Invest in medical insurance now - the price only goes up



Life insurance, as we learnt last week, is there to cover a potential liability if you die, whether resulting from an accident, natural causes or illness. But life insurance cannot help you if you suffer a serious illness or accident and remain alive. Today, therefore, I'm going to teach you about critical illness, income replacement and general medical insurance. They say that medical-related insurance costs a lot. But having none costs more. Let's see if that's true.

Developments in the field of medicine have resulted in many terminal illnesses becoming treatable in hospitals. However, these treatments may be very intensive and lengthy, changing your lives in the process. In order to cover you for these costs, the insurance industry provides critical illness plans which pay out lump sums if you are diagnosed with one of a list of serious illnesses or conditions, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, strokes, kidney failure, comas, paralysis or total disability of another sort. You can now appreciate why this insurance cover may be vital.

A lump sum is paid out normally after diagnosis so that even if you make a full recovery in a short space of time, you will still receive the full amount. In fact, you may need any surpluses after medical treatment to replace lost earnings or, alternatively, you could use it for specialised equipment following your treatment. This type of insurance is a term insurance usually taken out to cover your working life.

Income replacement insurance plans (or permanent health insurance) cover situations where you are unable to work and cannot receive your monthly salary. How can you pay those monthly bills? Whereas critical illness plans will pay you a lump sum, income replacement plans are designed to pay you a proportion (around two thirds) of your regular income or salary for as long as you are unable to work, whether through illness or accident. Like critical illness contracts, these are also term contracts since they are designed to cover loss of working income and will therefore normally run up to your retirement.

Remember that the whole point behind these insurance covers is that unforeseen circumstances can be dealt with - without you having to dig into savings to compensate. Finally, you must consider general medical insurance. Benefits and costs vary widely so when you go through your choices, make sure you examine each one closely and, remember, the lowest premium is not always the cheapest plan. For expats, this is a must-have insurance which, depending on your plan, can cover all in-patient and outpatient expenditure as well as international emergencies so that you are not restricted to where you can receive treatment.

Above all, make sure that your insurer can't refuse to renew your cover regardless of how ill you might become. Imagine what would happen if you were in the middle of a long course of treatment and your insurer refused to renew your annual plan during a potentially life threatening condition. Make sure that your insurer is a member of the International Federation of Health Funds (IHFH). This is particularly important for expats as it will simplify the process of transferring your policy to a participating member in another country without the risks of restrictions to your current cover.

Members of the IHFH include insurers such as PPP International and BUPA International and annual premiums are pretty comparable. It's worth noting that if you also take homoeopathic treatment, you should check carefully through your policy as many insurers now provide cover for such consultations and treatments. Companies may provide expatriates with basic life cover and medical insurance so be sure to check carefully what is on offer before taking out individual cover. You might ask your company if you can add your dependents as well. However, when your employment ceases, so will your insurance covers so do not disregard your own insurance plans: remember, the older you get the more expensive and difficult it is to obtain insurance.

John McGaw is a financial adviser based in Dubai. Contact him at jmcgaw@emirates.net.ae

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Which honey takes your fancy?

Al Ghaf Honey

The Al Ghaf tree is a local desert tree which bears the harsh summers with drought and high temperatures. From the rich flowers, bees that pollinate this tree can produce delicious red colour honey in June and July each year

Sidr Honey

The Sidr tree is an evergreen tree with long and strong forked branches. The blossom from this tree is called Yabyab, which provides rich food for bees to produce honey in October and November. This honey is the most expensive, but tastiest

Samar Honey

The Samar tree trunk, leaves and blossom contains Barm which is the secret of healing. You can enjoy the best types of honey from this tree every year in May and June. It is an historical witness to the life of the Emirati nation which represents the harsh desert and mountain environments

COMPANY PROFILE

Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Springtime in a Broken Mirror,
Mario Benedetti, Penguin Modern Classics

 

Company profile

Name: Tabby
Founded: August 2019; platform went live in February 2020
Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
Based: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
Stage: Series A
Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday: First practice - 1pm; Second practice - 5pm

Saturday: Final practice - 2pm; Qualifying - 5pm

Sunday: Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps) - 5.10pm

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Abu Dhabi traffic facts

Drivers in Abu Dhabi spend 10 per cent longer in congested conditions than they would on a free-flowing road

The highest volume of traffic on the roads is found between 7am and 8am on a Sunday.

Travelling before 7am on a Sunday could save up to four hours per year on a 30-minute commute.

The day was the least congestion in Abu Dhabi in 2019 was Tuesday, August 13.

The highest levels of traffic were found on Sunday, November 10.

Drivers in Abu Dhabi lost 41 hours spent in traffic jams in rush hour during 2019

 

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Seemar’s top six for the Dubai World Cup Carnival:

1. Reynaldothewizard
2. North America
3. Raven’s Corner
4. Hawkesbury
5. New Maharajah
6. Secret Ambition

SQUADS

Bangladesh (from): Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Taijul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, Nayeem Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed

Afghanistan (from): Rashid Khan (capt), Ihsanullah Janat, Javid Ahmadi, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Qais Ahmad, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Afsar Zazai, Shapoor Zadran

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”


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