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Unified COVID-19 health insurance policy on anvil


MUSCAT, SEPT 12 - The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) has joined hands with health insurance companies to support the introduction of a standard unified health insurance policy to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment in the Sultanate.

The product, which is currently the subject of deliberations among insurance companies, will be rolled out once it is reviewed and approved by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), according to a key official associated with the initiative.

Murtadha M J Ibrahim al Jamalani, Chairman of OCCI’s Finance & Insurance Committee, said: “We are currently exploring the initiative to launch a special product for COVID-19 insurance coverage in the Sultanate. Discussions have already commenced with insurance companies on the scope and features of the policy. It will be offered to the market once it is certified and approved by the CMA, which is the regulator of the insurance sector in Oman.”

Speaking to the Observer, Al Jamalani said the proposed policy will be broadly modelled on the lines of COVID-19 insurance products introduced recently in different parts of the world including the Indian market.

Swiss Re, the world’s second largest reinsurer, is also credited with launching a standardised product that leaves no scope for ambiguity in the wordings of the policy.

Explaining the importance of simplified language in policies, the Committee Chairman said: “For pandemic risks, it is imperative that policy wordings are standardised to reduce the potential for the type of disputes that have marred the reputation of the global insurance industry in its response to the coronavirus.”

Insurance firms as well as the market regulator, CMA, have broadly welcomed the Chamber’s efforts to promote market segmentation in the insurance sector.

When approved for marketing in the Sultanate, it will the first insurance product solely dedicated to COVID-19 coverage, said the official.

A standard version of the policy will be offered to individuals and groups and will cover testing, treatment and hospitalisation (up to a certain limit) resulting from exposure to the virus.

Importantly, the proposed policy will be advantageous to Omanis and expatriates alike looking to travel overseas on business or holiday, said Al Jamalani. “With many countries requiring visitors to include COVID-19 coverage in their travel insurance, this product will provide travellers the cover they need when going abroad. It is especially useful for business travellers.”

Under the chairmanship of Al Jamalani, OCCI’s Finance & Insurance Committee has worked collaboratively with government and private sector stakeholders to help identify solutions to support the sustainable growth of the insurance industry in the Sultanate. Part of this effort is aimed at helping insurance firms and other market players build balanced portfolios, said the Committee Chairman.

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