Zurich Middle East targets life following Cigna general biz deal

Zurich Middle East has reiterated its commitment to the life and commercial insurance marketplace in the region, following the confirmation of the sale of its general insurance entity, to the US healthcare giant Cigna Corporation.

In a statement earlier today Zurich said that Cigna’s announcement yesterday about its acquisition of Zurich’s Middle East general insurance entity for retail and small business customers, does not affect its commitment to the lucrative Middle East marketplace, despite some reports suggesting otherwise.

The sale to Cigna follows on from Zurich’s decision to close its general insurance business in the Middle East to new retail and small business customers, announced at the end of November, 2015.

The statement read: “Zurich will continue to focus on life insurance and commercial insurance business in the region. The Middle East remains one of the key markets for Zurich.

“On 19 June 2017, Zurich completed the sale of its Middle East general insurance entity for retail and small business customers, Zurich Insurance Middle East, to Cigna, a global health services insurer.

‘Policies safeguarded’

“All the terms and conditions of existing policies are safeguarded and existing customer commitments will continue to remain a priority. Zurich and Cigna are 100% committed to existing customers of Zurich’s general insurance business and working together to ensure that all obligations will be honored.

“All existing customers will continue to be serviced via the third party administrator Cunningham Lindsey. Cunningham Lindsey was chosen as they are one of the largest loss adjusting and claims management companies in the world.

“They offer a unique blend of stability, innovation and technical ability across a variety of disciplines including but not limited to claims handling on a global basis,” the statement concluded.

As reported, Cigna opened its regional management office for the Middle East and North Africa markets at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), (pictured left).

The new office, puts Cigna, a Fortune 100 global health insurance and service company, in what it calls “a prime position” to deliver its products in the UAE and the wider Middle East region for locals and international expats alike.

Cigna has been present in the region for over 15 years, but this is the first time that is has deployed a dedicated on the ground headquarters.

Mandatory healthcare

As reported, the provision of medical health insurance in the region became mandatory for all Dubai citizens and expats, earlier this year. As a result, healthcare giants are eyeing the marketplace with a renewed interest.

Other regions, such as Kuwait are also introducing measures that will force expats to transact healthcare policies. As reported, a hike in medical fees for expats of more than 500% on some cases was introduced into Kuwait’s national cover costs, earlier this year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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