News Middle East19 Aug 2019

UAE:Health insurers set aside 3% of budget for technology

19 Aug 2019

Less than 3% of the budgets of health insurance companies in general are invested in technology and innovation, according to Dr Saif Al Jaibeji, co-founder and chairman of Sehteq, which operates a technology driven platform that allows consumers to choose their health insurance plans.

In a recent article in the magazine Premium, he wrote that one key successful factor for insurers is a serious commitment to invest in technology and systems. Setting aside just 3% of the budget for technology is not enough, as it means that insurers might have to wait for years until a banking-like solution is available for insurance consumers.

He said there are more than 160 insurance broking companies registered in the UAE. Among them, 10 control more than two thirds of the total business.

“I believe aggregators such as souqalmal, yallacompare, bayzat and insurancemarket have a positive impact on the market, and this space will have to be regulated to encourage more legacy brokers to get into the digital and InsurTech space.”

Brokers and insurers alike should consider technology as an enabler, rather than a disruptor, he said.

He added, “At Sehteq, we have been through a lot of trials and errors. It’s more a lab. The first lesson learned is that you can’t run a business in insurance and promote it as a ‘distributor’. Innovation has to be within the regulator and legacy framework too.”

He said that InsurTech should be supported by the regulator, insurance companies, brokers and healthcare providers.

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