Dutch insurance companies saw increase in house fires in 2020
Figures released by the Dutch Association of Insurers have revealed that, in 2020, the Netherlands saw a notable increase in the number of insurance claims for residential fires, but that the damage caused by said fires was actually less than was observed in 2019.
COVID-19 rules likely led to more house fires in the Netherlands
Last year, Dutch insurance companies saw 66.657 claims for damage caused by house fires, compared to the 64.879 recorded the year before. Many fires were caused by cooking incidents, smoking, or short circuits, but the emergency services also noted an increase in the number of fires caused by electrical devices and chargers.
The Dutch Association of Insurers attributes this increase to the fact that 2020 saw people spending more time at home as a result of COVID-19, not only for leisure, but also for school or to do their jobs: “Due to the coronavirus measures, a lot of people worked at home in 2020, which probably caused fires more often," says director Richard Weurding.
Risk of chargers and electronic devices causing a fire
While the number of insurance claims did increase last year, companies registered fewer expenses for covering these claims, implying that the damage caused by fires in 2020 was less than was seen in 2019 (225 million euros versus 248 million euros). The Association also attributes this to the fact that people spent more time at home, so they were able to discover the fires quicker.
Dutch fire services advise members of the public to avoiding charging mobile phones or other electronic devices in bed, or on / under duvets or pillows, to make sure to use chargers issued by the official manufacturer, and to remove devices from their charger once fully charged.