New health insurance options for expats in the Gulf region

by Ray Clancy on January 19, 2015

Expats in the Middle East now have more choice in terms of health insurance at a time when governments are requiring more to have wide ranging cover.

The increasingly popular expat destinations of Bahrain and Jordan have been added to Aviva’s Gulf Solutions private medical insurance cover.


Recent research has shown expat population growth across the Gulf region

The firm said that this is providing the international market with a single compliant approach to medical insurance in the Gulf region using leading local insurers and providers.

In addition, Aviva has collaborated with Dutch insurer OZF Achmea to offer a solution to provide fully compliant health insurance cover in the Netherlands, as well as cover when travelling outside the Netherlands.

The geographical extensions form part of Aviva’s ongoing plans to expand cover for members in emerging and key expatriate markets.

Recent research from the Institute of Public Policy has shown expat population growth across the Gulf region, with around 12,000 UK expatriates in Bahrain and 8,000 in Jordan. The Gulf, which draws expats to its growing oil, gas and mineral industries, is also seeing considerable expansion in the financial services and medical sectors.

Launched at the start of 2014, Aviva’s Gulf Solutions already offers fully compliant health insurance for corporate clients with employees in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman or Qatar, and for individual customers in Oman or the UAE.

Legal and regulatory requirements for health insurance vary across the Gulf and can be complex. Moreover, research from Aviva’s forthcoming Relocations Report reveals that employers who send their employees on foreign assignments consider local rules and regulations as the biggest challenge when relocating employees, with 58% stating this is their key challenge.

Aviva has partnered with key providers in both countries to ensure customers benefit from local knowledge and understanding of differing legal requirements. In Jordan, cover will be provided by Arab Orient Insurance Company and in Bahrain by the Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Company, both members of the Gulf Insurance Group.

Gulf Solutions also has newly enhanced benefits for expats in Dubai and the other United Arab Emirates, to reflect new regulations set out by the Dubai Health Authority. These include maternity cover as standard in order to comply with local mandatory requirements. This ensures full compliance with the Dubai Health Authority.

Often regarded as the gateway to Europe, the Netherlands has a significant number of expatriates, with an estimated 48,000 British expats living and working there.

Under Dutch law, expats are normally required to have compulsory Dutch national health insurance provided by a local insurer. Through Aviva’s new collaboration with OZF Achmea, members in the Netherlands can be covered by the local insurer at reduced rates, as well as benefiting from cover provided by Aviva’s International Solutions if they travel to other countries, with a significant reduction in standard rates.

“This expanded offer for our members in the Gulf region and the Netherlands continues our programme to develop our global footprint in key expatriate markets and to deliver quality healthcare cover that fully complies with local legislation,” said Teresa Rogers, head of international at Aviva UK Health.

“Partnerships with leading insurance providers in Bahrain, Jordan and the Netherlands, which will ensure our members benefit from local knowledge and understanding of each country’s legal requirements. We also believe that using NAS as our single claims management service across the Gulf region will provide valuable continuity for our customers if they are co-located across Arab states,” she explained.

“By expanding our capabilities in Bahrain and Jordan, multinational employers who place employees across the Gulf region will in particular benefit from a simple healthcare solution that not only has a consistent claims service and product structure, but has been adapted to ensure compliance with each local legislative practice,” she added.

The change in cover for Dubai came into effect for all new and renewing policies at the beginning of January 2015, in line with the Dubai Health Authority timelines. All other changes take effect from 01 March 2015 for new and renewing individual and corporate customers with either Gulf Solutions or International Solutions cover.


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