SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi car insurance companies offer new services to women clients

Would not differentiate between men and women in determining vehicle insurance premiums

Insurance companies have emphasized that they would not differentiate between men and women in determining vehicle insurance premiums.

Adel Al-Eissa, spokesman of insurance companies, said: “We’ll deal with women like men with regard to traffic accidents and all technical aspects related to car insurance.”

He said the same policy would be applied on comprehensive and third party insurance. “Companies can provide additional services to women clients like special assistance,” he added.

Al-Eissa said insurance companies were trying to woo the largest number of female clients following the introduction of women driving in the Kingdom, either by giving them good discounts or providing additional services.

“Most companies have established women’s sections to extend services to female clients,” he said while speaking to Al-Hayat Arabic daily.

Insurance expert Luay Abdu said companies are not given full freedom to fix premiums like before as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), which is the Kingdom’s insurance regulator, has resorted to electronic devices to set a suitable premium pricing.

“There is no difference in pricing premiums for vehicles owned by women compared to those owned by men,” Abdu told Al-Hayat. He expected a remarkable increase in comprehensive and third party insurance sales in the coming months.

“Sales will increase by 5 percent in the first year, 10 percent in the second year and 15 to 20 percent in third year,” Abdu said. “Some insurance companies have already appointed women employees to deal with female drivers and accident cases involving them,” he pointed out.

Economist Dr. Abdullah Al-Maghlouth said he expected a 15 percent increase in third party insurance following the introduction of women driving. “The demand for car insurance will rise by 70 percent in coming months,” he added.

Dr. Salim Baujaja, economics professor at Taif University, said Saudis spend SR25 billion annually on foreign family drivers. “Saudis spend part of their revenue on salaries and air tickets of expat drivers and I believe the lifting of ban on women driving would reduce this expenditure,” he said.

He said the decision to lift the ban would increase car sales by 20 to 25 percent. “It will also have a positive impact on a number of related economic sectors such as car workshops, accessories and insurance,” he added.

Baujaja said the move would reduce unemployment rate among women as it removes one of the major obstacles before women workers.

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