UAE: Up to 400% jump in insurance claims as record rainfall damages thousands of cars

Claims worth hundreds of thousands of dirhams have been pouring in from restaurants, shops and other small retailers

by

Waheed Abbas

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People push a stranded car along a flooded street in Dubai on April 16, 2024. Photo: AFP
People push a stranded car along a flooded street in Dubai on April 16, 2024. Photo: AFP

Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 10:45 PM

UAE insurers say that the highest rain in 75 years has brought in the highest claims with some of the companies reporting as much as 400 per cent jumps compared to previous peaks, mainly related to motor damages.

Similarly, claims worth hundreds of thousands of dirhams have also been pouring in from restaurants, shops and other small retailers in the first few days after the rains.


The UAE witnessed its heaviest rainfall in 75 years from late Monday through Tuesday night, surpassing any recorded precipitation since data collection began in 1949. The weather department recorded the highest rainfall in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain, reaching 254 mm in less than 24 hrs.

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Highest claims

Avinash Babur, CEO of Insurancemarket.ae, said they have received four times more the number of claims as compared to previous periods of rain.

Avinash Babur
Avinash Babur

“We believe many claims are yet to be reported, so it's going to be an unprecedented time for the insurance industry... It's expected to be the highest ever. Policyholders will need to bear with us as we try our best to serve them during this critical time,” said Babur.

In addition to vehicle, claims related to water damage and electrical issues at homes as well as retail outlets, F&B and offices are also in big numbers, he added.

Anas Mistareehi, CEO of eSanad, also expects claims to reach unprecedented levels due to the severity of the rains.

“Despite having sophisticated infrastructure in place, the intensity of the rainfall has been overwhelming, leading to an exceptional situation. We will likely see the highest number of claims ever recorded from a single event,” he said.

Anas Mistareehi (Photos: Supplied)
Anas Mistareehi (Photos: Supplied)

Mistareehi estimated a minimum surge of 50 per cent in claims compared to the last event.

Surge across all categories

“While we actively encourage policyholders to promptly report any damages or losses to their insurance provider, it's crucial to note that reporting a claim does not necessarily guarantee coverage or compensation,” Mistareehi said, adding that the surge in claim submissions was across various categories such as motor, property, projects, and construction.

“Insurance companies are predominantly receiving motor claims due to the significant number of vehicles on the roads during peak rainfall. However, in terms of severity, property and construction claims are expected to be more prominent,” he added.

Echoing his industry peers, Moin ur Rehman, executive director of Unitrust Insurance Broker, said: “The UAE has witnessed its highest rainfall in the last 75 years, and the impact on insurance claims reflects the severity of the weather event. The surge in claims surpasses any previous instances we have encountered, highlighting the extraordinary nature of this rainfall.”

Moin ur Rehman
Moin ur Rehman

He said there has been a significant increase in motor insurance claims of up to 70 per cent compared to previous peaks.

“Within one day, we received more than 25 claims mainly from shops and restaurants which would be approximately Dh2 million to Dh3 million. Customers are reaching out to us, seeking assistance, especially with roadside assistance and car towing as they navigate the aftermath of the rains,” he said.

He added that the majority of the claims are related to motor vehicles that become stuck on flooded roads.

“Additionally, we are seeing a notable increase in property-related claims. A significant number of individuals are grappling with water leakage issues in their homes, resulting in damages that require immediate attention,” he said.

Pressure on insurers

Mohammed Ali Londe, a vice-president and senior analyst at Moody’s Ratings, said the widespread flooding will give rise to significant insurance claims arising from property, motor and business interruption policies.

“Local insurers tend to be heavy users of reinsurance, which will help moderate their losses in this instance but contribute to pressure for higher reinsurance prices at upcoming renewals," he said.

Londe added that intense market share competition and soft prices have exerted pressure on the profitability of UAE insurers in recent years. “Although profitability has been improving slowly, we anticipate that these floods will reintroduce stress on earnings, especially for small and medium-sized insurers who have struggled to generate underwriting profits,” he added.

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