Travel insurance regulations to help facilitate travel in MENA

According to Tawuniya, Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has approved a travel insurance product with the participation of some Saudi insurers. As reported by Arab News, Tawuniya – Saudi Arabia’s co-operative insurance organisation – announced it had received final approval for an insurance product for Saudis travelling overseas that covers Covid-19 risks. A move that follows the Kingdom’s decision to allow its citizens to travel internationally out of the region from 17 May, as long as they have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, or one shot in cases where they have been vaccinated 14 days before departure as detailed by the Tawakkalna app – a piece of digital software developed in co-operation with the country’s Ministry of Health that helps control the spread of Covid by tracking and reducing movement that could spur an outbreak.  

Citizens who have recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic within the last six months will be also allowed to travel abroad. Those under 18 will be required to provide an insurance policy approved by SAMA. 

FRA establishes the Egyptian Association for Travel Insurance 

Meanwhile, Egypt has implemented a similar initiative – the country’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has co-ordinated with the Ministry of Interior to ensure that Egyptian citizens can access immediate assistance whilst travelling abroad in cases of accidents, emergencies, or illness. 

Travel insurance coverage, with a limit of €30,000, is to be given to more than 20 million Egyptians whose upcoming trips do not exceed 90 consecutive days, reports Daily News Egypt. The policies will also include cover for repatriation of the insured’s mortal remains. 

The new cover is provided under the newly established Egyptian Association for Travel Insurance, which will act as an umbrella organisation for insurance providers in Egypt. Those that are licensed by the FRA immediately become a member of the organisation. Travellers will therefore be able to go to any of FRA’s licensed providers to obtain the appropriate coverage for their travel. 

FRA Chairperson Mohamed Omran, who issued the declaration to establish to Egyptian Association of Travel Insurance, noted that as many countries stipulate that their travellers must be insured as a condition of inbound travel, the association helps manage these travel insurance documents, as well as everything related to the travel insurance process, including collecting premiums for the documents, and claims submitted by insureds and treating healthcare facilities. 

Back in November 2020, ITIJ assessed the opportunities for travel insurance uptake and distribution in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, and found that growing expat numbers meant that IPMI policy purchases were surging, and that the growing use of technology could drive an increased interest in travel insurance.

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