OCCI plans unified insurance policy for private education in Oman

Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) has recommended the introduction of a comprehensive insurance policy package to help investors and promoters of private schools and nurseries in the Sultanate to secure their investments and assets, as well as protect their liabilities, against all kinds of the risks – whether caused by natural catastrophes, accidental damages or human negligence.

According to a key official behind this initiative, the proposed Standard Unified Insurance Protection Policy for Private Education offers privately-run schools, nurseries and related facilities coverage including consequential losses and business disruption stemming from insured natural catastrophes and negligent human actions, including risks posed by pandemics such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“This is a comprehensive insurance product, which is primarily targeted at schools and nurseries in the private sector in Phase 1 of its roll-out,” said Murtadha bin Mohammed Jawad Ibrahim al Jamalani (pictured), Chairman – OCCI’s Finance and Insurance Committee. “In the second phase, we propose to extend coverage to private colleges and universities, and potentially to include government educational institutions as well.”

Speaking to the Observer, Al Jamalani said the policy will cover not only the property and assets of the promoters and investors, but also the teachers and employees, among other liabilities.

The initiative, coming against the backdrop of the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic which has shuttered schools and educational institutions across the Sultanate, has beneficial ramifications for the entire sector, and the underlying national economy as a whole. Thus, in the event of a major disruption, teachers and staff will continue to receive their wages, for example, while the socioeconomic burden of caring for nationals will not fall automatically on the government.

An initial draft concept of the policy was discussed and approved by a special semi-technical committee consisting of members from the OCCI and Oman Insurance Association that met last week to review a number of insurance related issues, said Al Jamalani.

“We are awaiting some key inputs from the Education Committee of the Chamber, as well as from the Ministry of Education, before we present the proposal to the Ministry itself for their consideration. We will request the Ministry to include the insurance product in their prescribed guidelines and criteria when considering licensing applications for establishing and operating new schools and nurseries in the private sector. Existing institutions will be covered as well as when their licenses come up for renewal.”