Over 13 million in fireworks damage this year
The Center for Insurance Statistics (CVS) has reported that damage from fireworks to private homes and cars stands at €13 million so far, €4 million more than last year.
The CVS, a branch of the Union of Insurers said in a release today that the exact amount will probably increase, as the costs of medical treatment of victims and damage to companies and schools have not been tallied yet. The damage caused by the fires in Uden and Alkmaar is expected to surpass the damage to private buildings.
The estimate is based on the first impressions of insurers whose call centers have been receiving digital claims from insured clients since December 31.
The number so far is higher than last year despite the new measures that were introduced for the fireworks season; fireworks could only be lit after 8.00pm on December 31 and more than 35 municipalities appointed one of more areas as fireworks free zones. The dry weather at year-end probably also was of influence.
CVS said the claims range from relatively small damage caused by accidents in and around the homes, to sizeable damage to cars, rooftops and in some cases house fronts; according to the Center it was often caused by heavy, illegal fireworks. In Tilburg and The Hague this led to two house fires, in Alkmaar houses and stores burned out, in Uden two schools and in The Hague and Utrecht dozens of cars.
There were also many reports about burning garbage containers near houses and companies. Insurers also hinted at the danger of the so-called wish balloons, a new trend in fireworks that ascends but then plummets back to earth once the paper catches fire. “It increasingly causes damage to rooftops and barns,” the Union of Insurers stated.
The Union did make one positive note regarding the new measures: the Fire Department had to rush out less often, there were fewer people who disturbed the peace and the number of fireworks complaints that reached the Fireworks Nuisance hotline went down.
The Insurers Union said that the overall medical bill will likely be high. At least 574 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, according to safety firm VeiligheidNL. The organization says it is a sharp drop from last year’s celebrations, when an additional 126 were hurt.