Majority of UAE residents to be hit with large clean-up bill after storms

Storm damage caused by cloud seeding covered by insurance companies

United Arab Emirates, January 14, 2020

UAE residents affected by the weekend storms are facing massive clean-up bills for properties damaged by the adverse weather conditions, with a large majority not covered by insurance, according an industry expert.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) revealed the rainfall over the weekend was the highest since 1996. As of Sunday morning, the highest amount of rainfall from January 9-12 was reported in Al Shakla, Al Ain, with 190.4mm.

The rain caused widespread flooding and damage to properties across the UAE.

Stefan Schrey, head of claims at AXA Gulf, told Arabian Business: “Relatively few people choose to take out insurance on their home and contents, so whilst there is likely to have been significant property damage, most people don’t have insurance to call upon.

“This is a worry given that contents claims typically start at AED10,000, but can rise much higher.”

A survey from Dubizzle Property last year revealed that, out of 1,458 respondents, 63 percent did not own home insurance.

When asked if they are interested in purchasing home insurance, 75 percent stated that they are not, and 18 percent were not sure. However, only 30 percent had full knowledge of the benefits of it, with the majority (70 percent) being unaware of the type of coverage they can receive.

Driver claims

Schrey revealed that the majority of weather-related claims the company has received involved vehicles either damaged by flood waters or involved in accidents – over 2,100 traffic accidents took place in Dubai because of heavy rain from Thursday to Sunday.

“Drivers are encouraged to take extra care, allow more distance between themselves and the vehicle in front and to avoid driving through large pools of water, particularly where the depth is unknown, as engine damage can prove to be costly and potentially write-off your vehicle,” he said.

Schrey also dismissed concerns that rain caused by cloud seeding may not be covered by insurance policies.

He said: “Rain is covered in policies, no matter the cause.”