The data also shows Zurich paid AED273m ($80m, £57m, €65.5m) in critical illness and life cover claims, up 20% from the period January 2014 to December 2016.
However, according to Zurich, many claimants were under-insured, with two-thirds of death claims and 81% of critical illness claims under $200,000.
Most (80%) life claimants were under the age of 60.
“Since publishing our claims statistics in 2011, we have seen a steady increase in critical illness and life cover claims,” said Rohan Chittal, Zurich Middle East’s chief underwriter and head of claims.
“This reflects the demographic shifts in health within the region with an increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, tobacco use and heart disease in this region.
“The average age for customers claiming for critical illness was 48 and the average age for death claims was 50, meaning these individuals and their (young) families were being affected in the prime productive years of their lives.
“If we assume our customers were to retire at 65, that’s 15 years of a loss or reduction in earnings. This highlights the need for protection and the valuable role insurance can play in the financial protection of our customer’s families and businesses.”
Zurich said it paid out 94% of life cover claims and 93% of critical illness claims over the period.