Theft wave hits insurance premiums

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Insurance companies are likely to start boosting premiums, after tens of thousands of Norwegians have had their homes and cars broken into during the past year. Organized criminal bands are now also resorting to new and bold means of stealing cars.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports that an estimated 100,000 Norwegians have had their homes and holiday properties broken into during the past three years. That’s led to record-high compensation being paid out by the insurance companies, according to fresh statistics from their trade association, Finansnæringens Fellesorganisasjon (FNO).

An overview of average premiums during the second quarter shows that prices for homeowners’ insurance, for example, are moving up. That will come in addition to the NOK 4,000 deductibles (about USD 650) that most insurance customers also must pay when they’re the victim of burglary or theft.

“Compensation claims in connection with break-ins have risen 65 percent in recent years,” Leif Osland of FNO told DN. He said that given a parallel increase in compensation for fire and water damage, “it’s natural that premiums increase.”

Home burglaries have soared during the past year, car-owners are finding their windows smashed with increasing regularity and now the thieves are using new methods to steal the cars themselves, reports newspaper Aftenposten.

Frustrated by advanced car alarms and devices that prevent a car from being started without its key, the thieves are breaking into people’s homes during the night, stealing the car keys and driving off with the Mercedes, Volvos or other cars parked in the driveway.

One family living in Bærum, just west of Oslo, woke up in the morning to find that intruders had been in their home during the night and their Volvo SUV was gone. The thieves also snatched a portable computer and a new flat-screen TV.

The Arvesen family was lucky, however. A bulletin went out internationally about the theft and police in Germany stopped the Lithuanian driver of the Arvesen’s car just before it crossed the border into Poland. Both the Lithuanian and the car were shipped back to Norway, where he faces a year in prison.

One of his accomplices has also been convicted of stealing a Mercedes worth NOK 2 million that was recovered in Sweden. Police say around 30 families in Asker and Bærum have had their cars stolen after intruders broke into their homes to stole their keys.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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