February 21, 2018

New Emiratisation requirements issued for the Insurance Sector

The insurance sector is the latest in a string of Emiratisation initiatives to be placed under the spotlight, with the release of an Emiratisation Special Guide (the Guide) issued by the UAE Insurance Authority on 25 January 2018. This article examines the content of the newly released guide together with the general Emiratisation requirements placed on the insurance sector.

The insurance sector has witnessed the highest Emiratisation percentage requirement since 2005

Nationalisation is a commonly heard word around the GCC, with countries increasingly seeking to encourage the employment and inclusion of their nationals into the public workforce sphere.  The United Arab Emirates is no stranger to such movement, with new innovative measures being undertaken to increase the participation of the national workforce within various private sector industries.   

The insurance sector has witnessed the highest Emiratisation percentage requirement since 2005 following the implementation of Ministerial Decision No. 42 of 2005 which set the quota for UAE nationals' employment within such sector to 5%.  The same decision also imposed reporting obligations on companies and set out sanctions for failure to comply with such requirements.

In October 2015 Cabinet Resolution No. (267/20/3) of 2015 was published setting out an Emiratisation strategy for the banking and insurance sector.  The resolution prescribes initiatives to align government working practices and those of banks and insurance companies such as working hours and leave entitlements.  It further explores education initiatives in order to promote work within the financial and insurance sector to local national students and equip them with the necessary skills. Lastly, it sets out an Emiratisation points system to be adopted by the insurance sector and obliges the UAE Insurance Authority to monitor and manage the implementation of the system, publish targets, collect and publish data.

The recently published Guide re-affirms the requirements under the 2015 resolution and provides further detail and clarification on the Emiratisation expectation, target calculation methodology and implementation requirements.  

Who is subject to the Guide?

The Guide applies to insurance companies operating in the UAE and licensed by the Insurance Authority.

How do companies calculate their target points?

Points are determined based on total premiums generated by companies.  The schedule to the Guide prescribes the points companies are expected to attain for 2018, with the premium bracket starting at zero and going up to AED 20,000,000,000.  By way of example, businesses generating a premium of between AED 0 – 100,000,000 are expected to achieve 5 points in 2018.

How to achieve target points?

The system set up by the 2015 resolution is reinforced by the Guide. Emiratisation targets can be achieved in the following ways:

  1. Up to 10% of the Emiratisation target can be achieved by measuring the average spend on training and development per UAE national in the company.The Guide provides a sliding scale table, with the company having to spend an average of AED 10,000 or more per UAE national on training and development in order to be allocated the full 10%;
  2. Up to 10% of the Emiratisation target can be achieved by calculating the percentage of UAE nationals holding senior management positions within the company.The Guide sets out a sliding scale table and requires companies to have 15% or more UAE nationals in senior management positions in order to achieve the full 10%; and
  3. The bulk of the target is made up of the number of UAE nationals the company employs and the type of role they occupy, with top management positions earning higher points than those in middle management and non-administrative roles. Further points are awarded to those occupying professional roles.

Understanding how points are allocated to different roles

The Guide sets out a list of insurance specific roles, which are then split into three groups according to their seniority in a user friendly table format.  Points are then allocated to each role according to seniority, with further points allocated across all three groups where the role is considered to be a 'professional' role.  Top management roles as a minimum earn 5 points, middle management roles earn, as a minimum, 3 points and non-administrative roles earn, as a minimum 1 point.  Where the role is classed as a professional role, 2 additional points are allocated, with each group having the potential to be allocated 7, 5 or 3 points respectively.  By way of example, an insurance consultant is considered both a top management and a professional role, receiving 7 points. 

Allocation towards part years worked

Points are adjusted downwards for part years worked.  By way of example, an individual occupying a top management role which is also considered to be a professional role would ordinarily be allocated 7 points.  Where such employee only works 9 months, the points allocated will be adjusted using the following calculation:

(9 Months Worked / 12 Months ) x 7 Points = 5.25 points

Special Groups

Where a UAE national employee is employed on a part time basis whether they are based in the office or they work from home, the company is only permitted to allocate 50% of the points they generate for such employee towards their Emiratisation target.

Companies are also able to take advantage of additional points where they train and develop or employ an employee with special needs, either on a full time or part time basis.

Enforcement

The 2015 resolution mandates the UAE Insurance Authority to monitor and manage the implementation of the Emiratisation system, publish targets, collect and publish data.  It is therefore imperative that companies keep a record of their Emiratisation target achievement and have such data and their calculation records to hand in the event they are asked to report such data.