Smoke billows from the Tamweel Tower in JLT after a fire broke out in the building on Sunday. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: The number of people seeking to buy home contents insurance in Dubai has soared by about 2,000 per cent since this week’s fire that ripped through a tower in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers district.

Home insurance has been a hard sell for many providers in the UAE, but this week Axa Insurance Gulf and Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) Middle East, confirmed to Gulf News that they have noticed a massive spike in insurance enquiries and sales since Sunday.

In the last few days since the incident, Axa’s website registered a 1,900 per cent increase in home insurance enquiries and a 1,050 per cent increase in the number of policies sold.

“We have the same trend at our call centre this week [where] we did ten times more quotes than last week and we have sold three times more policies than last week,” said Alexis de Beauregard, chief officer, marketing and retail product offering at Axa Insurance Gulf.

RSA Middle East has seen a similar bump in sales. “We have noticed a 2,000 per cent increase in home insurance quotations for the last two days with a conversion rate of 53 per cent,” said Nilanjana Ghosh, head of marketing and communications at RSA Middle East on Tuesday.

Industry sources said the sales spike is a “knee-jerk reaction” to the fire incident and is unlikely to continue after a couple of days.

“It’s the biggest fire we’ve seen in Dubai in recent years and it seems to have heightened everyone’s awareness on the need to insure their valuables against any eventuality,” says another source at an insurance company.

The need to insure personal belongings is one that most residents ignore. Hundreds of tenants have been left homeless in the recent spate of fires that destroyed several flats across the country.

De Beauregard said the penetration rate of home insurance in the UAE only stands at around five per cent “due to lack of awareness and understanding of who needs to cover what.”

“The clear message from the [recent] tragedy is that tenants understood that landlord’s insurance does not cover tenants at all. Therefore, we have seen a very strong increase in the last days in the number of quotes and number of policies sold on our website,” De Beauregard said.

A recent study by Souqalmal.com, a financial products comparison website, claimed that 86 per cent of the country’s residents are without home contents insurance. “While 95 per cent of those surveyed claimed to see the value in insuring the contents of their home, 10 per cent claimed they did not know how to get contents insurance,” Souqalmal.com said.