Michele Carby explains why expatriates in the GCC need to protect themselves with critical illness insurance.
In the past, local regulations have often restricted the availability of high quality insurance in GCC countries. This constraint has impeded the ability of expatriates to protect themselves in the event of a crisis.
Let me give an example:
Jim worked as an engineer in a GCC country for 12 years. For Jim and his family, it was a good life. They had a lovely house, the children attended a top international school and all was well.
Until the day, out of nowhere, Jim suffered a stroke.
He was rushed to the hospital, which saved his life but left him with several debilitating conditions which made it impossible for him to return to work. His doctors informed him that full recovery could take up to a year and would require a significant amount of professional therapy. Under the terms of Jim’s contract, he was entitled to just 15 days full pay and a further 30 days on half pay. After that, Jim was released by his employer. Without a job, Jim and his family were forced to return to the UK.
Once they were resettled in the UK Jim’s ongoing treatment was provided by the NHS. However, unable to work, Jim had to rely on his savings to support the family and the sizable nest egg of savings they had built during their time in the Middle East soon started to diminish. Jim had to downsize, selling his house to release capital and reduce his mortgage payment.
Eventually, after 18 arduous months, Jim thankfully recovered his fitness, but his financial circumstances were much reduced and never fully recovered.
Jim’s situation is not uncommon. Expatriates in GCC states are often well paid and receive medical insurance as a benefit. However, when something goes seriously wrong, there is no financial safety net.
The good news is that critical illness insurance is finally available thought the GCC. It provides that safety net for expatriates and their families. Upon diagnosis, critical illness cover pays an immediate cash lump sum, typically over US$200,000, with no restrictions on how the money is spent.
If Jim had a policy, it could have paid for the repatriation of his family, his mortgage payments and any other family expenses. Jim would not have had to sell the family home or dip into his savings.
Critical illness insurance is a safety net for all expatriates. It is now available throughout the Middle East, and it portable and valid anywhere worldwide. Premiums start from less than a cup of coffee a day.
Please take the time to explore how these policies can protect you and your family.