Monday 17 May 2021

Latest Groningen earthquake triggers nearly 3000 insurance claims

A condemned and shored-up cafe in Zeerijp. Photo: Graham Dockery

Nearly 3,000 insurance claims have been lodged for damage to property in the week since last Monday’s earthquake in Groningen.

The quake, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale, was the largest in five years to hit the northern province, where decades of gas extraction have triggered an increase in seismic activity.

The regional Centre for Residential Safety said 2,000 claims had been received by Thursday, including 62 in which the claimants said the damage was so severe that they felt unsafe in their homes. By Monday morning the number had risen to 2,912, NOS reported.

The process for handling claims has stalled since last April because of a dispute over whether householders or the NAM – the company that operates gas drilling in Groningen – should carry the burden of proof in assessing insurance claims.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said last week that he wanted a new claims protocol to be drawn up within weeks to put an end to the impasse. Until now the NAM was responsible for processing and paying out insurance claims, but economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes has pledged to set up an independent body to oversee the process.

More than 100,000 people in Groningen have reported earthquake-related damage to their homes and the total repair bill has exceeded €1 billion.

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