Saudi Hajj Ministry announces insurance for pilgrims

Muslim pilgrims queue for passport control at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on July 7, 2019, prior to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Updated 12 December 2019

Saudi Hajj Ministry announces insurance for pilgrims

  • Announcement comes as part of the Vision 2030 reform plan
  • Insurance will cover emergency cases, accidents and repatriation of the remains of pilgrims who die in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced insurance for pilgrims coming from outside the kingdom, as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan, according to state media.

Hajj and Umrah Minister, Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten signed an agreement with Tawuniya Chairman Sulaiman Al-Humaid at the Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s headquarters in Makkah on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the ministry will provide health and other insurance services to pilgrims from the time they arrive in the Kingdom until they leave.

The insurance scheme comes as part of the Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to enhance pilgrims’ experiences, said Minister Benten.

Tawuniya was tapped by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry in consultation with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Health Insurance Council, he added.

The insurance will be linked to the visa as soon as the pilgrim arrives in Saudi Arabia, he said. There will be a hotline, and pilgrims will be served by teams who speak multiple languages.

Ayman Al-Arfaj, general supervisor of the ministry’s media center, said the insurance will cost SR189 per person, which will be paid to the insurance company and will cover 30 days, the total stay of a pilgrim in Saudi Arabia.

He said that insurance will be unified for all pilgrims and will cover emergency cases, accidents and repatriation of the remains of pilgrims who die in Saudi Arabia. A pilgrim automatically gets insurance once the visa is issued.

Pilgrims in need of health assistance can avail themselves of the insurance benefit by presenting their passports at any hospital or clinic under the Saudi Ministry of Health or any private hospital and clinic accredited by the Health Insurance Council, Al-Arfaj said.

Abdulaziz bin Hadsan Al-Bouq, CEO of Tawuniya, which has been awarded the contract for four years, said the Kingdom is developing innovative methods to provide health services and reduce accidents at holy sites.

This project, he added, is supported by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and each insurance covers an amount of SR100,000 ($26,665) per person.

Al-Arfaj noted that since the start of the Umrah season in October, a total of 1,518,649 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom.


Quality of Life program plans annual conference to develop strategic index

Updated 51 min 54 sec ago

Quality of Life program plans annual conference to develop strategic index

  • There are 13 programs aiming to change and develop the lifestyles of citizens and residents

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Quality of Life Program will organize an annual conference to develop a strategic index accredited by the UN, according to its spokesman Mazrou Al-Mazrou.

This news came in a meeting held at the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Riyadh on Monday, during which Al-Mazrou presented insights about the program, and how it related to the National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP) and Saudi Vision 2030.

The program supervises 119 initiatives in the entertainment and recreational sectors, including in culture, sport, recreation and touristism, he added.

“There are 13 programs aiming to change and develop the lifestyles of citizens and residents,” Al-Mazrou said.

“The programs rely on the financing method and intersect with other authorities. A range of events and programs have been achieved, such as diversifying entertainment activities with more than 377 events so far, as well as increasing the index of families’ expenditure rate on entertainment activities."

He said the program had several other objectives, including enriching the local entertainment scene in the Kingdom, contributing to the construction media cities, and supporting the development of the Saudi film industry.