Car insurers are failing to perform, say authorities

Officials express disappointment at the performance of auto insurance companies.

ABU DHABI // Car insurance companies are not meeting the demands of the market and are falling short of the expectations set by the authorities, officials said yesterday.

Fatima al Awadhi, the deputy director general of the UAE Insurance Authority, said that the recession had presented insurance companies with a significant financial challenge, but warned they must offer improved service.

"Insurance companies need to speed up payment, and pay it fully without delay," she said.

Ms al Awadhi was among a number of traffic officials and road safety experts speaking at an international symposium who said that insurance providers should implement schemes that rewarded responsible drivers and penalised reckless drivers.

The Insurance Authority was established in 2007 as a financially independent entity to monitor the UAE's insurance sector, which currently comprises 59 insurance companies.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the head of Dubai Police, also expressed disappointment at the state of insurance for drivers in the UAE. "It is the responsibility of the association to help us police officers to motivate those who abide by the rules and condemn those who don't," he said. "We proposed tying up the black points system with drivers' insurance schemes, but the insurance companies refused."

Ms al Awadhi recognised problems with Emirati insurance and said the authority is working on a plan of action to tighten control of the sector.She added that new legislation is in the works that will change the industry.

Meanwhile, a joint committee was also formed by the authority and the Emirates Insurance Associationto monitor the implications of the recession on the sector and take necessary action.