The family of insurances referred to as “Liability” are invaluable in the modern society, since they protect our “duty of care”, responsibility and legal obligations to others. Whether mandated by law or a condition of a contract, Liability insurance in its various forms is highly recommended to any business to ensure it is fully protected.

As a start-up business it is critical to consider:

  • What the law requires you to do
  • What your customers expect you to do
  • What your employees need from you
  • What your backers/financiers will want to see you do

Your insurance product portfolio should therefore address these questions and you should purchase policies that adequately cover your risks from “day one” as well as having flexibility for “future-proofing”: so that your cover can be customised as your business grows.

Employers’ Liability/Workmens’ Compensation Insurance

Any business that employs staff: whether permanent, part-time, freelance or contractors: is required to have Employers’ Liability insurance or Workmens’ Compensation insurance as it is often otherwise known. This covers you if an employee claims they sustained an injury, disease or became ill as a result of their work carried out under your instruction. Death of an employee as a result of undertaking their duties is also covered. Note that as a Liability Insurance, for any claim to be upheld against you, your negligence as an employer must be proven.

In the UAE compensation to employees is mandated under Chapter 8 of Federal Law 1980. The employer therefore has a legal obligation to pay compensation to his employee should he be found liable. Since most businesses could not afford to cover the costs of such compensation from own funds, companies are advised to take out suitable insurance to cover their exposure to potential claims.

Typical coverages provided by such policies include:

  • Occupational death: 24 months of the employee’s last remuneration prior to death with a minimum set of Dhs.18,000 and maximum of Dhs.35,000
  • Permanent Disability: percentage of Death benefits as per a specified Scale
  • Loss of Wages: cash allowance of up to 100% of salary for first 6 months followed by balance of 6 months at 50% of full salary
  • Medical expenses incurred at any Government facility or approved clinic

These policies are easy to arrange and affordable so should be at the top of your “start-up shopping list”. has access to all the leading Insurers in the UAE and can offer a range of quotes for comprehensive coverage at competitive prices.

Public & Products Liability

An unforeseen legal liability can have severe financial consequences for your business.
Public Liability Insurance is designed to protect business owners against losses associated with injury, property loss or damage incurred by members of the public, customers and/or any other third parties while on the business premises. For example, It will protect you against unforeseen incidents, such as if a customer slips and falls at your premises and suffers a broken ankle due to a loose carpet, or a visitor suffers damage to their personal property due to the environment being unkept or unsafe (ripped clothing on a damaged unsuitable chair).

Such incidents can not only be expensive in terms of the compensation payments that result but also in the damage caused reputationally. Having Public Liability shows you are a business that takes its responsibilities seriously and is therefore invaluable both tangibly and intangibly.

Like Employers’ Liability, UAE Federal Law #5 1985 under its “Civil Code” mandates that any person causing any harm or loss to another should be liable to make that harm or loss good. Therefore, whilst not mandating the insurance in itself, it is making the need for the ability to pay compulsory and since the exposure to such incidents is hard to predict or quantify, this makes the need for insurance critical.

Public Liability Insurance is easy to arrange and widely available. Cover operates on the following basis:

  • A set Limit of Liability per occurrence/incident. This means that there is in effect a maximum “ceiling” to which a claim would be paid under the Policy. Limits are generally available in bands such as from Dhs500,000, Dhs1million, Dhs2million, etc up to Dhs100,000million and you should select the cover that adequately reflects your exposure.
  • Sometimes specific contracts or customer deals will dictate the level of Public Liability you need (for example a FreeZone or Government entity). This should be considered when arranging your policy.
  • Costs for your legal defence and damages awarded by a Court will be covered.
  • Cover is on what’s known as an “occurrence basis” meaning that provided you had valid insurance in place when the incident to which the claim relates occurred, your Insurers will handle the claim. This means that even retrospective events are covered. This is particularly important in the case of Products Liability insurance which is explained below.

Products Liability Insurance

Note that Public Liability Insurance can also often be extended to include Products Liability which covers injury or damage caused by a product you have supplied which is later found to be defective (discuss with your insurance provider if this is something of relevance and interest as it is not generally an automatic coverage). Separate policies are also available and are advisable if your business is in sales, supply, distribution, design or manufacture of products.

Importantly, since cover is on an “occurrence” basis you are insured against valid claims irrespective of when they are made. For example, you supply a product in 2020 but it does not cause injury or damage to the purchaser/consumer until an incident in 2022. As you had valid insurance in 2020, the relevant Insurer for that policy year will consider the claim.


Liability insurances are invaluable to the protection of your business and as such should be on the top of your “to do” list when searching for insurance. With a wide range of products and providing Insurers, coverage is both affordable and readily available so don’t delay in contacting to discuss your needs and let us find the right policy at the right price.

About Author

Rachel Al Mughairi

About Author

With over 34 years in the international insurance industry in a variety of senior management roles, and as holder of the Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute, Rachel surely knows her insurance! With experience in London, continental Europe and the Middle East, Rachel is here to share her knowledge and help you understand more about insurance products in this easy-to-understand series of videos and blogs.