More house fires for first time in years; Work from home maybe to blame
Insurers had more work from damage claims caused by house fires last year. According to the Dutch Association of Insurers, the number of claims for residential fires increased for the first time in years. The total amount claimed, however, was lower. The Association partly attributes the increase to the fact that more people worked from home during the coronavirus crisis and caused damage there.
Last year, the Association processed 66,657 damage claims, compared to 64,879 a year earlier, ending the decline of recent years. In 2017, there were still more than 91,000 claims. The average amount of damage involved in the claims decreased from 3,822 euros to 3,377 euros, also a break in the trend. In 2017, the average amount per claim was 2,159 euros.
Last year, insurers spent a total of 225 million euros to settle fire damage claims, compared to 248 million euros a year earlier.
Relatively speaking, the provinces of Overijssel, Noord-Brabant, and Limburg registered the most claims. There, an average of 11 per 1,000 homes filed a fire damage claim. Often "human actions, short circuits, and work" were the causes of the fire. As in previous years, most claims came in around New Year's.
In response to the new figures, director Rob Baardse of the Dutch Burns Foundation said that fire is responsible for a third of the patients in the three Dutch Burn Centers in Groningen, Beverwijk, and Rotterdam. According to him, two-thirds of these get injured in a burn accident in the home. "We see that modern furniture and rechargeable appliances are causing more intense and dangerous fires than in the past."
From 1 July next year, it will be mandatory to install smoke detectors in every home in the Netherlands. The Dutch Fire Brigade believes that this can help to detect fires at an early stage. But according to the organization, that means that smoke detectors must work and hang in the right place, which is not the case everywhere.
Reporting by ANP