Standard commercial general liability policies

Bodily injury

What constitutes bodily injury under a standard CGL policy?

Physical damage in the context of medical injuries is expressed under UAE law as ‘bodily injury’. Bodily injury is broadly defined to be anything that affects the health of a human being. Compensation is payable under UAE law for ‘any harm caused to a person’ (Civil Code, article 299). Compensation for bodily injury, pain and suffering (ie, moral damages) are recoverable under UAE law (Civil Code, article 293).

Property damage

What constitutes property damage under a standard CGL policy?

Articles 95 to 103 of the Civil Code define ‘property’ as any ‘thing’ or ‘right’ with a material value in dealing. The term includes both land and chattels. Article 97 of the Civil Code adds that property is anything, ‘…which can be possessed whether physically or constructively, or which may be lawfully enjoyed, and which does not by its nature or by operation of law fall outside the scope of dealing (transactions)’.

Article 300 of the Civil Code refers to the obligation of a person who ‘causes damage to or renders defective’ another property to either make that property good or pay compensation.


What constitutes an occurrence under a standard CGL policy?

These are largely market wordings that have not been ‘domesticated’ – that is, these policies have not been standardised, and coverage differs from one policy to the next.

There has been no law or case law on this issue in the UAE (unlike under English or other common law, where the meaning of ‘occurrence’ and other aggregating language has been considered in some detail).

How is the number of covered occurrences determined?

UAE law does not deal in detail with the concept of causation and occurrences.


What event or events trigger insurance coverage?

This will often be defined in the insurance policy. In the absence of specific wording, under article 1026(1) of the Civil Code, the insurance is triggered if the risk or the event specified in the policy materialises. This provision has also been translated to state that the insurer’s obligations are triggered ‘upon the occurrence of the risk or event specified in the contract’.

How is insurance coverage allocated across multiple insurance policies?

In accordance with article 1042 of the Civil Code, any person who insures property or an interest with more than one insurer must notify each insurer of the other contracts of insurance, the amount of each of them and the names of the other insurers. If there are several insurers, the amount of the insurance must not exceed the value of the property or interest insured.

An insurer (specifically in respect of a fire loss) is entitled to a contribution from other insurers if there is double insurance (Civil Code, article 1043). For a non-fire loss, UAE law does not provide an express right to an equitable contribution.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the information above is accurate.

19 December 2019