DUBAI: An insurance company lost a claim case to recover $340 million it paid to Emaar properties for losses resulting from the fire that broke out at the Address Downtown hotel during the 2016 New Year’s celebrations.
Orient Insurance, part of UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group, had paid Emaar $340 million as part of a settlement for the massive fire that engulfed the 63-storey hotel.
After making the payment in 2018, Orient Insurance filed a civil lawsuit at Dubai Courts requesting contractors who worked on the design, construction and maintenance of the hotel to pay back the amount.
It blamed the contractors for the spread of the blaze due to their failure to follow fire safety requirements in the construction process.
However, a seven-member expert committee appointed by the court concluded that the fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit on a spotlight used to illuminate the building, according to legal documents.
Mohamed ElGhatit from OGH Legal, which is representing ALEC Engineering and Construction, one of the contractors in the case, told Arab News that the findings of the committee confirmed there were no errors in the building’s construction.
“Therefore, the claim that the fire was the contractors’ fault was false,” ElGhatit said.
The case involved leading contractors including Belhasa JV, Arabtec, Atkins, ALEC Engineering and Construction, Mirage and GAJ.
The ruling can be appealed within 60 days.
On New Year's celebrations for 2016, a massive fire engulfed part of the luxury hotel in Dubai, near where revellers from all over the world had gathered to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
Dubai Police later attributed the fire to an electrical fault that caused major damages to the building.
* Mohamed ElGhatit from OGH Legal has clarified the claim case amounted to $340 million and not $435 million.