The health insurance market in Oman has overtaken motor insurance as the biggest insurance segment for the third consecutive year, thanks to rising demand and awareness for health insurance products in the country.
In a statement to Oman News Agency, H E Abdullah Salim al Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), said that the average annual growth of health insurance segment during the past eight years was 19 per cent, leading all other insurance segments by seizing 34 per cent of the gross insurance premiums in 2020.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and decline in business activity have had a negative impact on the growth of Oman’s insurance market last year.
Total premiums of insurance companies in Oman decreased by 4.3 per cent to RO466mn in 2020 compared with RO486.6mn recorded in 2019, according to the CMA’s statistics.
For the year 2020, health insurance segment represented the highest market share in total premiums of insurance companies.
H E Salmi affirmed that the amendments in the Insurance Companies Law and the Takaful Insurance Law promulgated under the recent Royal Decrees are related to the regulation of health insurance.
“The focus of amendments is on enhancing the regulatory readiness for the health insurance system in the sultanate in response to its increasing significance and rapid growth in the volume of health insurance market during the past period,’ H E Salmi said.
He said that the robust indicators and future importance of health insurance and its distinctiveness from other branches of insurance requires enhancement of the efficiency of insurance companies which provide health insurance.
‘These companies also need to be regulated to ensure that their financial abilities and human resources are capable of providing required financing for their customers’ healthcare and adequate protection for health insurance policyholders,’ H E Salmi added.
He further said that the new amendments in laws separate health insurance from other insurance activities, making it independent after previously being considered as part of the general insurance business.
H E Salmi stated that the amendments are a breakthrough in the regulation of the Omani insurance market as they take the industry to a new phase of regulation and a higher level of quality in provided services.
“Such independence for this sector takes into consideration the uniqueness of health insurance activity and the nature of insurance service as it is about the healthcare and lives of individuals. This requires the provision of legislative and technological systems that commensurate with such distinctiveness and at the same time cope with the international developments and standards of regulation, ensuring the soundness and quality of the services provided to health insurance policyholders,” he said.
H E Salmi pointed out that the amendments in Insurance Companies Law and Takaful Insurance Law respond to the requirements of the current development phase of Oman’s Vision 2040.
“The health insurance sector will contribute to the economic growth and in providing quality insurance and health services in the sultanate’s various governorates. This sector will also help in creating job opportunities for the youth in both the public and private sectors.”
He explained that the amendments in the Insurance Companies Law and Takaful Insurance Law were carried out with the participation of relevant entities in the public and private sectors to benefit from their views in order to build an integrated health insurance system.