Now that UAE organisations have successfully navigated the uncertainty of 2020, and with government initiatives such as the 1,000 digital start-ups program and mega-events such as EXPO 2020 invigorating the economy, businesses are turning their attention away from cost-cutting, to strategies that enable them to attract and retain the brightest talent. Key among this has been the enhancement of employee benefits programs, as the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of health and wellbeing.
This is highlighted in a new report by Bayzat, the UAE’s leading employee benefits platform, which found that over the last 12 months, two-thirds (67%) of UAE companies have increased the amount they spend on premiums per employee in order to deliver better coverage. Bayzat’s data went further to highlight that the average increase in spending by these organisations is an impressive 31.4%.
Of the companies that have enhanced coverage for their staff, over half (56%) moved to better providers, while the remaining 44% stuck with their incumbent providers or moved laterally to equivalent providers while electing for plans with a greater number of benefits. This translates to enhancements such as their employees gaining access to a wider network of clinics and hospitals, improved maternity cover, alternative medicines treatment, higher annual limits, and dental and optical cover.
Another positive development highlighted in Bayzat’s report is that nearly two-thirds (65%) of Dubai-based companies now offer medical insurance coverage for their employees’ dependents. This is despite the coverage of dependents not being made mandatory by local regulations.
The value of employee satisfaction is evidenced by a recent Accenture report which found that companies that provide a great employee experience outperform the S&P 500 by up to 122 percentage points. “With remote work dramatically expanding employees’ job prospects, the onus is now on organisations to make themselves as attractive as possible to existing staff and potential hires. The commendable legislation by Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which mandated that insurance be provided for all employees, has meant that companies that truly prioritise employee benefits must differentiate themselves by offering more comprehensive policies,” explained Ahmad Bayaa, Chief Operating Officer at Bayzat.
This need to go beyond basic coverage is evidenced by findings from Bayzat’s study which found that currently, of the set of claims that are rejected, policy exclusion is the primary reason for the vast majority (54%), followed by ‘pay and claim’ not being allowed coming in at a distant second (17%). “Our data shows that dental, specialists, and gynaecology and obstetrics are the top three among UAE employees’ insurance reimbursement claim requests. If companies can cater to these needs, they can create a compelling health and benefits package for their employees,” Ahmad Bayaa added.