Fire insurance made mandatory for multistory properties

While the rule is currently binding only in the Northern Governorate, Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf has the authority to extend it nationwide.

With the insurance, the government would no longer have to shoulder the costs of providing temporary shelter to those forced to leave their homes as a result of a fire, a gas leak or other incidents. Such cases are currently referred to the Labour and Social Development Ministry, which provides temporary shelter and living expenses.

National Municipal Grievances Committee chairman Yousif Al Ghatam said, “All expenses related to fires and emergencies would be covered by insurance companies, not the government.”

Northern Municipal Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood said that in an ideal world home insurance would be made compulsory across the board, similar to car insurance. However, he claimed, it is not feasible to impose it on all private homeowners since the policies were too expensive for many.

“Bahraini families can’t pay BHD40 (US$106) a month for basic policies,” he said.

“But for landlords renting out apartments, the rule is excellent.

“It should be part of their obligations to secure their buildings and follow safety requirements, which the Interior Ministry and insurance companies will oblige them to do.”

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