Bahrain is known to be an insurance hub in the Middle East region due to its successful and effective monetary policies. This has resulted in the emergence of the best insurance firms that offer several services to the employees and those in the private sector. The kingdom of Bahrain is endowed with the local and international insurance service providers who are able to give a range of insurance services to the clients at the local and international levels.
The insurance services range from health, property, personal and group covers. Bahrain is composed of a large number of foreign expatriates and the workforce. This has made it necessary to come up with insurance covers that will include foreign expatriates and the local Bahraini workers. Most of these insurance firms offer holistic solutions to the needs of the clients. Employees are able to register for policies that cover their families and property as this makes them feel secure (Dixon, 1999).
Plans have been underway to make insurance cover compulsory for all the expatriates working in Bahrain so as to reduce the government budget on healthcare. Most of these expatriates are currently entitled to unlimited health services at the government hospitals and other medical institutions.
There are plans in place to ensure that companies that have more than 500 workers become the first to register their employees for the appropriate insurance policies. This will be later extended to smaller companies. The Bahrain population is composed of 39% foreigners who form more than 70% of the total workforce. There has been an upsurge in the need for health services in the recent past, hence there was a need to take drastic measures.
There are plans to involve the private sector in the health matters. The National Health Insurance scheme is supposed to ensure that health issues of the expatriates are well taken care. The expatriates, private medical practitioners, companies and sponsors have been involved in this plan. The scheme is supposed to be rolled out in stages so as to ensure that all the stakeholders are involved and they are ready. This is supposed to take five years.
After the full implementation of the scheme, it is expected that each foreign expatriate will have a medical insurance cover. At the first stage, the fees and levies will be increased and the private insurance sector will not be involved at this stage. After the scheme is implemented, the expatriates and other employees will be issued with medical cards which will enable them to get medical services from the appropriate medical centers. In the event that an employee is not covered, the he/she will still benefit from the levy system.
With the current trends in globalization insurance, firms have been putting a lot of effort in making insurance services available to the local employees, as well as foreign expatriates. The insurance companies in the Kingdom of Bahrain are well known for their competitiveness in service delivery.
These companies offer both, the inpatient and outpatient medical covers. The employees are able to receive maternity, dental and optical covers. This insurance cover also gives other benefits to covered policy takers like counseling, medical checkups, and medical evacuation assistance. Large organizations receive a variety of health benefits when compared to smaller organizations. Employees are also covered for the preexisting medical conditions like diabetes and pregnancy (Al-Khalifa, 2010).
The insurance cover is structured in a way that suits each class of the employees. Junior employees, for instance, receive lesser benefits than the executive class employees. Because of the quality insurance services being offered by most of the insurance firms in Bahrain, most employees use these as a bait so as to attract and retain the qualified employees as they are being sought after at the local and international levels.
The health insurance benefits ensure a healthy workforce which definitely implies higher performance. Most of the insurance companies have extended their services to foreign countries. This is particularly important to those employees whose work involves much travelling. Medical evacuation and repatriation services are also provided and this is quite beneficial in the cases where the prescribed medical services are not locally available.
There are also group medical insurance covers offered by most insurance companies. Most medical insurance covers allow the policy holder to be repatriated to the medical centers that have specialized medical services if such services can not be found locally. The medical bills are then covered by the insurance company that the policy holder registered with (Terterov, 2005).
Group Health Insurance
This type covers employees of companies, sports clubs and other social clubs. This type of insurance cover usually considers at least three or more members who have come together for a common purpose.
The premiums to be paid are usually given at a discount and they are therefore relatively lower when compared to individual covers. The coverage is customized so as to suit a certain group. The cover can be harmonized to suit each person’s ability with the senior employees paying a little more on their premiums yet, at the same time, receiving additional benefits.
The cover can be customized to include maternity, dental, personal accidents, and medical evacuation benefits. The insurance companies also advice clients on matters concerning the various policies offered by these companies. Even after a person leaves a particular group, the client is able to change the policy to a personal one, hence continue reaping the benefits of the cover. It is also possible to retain the cover even after relocating to a different country.
The health insurance also covers chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, hence those who have terminal illnesses can still benefit from the insurance services. The employees are able to take policies that can enable them to benefit even after loosing their jobs due to accidents or terminal illnesses (Isa, 2011).
The insurance saving plan in Bahrain is quite critical in ensuring that the foreign expatriates and Bahraini workers save for the future without sacrificing about the present. This has been quite significant in reducing the financial burden of the present world. These pension plans are quite critical in helping the retirees have a decent life after reaching their retirement age.
Such schemes help people meet their long-term retirement objectives. These plans are available for the local workers, as well as the foreigners. The client has the right to choose the investment plan that suits his/her needs. Expatriate insurance companies in collaboration with financial service companies have particularly been instrumental in making this happen.
The education cost has increased significantly across the globe. It can therefore be difficult to meet the education requirements of the children, especially during the times recession without the appropriate plan in place. Most insurance companies have these provisions in place, hence enabling the parents to save for their children’s school fees.
Through such plans, expatriates and workers can be assured of quality education for their children even during hard economic times. Every client is allowed to choose the premiums that he/she will be remitting to the company depending on the quality and level of education he/she desires the child to have. This is also dependent on the salary of the applicant.
Off-show Investment Plan
This plan is quite significant when ensuring that future financial stability of a client is secured without leaving the person vulnerable in the current state. This plan is usually carried out by specialists who advice the client on the best investment plans, yet at the same time leave him/her to make a choice over the same. Under this plan, the client is able to switch funds to other investments so as to maximize on the profits.
One, for instance, is able to invest in bonds and equity and switch to either of the two if need arises. Such investment is free from income and corporate taxes, as well as capital gains.
This plan is secure given that in the event of death, the beneficiaries, like the family members, will get a large payout. The saving plans are just some of the benefits that expatriates and Bahraini workers get from the insurance industry. They provide a sense of security, especially in turbulent economic times as the client and his/her family can benefit.
Most employees in Bahrain are covered under the employers’ liability policy. Those expats or employees who are injured or become sick while on duty at their work are able to be compensated and hence benefit from this insurance cover. In the event that an employee dies while in the course of duty, the representatives or closest relatives of the deceased are compensated appropriately.
The contractors and other expatiates also have their machinery and plants covered. In the event that their machinery are damaged or destroyed at the construction site, they can be fully compensated.
The workers and expatriates are also insured against any damage that is likely to be incurred yet involving the third party while in the line of duty. This might be in the form of damage to the person’s property or injury and in extreme cases, the death. This prevents the employee from incurring the whole cost of the damage caused. The employee can also have his/her personal property insured against damage, fire, theft, accidents, natural disaster and other losses.
Some of the international insurance companies that offer their services in Bahrain include AXA-Minmetals, Vanbreda international insurance, Cigna, Blue Cross and Expacare. These are just some of the companies that give insurance services to the local, as well as international workers in Bahrain. Travel insurance is particularly very important to those workers whose work involves a lot of travelling. In the event of an accident, the workers can be compensated by an insurance company.
With the implementation of the National Health Insurance scheme, companies will be compelled to ensure that their employees are covered by the insurance scheme under the law.
All the insurance companies are supposed to be monitored by the relevant government ministry so as to ensure that they abide by set rules and regulations. The law also requires the international law firms to have their offices in Bahrain so as to carter for the needs of those clients in the kingdom of Bahrain whether they are foreign expatriates or the local Bahraini workers.
The insurance companies are also expected to put their policies in the Arabic language with the appropriate translations into other languages that the policy holders understand. Such translation makes it possible for the insurance companies to reach the foreign expatriates as well. The workers in Bahrain can therefore get quality services from insurance companies.
All the insurance firms are registered and monitored by the relevant ministries so as to eliminate any cases of overexploiting the clients. Any insurance company that does not comply with the set rules in Bahrain risks its licenses being revoked. With such policies in place, Bahrain forms the insurance hub in the region.
The insurance sector has developed greatly and there is a need to improve their services even further. With such improvements, the kingdom of Bahrain is bound to benefit not just the employees and expatriates working in large companies, but those working in smaller companies as well.
The employers will be assured of a healthy taskforce which in the long-run will result in higher performance which will lead to higher profitability in the companies (Garcia, 2000). By implementing the National Health Insurance scheme, the number of those being registered under various insurance schemes is bound to increase.
Al-Khalifa, L. (2010). Foreign Direct Investment in Bahrain. Bahrain Health Insurance, 77. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://www.indexuae.com/
Dixon, J. (1999). Social welfare in the Middle East. Bahrain Insurance Association, 2-10. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from http://www.pacificprime.com/
Garcia, G. (2000). Deposit insurance: actual and good practices. Insurance in Bahrain , 44. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from http:// www.bia-bh.com/
Isa, M. (2011). A Review of IR Practices in Bahrain. Bahrain Insurance, 100. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from http://www.bkic.com/
Terterov, M. (2005). Kingdom of Bahrain: Financial System Stability Assessment. Bahrain: Insurance Benefits , 54. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from http://www.clickbahrain.com/