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UAE residents still without home contents insurance


Forty nine per cent of residents identify fire as the biggest threat.

November 13, 2013 5:48 by

It’s been one year since hundreds of residents were left homeless after a fire ripped through Tamweel Tower in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers. However, UAE residents are yet to heed the warning and take steps to protect their home possessions.

According to a poll by research firm YouGov and global insurer Zurich, 94 per cent of the 1,000 UAE residents surveyed said that they don’t have insurance cover for their home contents. This is in spite of the fact that 27 per cent admitted that last year’s fire incident had encouraged them to consider purchasing home contents cover.

The findings were most pronounced among tenants, with only four per cent reporting that they have home contents insurance, compared with 22 per cent of homeowners. Despite the low penetration of home contents insurance, the majority of respondents were aware of the risks that threaten their homes in the UAE.

Approximately half of the respondents (49 per cent) identified fire as one of the biggest threats, followed by electrical faults (16 per cent), thefts (11 per cent), building faults (ten per cent) and flooding (ten per cent). One fifth said that they had personal experience of these risks, while nearly half knew of someone’s home that had been damaged in the past five years.

Brian Reilly, CEO of Zurich’s General Insurance business in the Middle East region, says that the JLT fire incident created a surge in awareness across the UAE about fire, risk and insurance, but it does not seem to have had a long-term effect on people’s attitudes. In the aftermath of last year’s blaze, Zurich reveals that its call centre experienced a 200 per cent spike in customer enquiries during the two weeks that followed and then quickly returned to normal levels.

“Events, such as the Tamweel Tower fire incident, focus minds, but their impact inevitably wanes. One year on, it appears that home contents of most UAE residents are still inadequately protected against unanticipated risks,” says Reilly.

The company attributes low insurance penetration levels in the UAE to two common misconceptions among tenants – believing that personal home contents are covered under the landlord’s building insurance and underestimating the value of their possessions.

In September, a study by Fund Advisers revealed that UAE residents were “shockingly” under-insured when it came to life and critical illness cover, contents insurance and travel insurance.

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