Muscat: The number of insurance policies issued through various electronic windows and channels during the COVID-19 pandemic has exceeded 130,000, according to a report prepared by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) on the performance of the insurance companies in rendering service during the pandemic.
This proves that the sector was able to render non-stop service to the public to meet their need for insurance coverage in light of the precautionary measures announced by the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic including suspension of conventional methods and closure of customers’ counters.
Ahmed Al Ma’amari, Vice President for Insurance Sector expressed his appreciation for such quick response by insurance companies and adapting with the precautionary measures to encounter the abnormal circumstances to ensure continuity of the insurance coverage to cover all types of risks.
Al Maamari affirmed the importance of evaluating the experience to know the facts as such experience has proved the readiness of the insurance companies to face such sudden transformation in suspending the conventional transactions and the move toward electronic transactions.
He added that CMA attached a great importance to such aspect early and endeavored to create competitive market and improve the quality of the services rendered to the public.
He said in 2016, CMA issued detailed guidance manual urging the insurance companies to improve the quality of insurance services to cope with the modern technology and employ technology revolution in speeding up the processes and easing provision of the service to the public and focusing on onsite surveillance to monitor compliance with the manual.
Al Ma’amari emphasised that the data and indicators from rendering the service online will launch a new era in the development of the Omani insurance market in line with the global practices in employing modern technology to render the service to the public.
Certain companies have made strides in this respect and others need to focus on enhancing their infrastructure and develop their systems, rethink their strategies and policies according to the requirements of the new phase.
He highlighted an important issue and the role played by the Omani youth to make use of such transformation whether through investment opportunities or employment opportunities available for the national cadres in the insurance sector which is actually apparent through entry of new investments.
Distribution of selling insurance policies electronically via the windows set up during the outbreak indicates that most insurance policies were issued through the call centers at 61.9 per cent, through the websites of the companies at 12.9 per cent. and 1.56 per cent for electronic applications provided by five companies and 23.5 per cent were from various electronic windows.
CMA had earlier issued a circular instructing insurance companies and brokers to take precautionary measures within the national efforts issued by the Supreme Committee tasked with dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID -19) to curb the outbreak focusing on activating e-services without the need for conventional means and direct face to face transactions or physical presence in the premises of the insurance companies or use of paper.
CMA instructed closure of all customer counters and suspension of all manual services in the premises of the companies and only render electronic services including registration of claims, as well as call centers working around the clock to render the underwriting, claims and support services and to respond to any queries.
CMA also called on the insurance companies, brokers and agents to conduct the business via modern media to render the service to policyholders and suspend conventional means.