UAE Central Bank Regulates Insurance Disputes with Sanadak

UAE Central Bank Regulates Insurance Disputes with Sanadak

The Board of Directors of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates issued recently Administrative Resolution No. 10-A/1/2024 (“Resolution”) on the Jurisdiction, Powers, Work System, and Fees of the Committees for Settling and Resolving Insurance Disputes. The Resolution provides for the formation of permanent committees (“Committees or Committee”) to settle and resolve insurance disputes. Each Committee consists of a chief judge, a member judge, and one or more experts to be selected by the Central Bank, and the Committee’s members are subject to all the controls and obligations applicable to judges. The Committees shall hold their sessions in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi as well as in Dubai, as for the rest of the emirates, place of holding the sessions will be determined as the public interest requires, and they may hold the sessions virtually as per the rules and system approved by Sanadak.

The Committees conduct its operations in accordance with the regulations set by Sanadak, which is the Insurance and Banking Disputes Settlement Unit at the Central Bank, and it is considered the first independent regulator to have a legal personality and aims at improving the consumer protection mechanisms and resolving complaints arising from transactions concluded with licensed financial institutions and insurance companies.

Insurance complaints should be submitted to Sanadak which shall receive the complaint’s documents, verify them to make sure that they meet the requirements set by Sanadak’s system, then refers them to the Committees. Sanadak also prepares a quarterly report on the results of following-up of the Committees’ activities to presents them to the Governor of the Central Bank and keeps a proper record of the complaints’ files. However, if Sanadak requires clarifications from the defendant with respect to the complaint, such clarifications must be provided through the Sanadak’s E-system within five working days. The complainant may object to the clarifications provided by the defendant and request the referral of the dispute to the Committee, Sanadak will then refer it to the concerned Committee within five working days. The complainant will be notified of the complaint referral data such as its number, date of referral, and the appointed Committee.

The Resolution confirms that the Committees are responsible for settling and resolving insurance disputes of all types of insurance arising from complaints of the insured, beneficiaries, or affected persons who have the capacity or interest to the insurance policy, filed against the instance company only. The committee will try resolving the insurance dispute amicably, and if it does not reach an amicable solution, it commences the procedures of adjudicating the dispute.

The Committees shall have no jurisdiction to consider summary petitions, provisional seizure, insurance disputes filed with the courts prior to the effective date of this system at any litigation level, claims among professions related to insurance and insurance companies, and insurance disputes that are subject to arbitration, or in case of legal subrogation of insurance company.

Furthermore, the Resolution clarified that Committees may reject the insurance dispute in certain cases such as if the dispute was previously resolved, if the complainant failed to pay the expert’s fees, the Committee lacks the jurisdiction to consider the complaint, the requirements for submitting a complaint have not been fulfilled, or in case of lack of capacity of either of the parties to the dispute.

The sessions of considering the complaints can be conducted physically or virtually. The Committee shall decide on the complaint within 20 working days of receiving all the documents, and it may extend this period for similar ones. According to the Resolution, the complaint’s parties shall be notified of the Committee’s decision by registered mail, through a service company licensed by the relevant authorities, by email, or through the remote communication. The decision shall be treated as an execution writ in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws.

The Resolution also referred to the fees of disputes stating that, a fee of 4% of the value of the claim shall be charged for fixed-value disputes, that the  minimum amount is AED 100/- and the maximum amount is AED 30,000/- . As for disputes of unspecified value, a fixed fee of AED 3000/- shall be charged. However, Federal Law No. 13 of 2016 on Judicial Fees of Federal Courts shall apply to any matter that has not been dealt with by a special provision in this Resolution.

The Resolution further clarifies that the Case Management Office will manage the complaints. i.e. estimating and collecting fees prescribed for them in the law, registering and serving complaints, summoning parties, instructing the defendant to submit a response within a period not exceeding five working days from the date of service.

According to the Resolution, the Chairman of the Committee and any of its members are prohibited from participating in the work of the Committee when considering any dispute in which he has a direct or indirect interest or relationship, and he must step down if this happens. If he does not step down, though such situation exists, he will be recused by a decision of the Sanadak’s Board of Directors

The Resolution also refers to the attendance of the sessions and stressed that if the complainant failed to attend a session which he has been notified of, without an acceptable excuse, the committee may, on its own or upon the request of the defendant, determine the dispute if it is ready for a decision, or order deleting it off. If the dispute is deleted, the complainant still has the right to re-register it within a period of no more than 30 days. However, if the defendant failed to attend the session without an acceptable excuse, the committee may, on its own or upon the complainant’s request, determine the dispute if it is ready for a decision.

The Resolution also provided for that any documents not drafted in Arabic language must be translated by a certified legal translator, and that the documents issued outside the United Arab Emirates should be duly attested by the competent authorities inside and outside United Arab Emirates.

This Resolution came into force from the date of its publication in the official gazette save for the provisions of the fees of disputes, they will come into force from 1 May 2024.

The author of this Galadari insight is Abdul Hameed Beltagi.

Abdul Hameed is a Legal Consultant and Head of Litigation at Galadari Advocates and Legal Consultants in Abu Dhabi. Due to the substantial amount of time and experience gained by practicing law in the UAE, Abdul Hameed has acquired many important skills and a reliable source of knowledge that aid him in providing top quality services and results.

For more information, please feel free to contact him at:

Abdul Hameed Beltagi
Senior Associate