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03 March 2024

NRI alert: India insurance cover for 62 fils a day? It's possible

By Bindu Rai

A new insurance scheme exclusive to UAE-based Non Resident Indians will allow expats to provide protection to their families living in their country of origin, with premiums starting at Dh1.87 per day for a family of four or 62 fils for self-coverage.

The protection plan is part of Aster DM Healthcare's new Arise insurance scheme, which was launched in Dubai on Monday, in conjunction with RAK Insurance.

The healthcare group said the insurance scheme provides service across 6,000 hospitals in India, providing life, accident and hospitalisation coverage, which will be "beneficial to expats based in the UAE with family members residing in their home countries".

A feasibility study is underway for a special NRI insurance scheme for Indian blue-collar workers based in the UAE, in addition to the National Pension Scheme for NRIs that was launched by the Indian government last November, which could be made more affordable for the large number of unskilled labour force working in this country.

Aster DM Healthcare's Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Azad Moopen said Arise fulfilled a market gap that has been growing with the large influx Indians now based in the UAE.

"We often hear from our patients about their inability to meet the financial burden placed upon them when a medical emergency arises in the family," he said.

"Such constraints prevents them from accessing the best treatments available.

"It is keeping this in mind, we launched a simple insurance scheme that would allow NRIs to provide affordable insurance coverage for their family members in India."

Dr Moopen said an expat could purchase a plan of approximately Dh2,400 or Dh6.57 per day, which would provide protection for a family of five, including a wife, one child and two aged parents, which would provide coverage of Rs250,000 for each person under its Bronze scheme.

For a self-protection plan, premiums start at 62 fils per day for someone under the age of 25 years, while it averages to Dh1.87 per day for a family of four, which includes a spouse under 25 years, along with two children under 15 years.

“The insurance scheme will additionally provide outpatient benefits that few offer, which can be availed across the Aster network only in India," he added.

While the premium varies, depending on age group and the class of coverage that ranges from Bronze to Platinum across four categories, the cut-off age for a new policy is 70 years and the renewable age cut-off is 75 years.

Meanwhile, children with special needs and other physical disabilities are also not covered.

The scheme also provides life insurance coverage with Reliance Capital, with Group CEO Sam Ghosh saying medical inflation in India is growing at a rate of 100 per cent in some parts, while 30-40 per cent in others, putting into question the affordability of medical care without any protection.

Dr Moopen said they hope to reach a target of 10,000 policies by year-end, with a scope for expansion in 2017 to Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

He also didn't rule out a specialised insurance plan in future, catering to blue-collar workers, saying: "It is something we have discussed, not from a business but a social viewpoint.  

"One of the issues many blue-collar workers face is after retirement, if they face a critical illness, how would they be able to afford medical care. It is something we are looking into, to address, but it will take some time."

Shyam Sankar, Head of Bancassurance, RAK Insurance said: "We are planning a feasibility study on achieving such an insurance plan, but it is still in the planning stages. But we hope to introduce something in future."