Middle East medical insurance market ripe for expansion, says Cigna CEO

Cigna plans to roll out a machine-learning based health app in the region in the first half of 2018
Cigna, which has operated in the Middle East for 15 years, sees 'great growth opportunity' in the UAE and the wider region.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Sun 14 Jan 2018 05:03 PM

Global health insurance and services company Cigna expects that to grow as much as 30 percent in the region in the near future, according to CEO David Cordani.

In a recent interview with Arabian Business, Cordani noted that Cigna, which has operated in the Middle East for 15 years, sees “great growth opportunity” in the UAE and the wider region.

“Some markets or some sub-markets grow at a faster rate,” he said. “In this marketplace over the foreseeable future, we actually see the ability to grow at a 30 percent rate.

“Part of it is the evolution of the very forward looking visions,” he said, referring to the UAE’s Vision 2021 and Saudi Vision 2030, “and part of it is aided by the reach of this region throughout the globe.”

In October, a survey health poll found that almost 50 percent of UAE residents were concerned about their ability to pay their family or their own medical expenses above their mandatory employee coverage. Additionally, 93 said they preferred to self-medicate when unwell.

In his remarks, Cordani said that the UAE’s overwhelming preference for self-medication was “a local quirk”.

“Every market around the world has its unique attributes in terms of cultural and social norms, but also every individual has preferences, and what we find I those preferences vary during life and health stages,” he added.

“There may be a preference in a way that you or an individual wants to self-medicate, self-care, self-treat or otherwise under certain health conditions or certain life status, and it may change or it may evolve under or more acute health condition.”

Cordani also said that in 2018 Cigna plans to roll out a machine-learning based “global well-being app” in the Middle East in the first or second quarter of 2018.

“It’s a set of informed technologies. It’s a bit more than an app in that it allows an individual to navigate through their health and life journey using digital capabilities,” he said.

“There’s learning algorithms and learning capabilities, and the more an individual utilizes it, the more personalized it becomes to aiding that individual to navigate through their life and health journey.”

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Last Updated: Mon 15 Jan 2018 01:28 PM GST

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