News Three priorities when adjusting Dubai tower fires

Three priorities when adjusting Dubai tower fires

Jul 27, 2023
Dubai is home to hundreds of low and high rise apartment blocks, including some of the tallest residential buildings in the world. It should, perhaps, come as no surprise that there have been numerous fires in recent years, with possibly the most frightening being the 86 story Torch Tower blaze in 2015 and again 2017 which thankfully did not result in any fatalities. Moein Hani, Senior Loss Adjuster with Advanta Global, has adjusted many of these fire claims and points toward three claims management priorities.


The cost of alternative accommodation can form a significant portion of the insured claim. Some blocks have hundreds of occupants, for example when the 34-storey Tamweel Tower was damaged by fire in 2012 the 160 owners and their families had to move out and it was four years before they were able to return.

Hani explains “The cost to repair the property damage can potentially be dwarfed by alternative accommodation costs. It’s why our first consideration is whether and how the building can remain habitable. In a recent claim we identified how we could redirect and reinstate electrical, water and other services to allow a major portion of the damaged building to continue to be occupied. It allowed us to mitigate the claim saving millions of dollars.”


The severity of many fires has been partly due to the use of certain types of aluminium composite cladding, which have been found to be highly flammable. Building regulations were changed in 2013 to outlaw certain types of cladding, but this did not apply retrospectively. Whilst developers and building owners have been encouraged to replace unsafe cladding it can prove extremely costly.

According to Hani “When a fire occurs, the damaged cladding must be replaced by materials that meet current building regulations. This can result in betterment that is not covered by insurance with these additional costs, which can be significant, having to be met by the owners. This can be a difficult discussion, so it is important to raise this issue as early as possible. Where fire damage has been extensive, I have known owners to decide to replace undamaged cladding at the same time as repairing fire damage to improve building fire protection and safety. However, this is only possible when the issue is discussed early in the claims process and where there is strong stakeholder engagement.” Which leads nicely to the third and final claims management priority.


Strong communication with the insured to keep them informed and to manage expectations is a vital element to successfully managing any claim, but with Dubai tower claims this can be complex. Many apartment buildings are owned by individuals, whom own each apartment.

In Hani’s experience “Where the owners have formed and registered an owners’ committee it simplifies the communication channel and discussions, but I have come across situations where this is not the case. It meant communicating with and getting agreement from each individual owner. Understanding this environment as quickly as possible and putting in place the communications process is a key first step to successfully manage tower fire claims.

In summary, identifying potential claims issues early by the adjuster provides the necessary platform to manage stakeholders expectations and forms the bedrock to successful resolution.

Moein Hani

Moein Hani is a Senior Loss Adjuster in Advanta Global’s Dubai office. He is licensed by the UAE Insurance Authority and has more than 25 years’ experience handling a diverse portfolio of claims, which includes numerous tower fires.