News25 Jul 2017

Middle East:Mandatory visitor travel insurance drives growth

25 Jul 2017

Growth is expected to spike in the Middle East travel insurance market, as more countries in the region are imposing compulsory travel insurance requirements on visitors to mitigate the risk of health related expenses.

The US$100-120 million Middle East travel insurance market largely follows the global growth trend, primarily fuelled by the increasing insistence of governments across the world on mandatory health care, an industry expert told Gulf News.

“An uninsured visitor or tourist can be a major liability for state health care systems, which is the reason why more countries are making travel insurance mandatory,” said Mr Mahesh Anchan, Chief Operating Officer of the global travel services company, Vasco Worldwide.

He said that in the region, major countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia have introduced mandatory travel insurance.

The regional growth in this class of business will also be driven by increased awareness among travellers that the complementary insurance cover which comes from third parties like financial institutions as a freebie does not cover many critical situations, and in many instances is inadequate and cosmetic.

“Some travel companies may issue travel insurance just for using it as documentation for visa application which may not be as effective as full travel insurance policies valid for all sorts of travel related contingencies, including health and even repatriation of mortal remains in case of unfortunate mishaps,” Mr Mahesh said.

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