Mashreq Qatar, the Doha-based arm of one of the MENA region’s leading financial institutions, has this week launched a new critical illness cover policy, titled Wealthcare Insurance, in partnership with MetLife Alico. With the local economy set to continue growing, Mashreq Qatar has been committed to providing enhanced wealth management services for clients in the Emirates and this new insurance proposition follows a slew of additional savings and protection plans, mutual funds, fixed income securities and treasury product based solutions.
The continued advances of research and development in modern medicine has given citizens from all around the world a greater opportunity to be treated for, and overcome previously critical medical conditions. However, with these increased chances in broad survivability have been the rising overall costs of healthcare and pharmaceuticals, which has now left many patients shouldered with significant financial burden. Healthcare consumers worldwide are now demanding more cost-effective treatment plans. MetLife Alico and other international insurers have been working hard with local institutions to address these concerns and have now developed insurance protection in Qatar that offers payment upon diagnosis with worldwide coverage combined with a promise to return the entire premium if there is no claim at the end of the policy term. This joint-venture operation follows similar moves made by other insurers already this summer, including SEIB Insurance’s new contract with Qatar Telecom, the AXA Gulf global health insurance plan ‘Now Health International’, and Agility GHS’ partnership with the Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Co. (known as AMAN Insurance).
Mashreq’s new Wealthcare insurance product has been designed to protect one or more customers in the event they are later diagnosed with any of the following health conditions: cancer, heart attack, stroke, coronary disease, heart valve failure, pulmonary hypertension or a benign brain tumor. Customers can pay their premiums either on a monthly or an annual basis with a deductible (sum assured against) of up to US$100,000.
If a policyholder is diagnosed or succumbs to sudden death from one of the above covered illnesses, MetLife Alico will compensate the beneficiary in a lump sum payment after a 120 day waiting period. Mashreq Qatar is confident this arrangement would enable their insured customers to meet all committed expenses, including rent, lost income, and another unforeseen expenses not likely covered by traditional medical insurance during this tenuous period.
Mashreq Qatar noted further that if a policyholder were to remain healthy throughout their coverage period, the insured would then be entitled to a full 100 percent refund on the cumulative premiums paid to MetLife Alico. In the case of death due to an illness or medical condition not covered by the policy, the beneficiary could also be grated a complete refund.
Howard Kitson, country head of Mashreq Qatar, told reporters at the launch of the wealthcare scheme, that their bank would be the sole distributor of this innovative new insurance product in Qatar for the time being. Mr. Kitson was confident that this partnership MetLife Alico would further ensure both the health and economic wellbeing of their customers.
“Our aim is that our customers should be able to afford the best healthcare services while being at peace about the financial well being of their family and loved ones. We have developed this product, with the aim to protect our customers and offer an attractive, convenient and value-added product,” he said to local media on Tuesday.
This launch comes on the back of a productive year for Mashreq. In July, the banking conglomerate reported a 22 percent increase in net profit to AED551.6 million (US$150.2 million), compared to AED453 million (US$123.35 million) for the same six-month period in 2010, all on solid operating income of AED2.2 billion (US$600 million). Mashreq Qatar, in specific, now expects revenues for the rest of the year to increase by more than 40 percent to QAR350 million (US$96.20 million) due to its treasury operations and strong deposit growth. By 2012, Mashreq Qatar expect revenues to top QAR400 million (US$110 million). Despite an economic slowdown following the political turmoil in nearby MENA countries, Qatar’s capital markets and treasury operations have moved on and are becoming a more important contributor to Mashreq’s business.
Furthermore, Mashreq expects Qatar’s economy to continue to grow and benefit in particular from FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 World Cup to the country, as an influx of professionals and contractors will boost deposit growth as well as attract new financing business to the area. The bank has estimated that the Qatari private sector could see around US$120 billion worth of new contracts as business rush to upgrade and expand the Emirate’s infrastructure in time for the soccer tournament. As more wealth is created in the region, an emerging middle class will demand more insurance services.
For MetLife, a deal to enter Qatar’s insurance market marks the latest move the leading US life insurer has made to expand its international exposure and distribution platform following its purchase of American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) from AIG for US$15.5 billion in 2010. The acquisition of Alico has given MetLife quick access to new Asian, European and Latin American insurance markets and they been rewarded already as the international segment reported operating earnings had increased by US$507 million from US$142 million in the year-ago quarter. This influx of new international business, led by the ALICO deal, has helped MetLife’s premiums grow a remarkable 41.2 percent year over year to US$9.3 billion. As the global economic order subtly changes in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, multinational insurers such as MetLife have found value in re-positioning their activities to ensure that they have greater access to the emerging markets which are now providing all insurers with the most profound sales and earnings growth opportunities.
The American Life Insurance Company, known as Alico, provides a broad, innovative range of insurance and savings products for individual customers, corporate customers and high net worth clients. Their products include; health insurance, life insurance, savings plans, accident insurance, retirement planning and travel insurance among others services.
Mashreq is one of the UAE’s leading financial institutions. Mashreq provides global mutual funds, insurance products, treasury products and fixed income securities. Founded in 1967 as then the Bank of Oman, the bank has played a pioneering role in the regional industry, particularly in the retail banking sector.
Possessing over 140 years of insurance expertise, MetLife aims to be an innovator in the field of international Life insurance. Globally, MetLife is able to offer its clients accident and health insurance, life insurance, disability income protection, and retirement and savings products.