Monday September 11 2017

The insurance cocktail

 

By NAFHA MAANI EBRAHIMI

I have been receiving several emails from a broker company trying to sell me health insurance policies. I lived by the Grace of God without major health issues many years in Uganda, hence convincing me of the necessity of paying thousands of dollars for a health insurance policy, is a tough job for the poor broker.
Of course, like everyone else, I was faced with a few health challenges, but if I wanted to compare the amount I paid for those few breakdowns, with what I would have paid as insurance premiums, then I’m considered very lucky not purchasing them.

My thoughts
Not having a health insurance, is not always an option, or a question of choice. In a country like Luxembourg, and most European countries, if you reside there, you must have a health insurance plan. Fortunately, this depends on one’s status. For example, if you are not working, elderly or a needy person, you pay the lowest rate per month. If you are employed then your employer pays the premium that is calculated from your salary, it is illegal to employ a staff and not pay for their health insurance on monthly basis.

Luxembourg experiences
When we arrived in Luxembourg, apart from the compulsory health and car insurances, we had to insure our house against major accidents, such as fire, floods and storms. But what came as a shock to us was the option to insure the pavement in front of our house. Well, it seems that when it snows or gets icy, if you have not cleaned the pavement in front of your house, then sprinkling it with a special kind of salt that melts the ice, and if by chance a pedestrian slip and falls in front of your house, then you are responsible for their medical bill which can be very expensive.

Unlike my home country
It is very interesting that we arrived to live in Europe from the Middle East, where in most of the Gulf States, apart from the compulsory third party car insurance, other kinds of insurance seem to be ignored and very optional. However, the Western mode of thinking seems to have penetrated their mode of life, albeit in a limited way, and one can see its influence in the increasing number of insurance companies that are thriving in the region.

Still, many times when a car accident occurs and there are only minor damages to the two cars, it is normal to see the two car owners shake hands and leave the scene, thanking God that they are fine and each taking responsibility for their own repairs. Now imagine the extreme of coming from such a culture, to one in Europe where a scratch on someone’s car, can cause you an arm and a leg, if you are not insured.

Bottom-line
At the end of the day, the insurance companies, remain the winners, if you ask anyone who had to ask money back from insurance for any reason, you will see them crying from the long process and the many questions asked before releasing the funds, and of course there are always those hidden clauses written in small fonts that you have not noticed before, that that gives the insurance company an escape route.

Why insure
Insurance helps you: Own a home, because mortgage lenders need to know your home is protected. Drive vehicles, because few people could afford the repairs, health care costs and legal expenses associated with collisions and injuries without coverage.- Internet

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