NEWS FROM THE UAE
UAE: Rain Repurcussions - Motorists Face Unexpected Bills
UAE - JAN 23: THE storms that rocked the UAE last week have left residents and motorists facing unexpected bills and clean-up costs, with insurance companies reporting a spike in the number of claims due to water damage.
According to Dubai Met office, Dubai received a record rainfall of 110 millimetres over a two-day period during the storms. Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi also saw heavy rain and some flooding.
The resulting damage to homes and properties - in addition to the high number of motor accidents and engine seizures caused by driving into deep water - have again highlighted the importance of adequate insurance cover, sources observed.
Even though this was the second year in a row when rainstorms caused widespread difficulties, the penetration rate for home insurance and home contents insurance still stands at less than five per cent in the UAE, meaning that many people are not protected against the costs of flooding.
"Situations like the January rainstorms highlight the necessity of adequate insurance and demonstrate the challenges posed by the high number of under-insured and uninsured properties in the UAE," said Michael Walton director general, Nexus Insurance Brokers.
"Given that experts believe that climate change will result in more extreme weather in the coming years, it is likely that the associated problems are likely to increase, unless more people insure their assets," he added.
Sources said that one benefit of home insurance is that issues surrounding liability - such as whether the master developer or local authority is ultimately responsible for bearing the costs of storm-damage - are managed by the insurance company.
Clean-up costs are also managed by the insurance company on behalf of policy-holder, who can get on with rebuilding and redecorating. Lack of awareness about the accessibility of home and home contents insurance is seen as one of the reasons for the current shortfall in cover.
With Dhs100,000 worth of cover being available for premiums of around Dhs400 a year, it is not thought that cost is a major factor in people's decision not to purchase insurance.
Vehicle owners could also benefit from better awareness of the cover provided by their motor insurance.
Traffic chaos caused by the rains resulted in 1,307 vehicle accidents recorded in a single day during the storms.
Water-damages sustained by parked and partially-submerged cars also added to costs for many motorists.
"It's important for drivers to know that some insurance policies do provide coverage in the event of water damage to their vehicle, covered under the 'Riot, strike, storm and flood clause," said Angela Baldwin corporate development manager, Axa Insurance (Gulf).
"If this protection is in place, the convenient claims processes that companies like Axa Insurance have in place enable motorists to get their vehicle back on the road more quickly," she added.
Partnering with international companies, Nexus offers a growing selection of home owners, home contents and motor insurance.
In 2007, insurance companies in the region saw a surge in claims in the aftermath of Cyclone Gonu.
In Oman alone, total damage caused amounted to more than $4billion.
748 pedestrian violations registered in one day in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, Jan. 22: The Department of Traffic of Abu Dhabi Police registered Monday 748 traffic violations against pedestrians over crossing the roads from zones not allocated to them in the capital.
The move is in line with the campaign titled: "Pedestrian safety is a general responsibility" and being organised by the department.
Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Dahi, head of the capital patrols and the campaign said that the traffic squads and patrols launched the campaign from 06am and continued for a whole day yesterday at different districts in Abu Dhabi city.