DIFC rolls out new group health insurance cover for all free zone employees

Dubai International Financial Centre said the policy would offer its 2.400 registered companies cost-effective protection

Samba Financial has had a licence from the Central Bank of the UAE to operate since 2008 but can now also offer services from the emirate's financial free zone after gaining approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Courtesy DIFC
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Dubai International Financial Centre rolled out a new group health insurance policy on Tuesday as the free zone looks to offer registered firms cost-effective cover for their employees.

The Group Health Insurance Master Policy will be facilitated by EC3 Brokers, a reinsurance firm licensed by Dubai Financial Services Authority, and made available to more than 2,400 registered firms in the free zone who provide health cover to 25,600 employees. The scheme is the first of its kind for DIFC and the region, according to the free zone.

“This agreement paves the way for DIFC to provide clients with a new benefit that adds value, saves them money and provides a high level of health insurance cover for the 25,600 people working in the centre,” said Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority.

DIFC has rolled out a number of changes in recent months to attract top financial firms and strengthen its credentials. On February 1, the free zone’s new Employee Workplace Savings (Dews) plan, which replaces the UAE’s end-of-service gratuity with a defined contribution investment scheme, went live.

The tie-up between Dubai's financial free zone and EC3 enables the brokerage to purchase health insurance for DIFC-registered companies across all sectors. The scheme offers mandatory health cover for the employees and dependents of participating companies, according to DIFC, and will help SMEs access "high-level coverage while streamlining their costs".

Steve Hart, senior executive officer of EC3 Brokers MEA, said the reinsurance company was looking forward to “increasing its footprint in the Middle East” through this project.

"This is a bespoke offering in Dubai and one that we hope will serve the DIFC and its members well," he said.