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UAE expat invents insurance that helps those in need.

Summary: Jha decided to solve this issue and use his expertise for the cause of the blue-collar community.

Saman Haziq

Pallav Jha analysed different options such as raising funds , collaborations with companies and designing an insurance product to help the blue-collar workers.

Although this Indian expat has been in the UAE for just a little over three years, Pallav Jha took a whole new approach to making a difference in the lives of those who have helped transform the UAE literally; the blue-collar community - one of the key contributors in helping realise the dream of building the country for future. A chance meeting with a construction worker at the airport compelled Jha, who works as a management consultant with a firm in Dubai, to do his bit to help those less fortunate. And the 29-year-old Dubai resident designed an economically viable low-cost insurance scheme that will allow the workers a free round trip flight to their home country in the times of personal emergency.

"What moved me was the fact that this worker I met at the airport was going to attend the funeral of his son whom he had never seen since his birth. The worker could not meet his son earlier, even while the latter was ailing, as he didn't have enough money to buy a ticket to fly back," said Jha, an MBA graduate from the reputed Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Jha decided to solve this issue and use his expertise for the cause of the blue-collar community. He surveyed around 200 workers in the UAE and most of them told him that they could not afford to go to their home country before three years, not even when there is a personal emergency since they have to save money for their own living and send some to their families.

"My heart broke that day and I realised that although these workers are insured and covered for their health emergency situations, there is no arrangement for their dependents to come here in case they fall seriously sick. They come from the poorest of the poor segment, and whatever little salary they get, they send 80-85 per cent back home to support their family. In case of emergency, for them to buy a ticket would mean spending up to Dh1,800, which is a big amount for them," Jha said.

Jha then analysed different options such as raising funds for workers, collaborations with companies or designing an insurance product to help the workers. After much research and consultations with financial experts and government officials, he zeroed in on the insurance scheme.

Not only was this concept new to the UAE but it was completely novel idea for the world as something like this was not available anywhere in the world. This is why after designing the scheme, Jha has also filed for a patent in the US to protect it.

Two benefits of the low-cost insurance are: It will give a round trip airfare for the insured worker in case of emergency involving his or her family members in their home country; and a round-trip airfare for one of the family members of the insured worker in case the latter is hospitalised.

"It is low-cost because the insurer has to pay just $2 or $3 per year per person and the benefits they can get are worth up to $2,000, " Jha told Khaleej Times.

Applauding Jha's newly launched low-cost Insurance scheme for workers, Consul-General of India to the UAE, Vipul said: "I feel it is a smart and focussed product that will help the workers a great deal. At a very low cost, it will enable them to travel and be with their families, especially in case of medical needs. I am happy that this innovative approach has both commercial viability and social impact."

The insurance is currently underwritten by local insurer named Union Insurance Company and is being distributed by exchange house Sharaf Exchange, which has bought over 100,000 policies for a three-year deal. Talking about backing Jha's insurance product, Kamal Deep Chhabra, president, Life, Bancassurance & Personal Lines at Union Insurance, said: "We were excited about the idea and carefully crafted the execution strategy in ensuring hassle-free boarding and claims experience for the blue-collar segment.

"Our offer financially covers the high costs of last-minute travel bookings to the home country and return in case of an unfortunate death of an immediate family member and vice versa in case of a medical emergency of the covered member," he added.

Pay 2-3 dollars, get benefits worth $2,000

The insurance scheme invented by Pallav Jha for the blue-collar workers in the UAE mainly has two benefits:

1) It will give a round trip airfare for the insured worker in case of emergency involving his or her family members in their home country

2) It will provide a round-trip airfare for one of the family members of the insured worker in case the latter is hospitalised in the UAE.

The insurer has to pay $2 or $3 per year and the benefits they can get are worth up to $2,000.

saman@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jul 24, 2018
Words:872
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