What do you do if you’ve had a car accident in Dubai?

car-accidentMajor car accidents in the UAE, on an average,happen 18 times, injure 20 people and kill 2 people a day. In a country of this size, these are big numbers.  So, unfortunately, there will be chance that you will be involved in a car accident on any given day. At InsuranceMarket, we have about five accidents reported everyday, on average.

The following are the steps you need to take in case you have a car accident:

Immediately, you need to call the emergency hotline 999 and wait for the police to arrive.

If it’s a minor accident you will be asked to move your car to avoid obstructing traffic or endangering other cars.  You will be fined if you don’t move your car. However, if you both drivers agree on who was at fault, you will be advised to drive to the nearest police station to complete appropriate form.

In a major accident, the police will sort things out for you. If you were found innocent, you will receive the green copy of the report. On the other hand, if you were at fault, you will receive the pink one. (And this will make you pay for an excess, which is an amount you have to pay, usually a flat amount, towards the claim if it is your fault). If your insurance policy has a roadside assistance service, they would also take care of recovering the car and taking it to a workshop if it’s not in a derivable condition.

Regardless of whose fault was it, if you insure your vehicle comprehensively, your car will be repaired by your own insurance company. If you have an agency repair (which normally applies to new cars ranging from 0-5 years old), your car will be repaired by your car’s authorized workshop. But if you have non-agency repair, your car will be fixed at the workshops on your insurance company’s panel – which is why having the right insurance company is so important.

In the case of a very unfortunate event where your car is severely damaged, your insurance company may declare it as total loss.Total loss means that repair cost exceeds the value of your policy. So the insurance company would just pay you an amount they think is enough for you to buy a replacement car. Sadly, this is entirely your insurance company’s call.

Lastly, in case of death, you will be required to pay blood money. Blood money is a fine (minimum of AED 200,000) imposed for causing death willfully or by accident. But it’s normally included in your comprehensive policy so you don’t have to pay it out of your own pocket.

[Image Source: gulfnews.com]

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Why can’t I compare options and buy my car insurance policy right here on the website?

The world is switching to e-commerce solutions. Certainly, in the past few years we have seen some great websites in Dubai where we can buy stuff easily and often we don’t even have to give them our credit card number as they offer cash on delivery as a mode of payment. Of course, with the mushrooming of various group-buying websites we have enjoyed some really cheap spa treatments and desert safaris!

car-insurance-policyAt insurancemarket.ae we’re online and efficient and in terms of infrastructure we strongly believe that we’re at the forefront of technology so that we can deliver outstanding service to our valued clients. Having said this, we passionately believe that our clients need specialist humans (i.e. your dedicated personal shoppers) to be involved in the buying process purely because of the nature of what we do (insurance, especially in this part of the world can be full of flaws and loopholes that can lead to major unsolvable problems at the time of a claim) and also how we want it to be done (we want you to get the best products at the best possible prices and with the least amount of effort or worry).

Buying from us is so very easy and convenient, and we offer a great comparison solution by email. However, the point is that we don’t offer this on our website so that you can just decide which option we want and ‘add to cart and checkout’. Here are simply (and most honestly) the reasons why:

1)    We want a specialist human to make sure you’re buying the right thing – there are covers, optional benefits, exclusions, insurance company processes and policy conditions and warranties that you need to be aware of before you buy. Or, if you don’t have the time, you at least need an experienced and licensed expert to hold your hand through the choosing and purchasing process and guarantee that the policy would not fall short should you have an accident. We want a human to guide you through various products so that you’re never confused – we want to make sure we always offer you a comparative choice from the insurance market, hence our name, but you would obviously have questions about some product details (because insurance, especially in this part of the world, can be a bit complicated and overwhelming). We want to use our experience to talk you through the details and simplify the decision.

2)    We want a human to make sure that you’re getting the best possible deal by individually looking at various underwriting possibilities. Believe or not, in Dubai the best prices are obtained through a manual negotiation system. There are discriminatory underwriting strategies that we work through, discretionary discounting facilities and even case-by-case negotiation tactics that we use to bring you the best deal. The computer comparison system would just give you the rates ‘off the shelf’ – not manually guaranteed best value deals – with no hidden compromises on coverage of course.

3)    Our specialist humans are probably more efficient than your computer – and it is virtually like buying online – just via one email. When you enquire to get a quote, you get a call back from your personal shopper who quickly obtains any pending information from you (we need to make sure we have all the information we need to get you the best deals from the insurance market). Soon after this, usually within the hour, you’ll have your comparison of options in your inbox – one simple reply to this email (which has all the instructions) with your identification documents and credit card authorization (digital) is all you need to have the policy sent to your inbox – also usually within the hour!

4)    We do the work for you while you wait for everything to arrive in your inbox, ready for you to register at the RTA. Because you send us the documents we need, we do the detailed data entry, which also has some parts in Arabic (with a double check system so it’s accurate and you’re not stuck with inability to register your car at the RTA because, say, the chassis number is wrong!). You just sit back and relax while you wait for your policy to reach your inbox. You don’t have to painstakingly spend an hour of your productive day entering data into a website so that your policy can be issued. You just send us a quick email with the documents we need and then enjoy the show!

5)     And this is probably the most important – we want you to know the specialist human you have insured with so that you have a mobile phone number to contact at the time of a claim – and the person receiving your phone call is someone you have a relationship with and who has structured your insurance policy in the first place. You don’t want to be stuck in the frustrating world of outsourced call centers where you repeat your story over and over again to someone who hardly cares about how or when your car is repaired – or even whether it is repaired at all. You ideally want someone diligent to take up your claim during the accident while you deal with the unfortunate stress of having an accident in a place like the UAE (it’s never easy).

To summarise:

Insurance is an intangible product and there are many things that can go wrong at the time of a claim if you don’t know what you’re buying. As a result, we strongly believe that a professional advisor should make you aware about all the aspects of your policy before you buy – so that you can really enjoy true peace of mind, which is the main reason we buy insurance!

In terms of ability, it’s not hard to provide an online comparison solution that allows you to compare products and buy online. But we don’t feel confident in providing this solution to all our valued clients simply because insurance, especially in this part of the world, can be a bit dodgy and it always helps to have a dedicated personal shopper by your side – not only while buying the insurance policy but also, much more importantly, at the time of a claim! Besides, why would you want to just get an ‘off the shelf’ product at a ‘rack rate’ and additionally also do so much admin work yourself?

Come to InsuranceMarket to compare your car insurance options and have your policy reach your inbox in minutes!

[Image source: channel4updates.com]

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Insurance companies in the UAE

Ever wondered how many insurance companies operate in the UAE? Perhaps, that’s general knowledge we all should know. Surprisingly, there are not many reliable sources to give you the most up to date or even accurate information. Ranging from being multinational to local to reinsurance to Takaful companies, you will find a variety of insurance companies, each specialising in one or the other classes of insurance in their own niche market with varying terms and conditions.

Insurance is a necessity and we all need it at one point in our lives. It is therefore always handy to have the knowledge of the insurance market in your very own country. To make our lives easier, I have made a list of all the insurance companies in the UAE (to the best of my ability!) for your future reference.

1. Abu Dhabi National Insurance Companyinsurers-copy
2. Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company
3. Adamjee Insurance Co Ltd
4. Al Ain Ahlia Insurance Co
5. Al Buhaira National Insurance Co (ABNIC)
6. Al Dhafra Insurance Company P.S.C.
7. Al Fujairah National Insurance Co (PSC)
8. Al Ittihad Al Watani General Insurance
9. Al Khazna Insurance Company
10. Al Sagr National Insurance Company
11. Al Saqrational Insurance Co
12. Al Wathba National Insurance Co P.S.C.
13. Alliance Insurance
14. American International Group (AIG)
15. American Life Insurance Company (ALICO)
16. Arab Orient Insurance
17. Arabia Insurance Co Ltd
18. Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Company (PLC)
19. Assicurazioni Generali SpA
20. AXA Gulf Insurance
21. Compagnie Libanaise D’Assurances
22. Dubai Insurance Company
23. Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Company
24. Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance
25. Emirates Insurance Company
26. Gulf Warranties
27. Iran Insurance
28. Islamic Arab Insurance Company
29. Jordan Insurance Co Ltd
30. Methaq Takaful Insurance Company
31. Nasco Karaoglan
32. National General Insurance Company Ltd
33. National Health Insurance Company (Daman)
34. New India Assurance – Rais Hassan Saadi LLC
35. Noor Takaful
36. Oman Insurance Company
37. Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Co
38. Qatar Insurance Company
39. QBE Insurance Group
40. Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance
41. SALAMA – Islamic Arab Insurance Company
42. Saudi Arabian Insurance Company
43. Sharjah Insurance & Reinsurance
44. The New India Assurance Co Ltd
45. The Oriental Insurance Co Ltd
46. Union Insurance
47. United Insurance Co PSC
48. Zurich International Life Ltd

Whilst there are several insurance companies selling different types of insurance products, it is quite evidently difficult and sometimes even impossible for you, as an end customer, to compare the policies and pick one that best suits your requirements whether in terms of the level of coverage, price, exclusions, claims procedure, or anything else. Most of the times, you will not have the time and/or the knowledge to scan the documents, understand the jargon and choose the right one.

Which is why, the broking specialists, like myself and my personal shoppers, are here to help you compare, contrast and provide you with a seamless and extraordinary purchasing experience for your insurance. We not just invest in building relationships with the insurance companies so we can get the best deal for you but more so, strive to deliver excellent service and get your claims paid in no time.

So, the next time you want me to advise and help you purchase your insurance, feel free to approach me, Alfred, on InsurancMarket and I promise to provide you with a complete hassle free solution.

Alfred is the insurance genius behind InsuranceMarket.ae and its wonderful insurance personal shopper services. With us you don’t only find the best insurance deals in the UAE, you are also protected by a sound knowledge-based infrastructure and over seventeen years worth of experience in the insurance industry.

[Image source: afia.ae/partners.html]

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Things you need to know about group medical insurance in Dubai

A couple of days ago I wrote an article that identified the fundamental structural differences between an individual health cover and a group policy. I explained how price is usually not the key difference – the cover is. Predominantly, you will find that group medical policies have the ability to disregard medical history and therefore cover pre-existing conditions – in addition to lots of other things like maternity without waiting periods and general check-ups.

This article serves to firstly define group medical policies, identify the different kinds of group medical policies available here in Dubai and thereafter some recommendations on what you should be doing in order to get it right.  A group medical insurance policy is usually bought by a registered organisation – it could be a for-profit entity or otherwise. As a result of being on a ‘group’ basis, the individuals within the group benefit from economies of scale and scope.

medicinesPractically speaking, though it is possible to quote on a ‘group’ basis for a company having as low as two employees, the real benefits of being structured as a group come about when an organisation is able to insure at least ten employees. The main feature here is that you would usually require more than five employees to start having a ‘medical history disregarded’ policy whereby all pre-existing conditions are covered without a medical history being declared by each of the individual members within the group.

When reviewing different group medical insurance policies in Dubai, you would find prices varying significantly from product to product. Indeed you can have a policy that costs just AED 400 per member all the way up to AED 50,000 per member or even more! As a result, it’s important to understand the differences between policies when purchasing.

HMO – Health Maintenance and Organisation – plans for blue collar workers – usually priced between AED 400 and AED 900.

Family Plan – individual policies grouped by family – prices range from around AED 2000 per member to over USD 15,000 depending on various factors and product covers.

Capped Pre-existing SME – plans for usually smaller companies with a limited coverage for pre-existing conditions.

In-Patient Only Plan – a very cost effective solution that only covers the financial catastrophe that is in-patient. Usually these policies have a higher excess as well.

Full Pre-existing SME subject to individual critical illness application – usually for companies with more than five employees and less than twenty five. All members would have pre-existing conditions covered subject to a confirmation from each one that nobody has a critical illness (as defined by the insurance company).

Medical History Disregarded (MHD) – MHD plans are usually offered to companies with more than ten employees. While these plans are not cheap, they would cover all pre-existing conditions without any questions asked or declarations completed.

Large Corporate – plans that cover groups of employees starting from a census of fifty. These are usually able to cover pre-existing ailments to the policy limit however in view of the recent poor performance of most of these portfolios (i.e. a higher amount being paid in claims than insurance premium), the benefits may be restricted in order to meet certain budgetary requirements.

As there are various types of products available in the UAE insurance market, sometimes you may find a combination of the above plans. It’s best to completely understand the policy you are buying before you buy it and make sure you have a very trustworthy advisor who is not trying to simply make a sale but rather developing a long term service relationship backed by solid logical reasoning as to why a certain product would work best for you.

Do you have queries on insurance? Do you need expert’s advice? Meet Alfred at Youtube.

[Image source: nomedicallifeinsurance.ca]

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Surely in for a treat with pet insurance

The global pet market has seen a gradual upward trend for the past couple of years. Whether it is the variety of pet grooming services, number of pet care shops, veterinary hospitals, pet training centers or even the scale of pet shows, all pet retail and service operations have significantly contributed to the industry’s unprecedented growth. With increasing pet ownership, several other industries are looking into tapping this market and insurance is left no far behind.

pet_insuranceI am a pet lover and surely want one of my own! And why not, pets are known to have significantly improved their respective owners’ health, lifestyles and social lives. But pets don’t come free nor does their maintenance. Getting a pet on board automatically calls for higher bills and consequently, stress. These bills are not simply restricted to their everyday living expenses such as food, training, grooming, etc but also hefty vet and medical costs.

Whether it is a puppy, kitten, cat or even a hamster, they all, like humans, unexpectedly fall sick or get injured. Like humans, they also need to be consulted and treated by the doctors. In that case, would it be wrong to say, like humans, they also deserve to have a health insurance cover? For the very same reasons you purchase a medical insurance, your pet may also require financial support against vet consultation trips, emergency medical treatments, surgeries and medications.

A pet insurance would normally take care of all such issues and provide you with a complete peace of mind as far as pet’s ill health or soaring vet fees are concerned. However, as a pet owner, you must always check whether your pet’s pre-existing conditions are covered or not. Most of the times, they are not, so be sure to get your pet’s insurance as soon as you can before some certain ailments come into play.

There are several types of covers available in the market for you to pick that suit your budget and pet’s requirements. Many pet owners opt for the comprehensive policies that not just provide cover for the key concern area i.e. the medical bills, but also much more than that. For example, a typical pet owner will purchase a pet insurance policy that will cover most, if not all, of the claims arising from the following scenarios:

1. Third Party Liability: If your pet injures a third party, whether a human or another animal, or damages a property, then you as a pet owner, are liable to provide the injured with compensation. A pet insurance policy would typically offer you protection against any court claims from a third party.

For example, if your dog is walked everyday, not specifically by you, there could be a situation where one fine day your dog injures another pet being walked at the same time or perhaps injures a pedestrian passing by. No matter how trained your pet is, you can never be sure of its actions, especially when you or a familiar face is not around. If you have a pet insurance, you practically have financially nothing to worry about as you are automatically covered for any claims made by the third parties.

2.  Death: If a pet dies due to an accident or illness, the insurance company will pay a lump sum amount to the owner. Any cremation costs arising can also be covered depending on the level of cover.

3.  Advertising & Rewards: It is distressing indeed to find that your pet has gone missing or is lost. Not knowing where your pet is can be a very stressful period and you will probably want to do everything in your capacity to recover your pet. Pet insurance will ensure that you are covered for any advertising expenses resulting from printing an advert in the newspaper, distributing posters, or other varying means. Equally, you can also be covered for an amount of reward that you can advertise and offer upon the retrieval of your pet.

4.  Hospital: Any kennel or pet caring costs, arising whilst you are in a hospital due to an unforeseen circumstance are covered. Whilst you cannot have your pet accompany you, you would also not want to completely abandon your pet at the same time. If you are not in a position to leave your pet with your family or a close friend, you can certainly keep your pet in a kennel till you recover. Rest assured, the insurance company will cover all the costs pertaining to that if you opt for such an extension to the policy.

Having a pet can become an expensive proposition but can also add an element of happiness to your life, which can be sustained over a longer period of time with the help of insurance. Nonetheless, think twice before you get a pet and consider your pet choices carefully.

You can follow Alfred, the brand mascot of insurancemarket.ae in Facebook and Google Plus

[Image source: petinsuranceontario.ca ]

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Here is wishing all women a very happy International Women’s Day! Apologies I am a tad bit late but I guess better late than never! I should thank my wife for reminding me of the importance of this day. Fear not if you have no clue whatsoever what this day is all about, I am going to briefly share this knowledge with you like I usually do anyway! 🙂

international_womens_dayInternational Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March and is marked to commemorate women’s achievements around the world. Additionally, this day brings into light the issues that women face globally in areas of equality and health & safety. The UN sets a theme every year to bring to our attention a specific area of concern and urges the public and governments to empower women and protect their rights. For example, the official UN theme for International Women’s Day in 2010 was ‘Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All’ whilst this year, the UN focused on ‘A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women’. In other words, it provides a platform for championing women’s rights and equality.

This got me thinking about how the insurance industry is affected and equally, how the insurance, premiums, policies, etc, affect women and their rights. It is imperative to evaluate how general female population is affected by the insurance through ever changing rules and regulations. I am, therefore keen to assess whether the concept of equality is even existent in the market that we operate in?

Let’s take car insurance as an example, several questions come up – Are women better and safer drivers than men? Do they cause more or less accidents than men? What are the frequencies and severities of the accidents they make? Statistics tell us that young men are generally riskier drivers and more likely to cause accidents than women. Using this data, technically premiums should and had been higher for men in the past. However, the new EU equality ruling aimed at promoting gender equality requires all insurance companies in the EU to put actuarial data and gender related considerations aside when calculating the premiums. This in turn has led to women paying higher premiums and men paying lower than what they were paying earlier, regardless of their overall risk profile.

Similarly, statistics suggest that women have higher life expectancy compared to men. Using this knowledge, insurance companies, for several years, have charged women far low premiums for life cover. But then again the EU ruling, demanding gender equality, has resulted in women now paying higher and men lower premiums than before. According to BBC,ABI (Association of British Insurers) estimated that men could see a 10% fall in costs, while women’s rates could rise by as much as 20%.’

Additionally, a standard health care insurance policy will normally not include a maternity cover. A woman purchasing the policy however will need protection against any claims arising due to gynaecological reasons. Adding this cover consequently increases the premium, which is normally paid by women, only because they’re women, whilst men still pay the standard lower premium. In fact, in the US, many insurance companies refuse to offer maternity coverage altogether as part of the health cover. Additionally, women are charged much higher premium than men despite the identical health conditions and despite the exclusion of maternity cover.

Whether the above changes represent equality between men and women is still in question. Perhaps you are the right person to judge whether increasing car insurance premiums suggest discrimination against women or not. Whether to calculate the premiums on the basis of risk i.e. do what the underwriters should be doing, or ignore all of that and simply use the basis of gender equality? Does that mean that the insurance companies should forget about factors such as likelihood of road accidents and life expectancy when gender comes into question? Of course, there are other factors that could be taken into account such as type and value of car, experience, age, loss history, etc for car insurance and pre-existing conditions for life but are they really sufficient and more importantly, fair?

At InsuranceMarket you can compare and get best deals on several insurance policies in the UAE. Click here to follow us at Google Plus.

[Image source:  iranian.com/posts/view/post/10120]

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And Alfred Receives Yet Another ‘Letter’!

Hi friends, today I will be sharing with you a letter written to me by one of my Group Health Care Insurance Plan buyers, who are offering this plan to its employees as part of the benefits program. I visited my client’s office yesterday to educate the staff about the cover and the procedures to follow if they face the need to go to a doctor or file a claim. Soon after I received an email from my client as below. Hope you enjoy a piece of correspondence we usually have with our clients!

Dear Alfred,

Thank you very much for dropping by our office and discussing the policy cover with us. Many of us were shocked to realise how we were unaware of the benefits that could be reaped through a health insurance policy till yesterday, and are certainly relieved to have finally understood the cover in great depth and detail.

It was in our great interest to learn that we are now covered for an extensive list of medical conditions including regular dental checks and orthodontic procedures. Usually this is a separate benefit offered to us for which most, if not all, of us usually opt for. It is a great relief to have it all covered under one policy, with the same company and with the same medical card.

Also, thanks for making it clear that medication, if prescribed, is also covered. Most of the times, our staff members have gone out and paid for them not knowing correctly what they can and cannot claim for.

We also find it extremely helpful to have an accessible list of recommended hospitals around the world where our medical card would simply suffice to obtain an immediate treatment without any additional costs. Our employees are usually travelling as part of their jobs and therefore will find it highly beneficial to know where they can potentially go if they encounter an injury or impairment. Adding on to that, several countries have strict vaccination requirements before we travel. Given that we have some amount of money allocated towards this expense is to our great advantage.

Overall, this will greatly help our company with significant reduction in absenteeism and the number of days taken off as sick leave. Since medical treatments are extremely expensive in Dubai, many tend to go back to their home countries for these. With this new healthcare plan, such scenarios can now be avoided, in turn largely improving the productivity of the company.
Some have, however, raised a few questions that you might be able to help us with:

. Why is that our pre-existing conditions are not taken into account? Of course, it is to our benefit but out of curiosity, doesn’t it harm your business? What if someone has a medical history of high blood pressure and diabetes and has already had one heart surgery! From what I have heard, typically, pre-existing conditions are excluded when you purchase a private health insurance. Or at least was the case for one of my relative! Can you please confirm that this does not apply to us?

. One of our employees is already covered under his spouse’s health insurance policy, but that policy does not provide enough cover as you do. What should he do? Can he cancel his policy? Can he also advise his spouse to cancel hers and include her into his new policy with us? If yes, that will take some time but you have a cut-off date to confirm addition of dependents till only next week!

. We understand that we have a global cover excluding the US. Does that strictly mean that medically nothing is covered in the US or is there some leeway around it e.g. paying a higher amount of excess, etc?

. One of the employees has been going for her regular maternity checks to a doctor in a hospital that is not mentioned in your list of recommended hospitals. She prefers not to pay excess simply because she had chosen a hospital prior to knowing what you had to offer. Ideally, she would not want to switch doctors due to various reasons. Would it be necessary to do so to avoid that excess? We really don’t want to upset our employees!

. If the claim for a treatment were on reimbursement basis, would its medication also be on reimbursement? Or can I use my medical card for the prescribed medicines?

Our employees seem very excited and delighted to have this plan or rather a security by their side. You might have noticed that our company is highly female dominating, some of who are currently pregnant and they greatly appreciate having all their maternity expenses covered. We are confident that you will provide us with an outstanding service and claims assistance having had a great working relationship and experience with you on other classes of insurance in the past.

We appreciate that you have provided us with an online portal system to register our claims, track the progress of claims and get access to all the important documents such as the policy itself, recommended hospital/providers, etc. It is not just an accessible platform but also a mechanism to save time and relieve much of the employees’ stress relating to their claims, especially when they are travelling.

Thank you again for your support and guidance. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Ms. Jones

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