Daman gives up exclusive rights to 'stimulate' sector

Dr Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer of Daman (MAGDY ISKANDER)

Daman, the national health insurance company of Abu Dhabi, has surrendered its exclusive rights to insure employees in the government sector to open the market for competition.

The decision to give up the rights was announced by CEO Dr Michael Bitzer at the company's headquarter's yesterday.

He said the move would stimulate competition in the emirate's health insurance sector and offer policy-holders the choice of insurer that meets their needs. He also revealed Daman currently insures 300,000 members in its enhanced plans of which 90,000 are employees coming from the government sector and 210,000 from the private sector.

Bitzer, however, said Daman still had the exclusive rights to the government-backed basic plan to employees in public and private sectors as well as direct billing with public providers. "There is a valid risk that some inexperienced competitors would enter the market with insufficient low premium level which does not cover the medical expenses and is a risk for providers as well as policy-holders. This can only hurt the market.

"We trust that the consumer will look for the sustainability and effectiveness that our products offer," he said.

Bitzer said the company expected a 30 per cent increase in insured members from other emirates as it was now expansioning in the Northern Emirates, as well as looking to enter new regional markets.

He said the company was in the process of renewing its contracts with many government and private establishments.

Established in 2006, Daman has grown to become the country's largest health insurance company with more than a million members, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the market share.