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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 April 2018

Third of migrant workers on low income say biggest fear is losing their job

They said it would leave them unable to support their families back home, to which they send an average of Dh1,025 a month 

More than a third of lower-income migrant workers in the UAE say losing their job and therefor being unable to support their families back in their home country is their primary worry, a survey has found.

The report, which was funded by the United Nations and commissioned by Democrance, an insurance technology startup that aims to make insurance affordable to all, found that stagnant salaries and health issues were also common concerns.

Almost half of lower-income migrant workers view life insurance as important yet 79 per cent don't have this type of social protection. Health insurance for workers is mandatory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but is often basic and does not include life insurance. The survey found that many workers are keen on acquiring this type of coverage.

Focusing on the key concerns, remittance trends and insurance habits among lower income workers in the UAE, the “lifestyle and attitude of workers within the low-income group in the UAE" report was made by speaking to 762 workers who earn less than Dh4,000 a month and remit money at least once every two months. Forty-nine per cent of these workers were Indian and 51 per cent Filipino.

Regarding remittance houses, 78 per cent of respondents who send money home through these say pricing, accessibility and rewards are most important, with insurance deemed an interesting incentive.

Eighty-eight per cent of these workers remit about Dh1,025 a month, while 71 per cent like the idea of receiving insurance as a work perk.

Michele Grosso is co-counder of Democrance, who deal with microinsurance that is targeted at those on lower incomes.

“Microinsurance is a vital tool to help lift entire populations out of poverty. Yet, barriers to access often seem insurmountable for low-income migrant workers, many of whom are the sole breadwinners of their households,” he said.

“Financial inclusion is not just about affordability, but also about having access to the lower-income market and understanding its needs. This is where a collaboration between insurers and remittance houses can achieve wider reach of the uninsured.”

Findings from the study will be incorporated into a microinsurance project led by Democrance that is part of a collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency and Luxembourg-based inclusive finance non-government organisation ADA. The project aims to build relationships between remittance houses and insurers to make insurance accessible and affordable to those who need it most but can afford it least.

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