The average age life insurance claims are made by Zurich customers in the region is 51, with critical illness claimants usually around 47.
With recent figures from the life insurer showing that two-thirds of all UAE residents are overweight or obese, obesity is often associated with many of these claims.
Nearly all critical illness claims were made due to cancer (49%) or heart disease (48%). Leading causes of death for life insurance claims were cancer (32%) and, again, heart disease (43%).
A further worrying development is the number of deaths caused by road accidents. Despite positive interventions to increase road safety across the Middle East, 8% of life cover claims are based on this cause of death.
Failure to disclose
Between January 2013 and December 2015, Zurich’s life business in the Middle East paid 98% of life cover claims and 87% of critical illness claims, totalling AED246m (£45.6m, $67m, €59.2m).
Chris Bagnall, chief underwriter for Zurich International Life in the Middle East and Asia, said: “The 13% [of critical illness claims not paid] represents the number of claims found not to meet the critical illness definition or non-disclosure of serious medical history.
“An example would be a critical illness claim for an ear ache or failure to disclose a previous condition such as diabetes. This highlights the need for education of the market, as well as distributors and customers.
“The insights offered in our claims data, supported by regional trends, show some of the key causes of death and critical illness in the region, and highlight the need for protection and the valuable role insurance can play in the financial protection of our customer’s families and businesses,” Bagnall said.