Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten and Tawuniya Chairman Sulaiman Al-Humaid signed an agreement on Wednesday (Dec 11) to provide insurance for pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia.
The signing took place at the Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s headquarters in Makkah, Arab News reported as quoted by Indonesia Window here on Thursday.
As part of 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, Minister Benten said.
The insurance company, 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.
General supervisor of the ministry’s media center Ayman Al-Arfaj noted that the insurance would cost SR189 (SR3.75=US$1) per person, which will be paid to the insurance company and will cover 30 days, the total stay of the pilgrim in Saudi Arabia.
According to him, the insurance would 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 explained.
Al-Arfaj noted that since the start of the Umrah season in October 2019, a total of 1,518,649 pilgrims have arrived in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Tawuniya’s CEO Abdulaziz bin Hadsan Al-Bouq said the Kingdom is developing innovative methods to provide health services and reduce accidents at holy sites.
Tawuniya has been awarded the contract for four years.
This project, he added, was supported by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and each insurance covers an amount of SR100,000 (US$26,665) per person.
Reporting by Indonesia Window