivering on our promise to them in addition to raising awareness about protection and helping our market consider prevention tips.”
No one knows what the future holds, but with adequate protection in place you can be better prepared to deal with the unexpected. Seek advice from a financial professional and make a well-informed decision about your protection needs.