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Sep 2021

Middle East: COVID-19 is 4th biggest cause of death in the region

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Jul 2021

COVID-19 was responsible for 5% of all life insurance claims, according to Zurich International Life in the Middle East in a report. It is the fourth highest cause of death in the region.
Zurich’s ‘2021 Customer Benefits Paid Report’ stated that in terms of life claims, heart attacks and strokes were the biggest risk (43%), followed by cancer (27%) and accidents (10%).
As for critical illness claims, cancer led the list followed by heart attacks, various chronic conditions and strokes. A split by gender reveals that heart attacks were the lead critical illness insurance claim for males (53%), while only 5% of females claimed for the same condition. Cancer led the female benefit claims list (85%), with the illness accounting for only 31% of benefit claims for males.
The report said that half of Zurich’s total customer benefits paid out were life cover claims, while the other half were living benefits such as critical illness claims. This demonstrates that while people are actually living longer, more and more people are contracting critical illnesses and dealing with the associated financial impact of managing chronic conditions.
The average age of customers under the life benefits claims is 52 years and critical illness benefits is 49 years.
People are giving more consideration to insurance cover, especially since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the report. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Zurich, only 22% of respondents felt financially prepared for unfortunate family events. More male respondents (65.56%) felt somewhat well-prepared compared to 56.07% of women who felt the same.
Across all age categories, more than half of respondents said that due to COVID-19, they were somewhat likely or extremely likely to consider purchasing life or critical illness cover, with more than 63.3% of respondents aged 18-34 saying they purchased life insurance since the start of the global crisis.
Zurich in the Middle East CEO Walter Jopp said, “This report demonstrates that while people are living longer, many of us may have to contend with a life-threatening situation at some point in the future. This is why it’s important to be prepared and to consider all options – whether that be the potential of contracting a serious illness or even death.
“Our survey shows that 37% of respondents don’t have life or critical illness cover because they deem it too expensive, however, people might be surprised to learn we have a range of flexible and affordable cover options. For instance, we’ve launched YourLife and YourCare, which are instant, simple and accessible solutions, with protection starting from just AED2 ($0.54) per day.” M 
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