Insurance & Reinsurance
Insurance disputes are required to be raised before Insurance Disputes Committees introduced by the UAE regulator in 2019. A new March 2020 directive clarifies the types of disputes to be heard by the Disputes Committees and introduces further restrictions on their jurisdiction.
Specialist insurance disputes committees, having the authority to settle and resolve insurance disputes between insureds, beneficiaries, and interested parties against insurers, were established in October 2019 pursuant to Insurance Authority Board of Directors Resolution No. (33) of 2019. On 12 March 2020, the Insurance Authority Board of Directors issued Resolution No. (9) of 2020, which clarifies the jurisdiction of the Disputes Committees.
The new resolution introduces a number of further restrictions to the jurisdiction of the Disputes Committees, which are no longer authorised to adjudicate on the following matters:
The new restrictions are in addition to the existing restrictions applicable to the Disputes Committees, which do not have jurisdiction to adjudicate the following types of claims:
The new resolution also provides that:
The new resolution provides welcome guidance as to the scope of the Disputes Committees jurisdiction. Proceedings before the Disputes Committees are still in their infancy, and it is clear that the regulator is seeking to bring further clarity as to what types of disputes the Disputes Committees will be authorised to adjudicate on.
The overall steer from the new resolution is that the Disputes Committees will only be responsible for policyholder disputes with insurers, and will not stray into areas of subrogation, third party claims and disputes between market participants (e.g. broker v insurer).
It is too early to say how much traction the Disputes Committees have obtained, and to judge their effectiveness. However, it is now clear that policyholders have a viable alternative to initiating court proceedings in disputes with their insurers. Insurers will need to implement comprehensive internal procedures to handle complaints brought before the Disputes Committees, in order to deal with the strict timetables set out in the procedural regulations.