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Travel association stops insuring fatbikes over theft frequency

Due to the “extremely high” number of fatbike thefts, the Dutch travel association ANWB has temporarily stopped insuring these e-bikes with extra wide tires. The aim is to maintain the affordability of bike insurance. According to Floor van Workum, the CEO of the insurance division of ANWB, the theft rate leaves them “with no other option.”

Since the introduction of the helmet mandate at the beginning of this year for drivers and passengers using motorized scooters, the number of insured fatbikes with the ANWB has rapidly increased to around 10,000, the organization reported. On a fatbike, a helmet is not mandatory, which might explain their popularity.

While these bikes are popular, their widespread appeal comes with downsides. The ANWB noted that in certain parts of the Netherlands, the risk of theft is so high that it is not a matter of if but when the bike will be stolen. “In Amsterdam, the chance of your fatbike being stolen is 90 percent,” the association stated, as reported by NOS.

The police reported on Monday that more and more e-bikes, including fatbikes, are being stolen in the Netherlands. “We see a trend of international gangs stealing electric bikes on a large scale. The demand for these bikes is increasing, so thieves are taking care of the supply,” wrote René Middag of the National Police Mobile Banditry. He advises owners to register their e-bikes with Stop Heling, a website that can be used by buyers and sellers in the Netherlands to check whether a bicycle has been reported stolen.

As a result of this surge in thefts, the financial damage claimed against the ANWB insurance has surged to 800 percent of the premium, an ANWB spokesperson said. “This isn’t sustainable, which is why we need to take action,” he explained.

Moreover, the organization observed that many fatbike owners modify their bikes after they have purchased them, such as installing throttle controls or boosting the bike’s power. According to the ANWB, such modifications increase the likelihood of damage and hazardous traffic situations. Modified fatbikes involved in accidents resulting from these changes are not covered by liability insurance.

Van Workum described this as a “dangerous trend” that needs to be curbed. This viewpoint underpins the premise of a new fatbike insurance plan under consideration. The ANWB is now exploring if and how fatbikes might be insured differently. This includes looking at requirements for security and storage, as well as an appropriate premium.

The halt in insurance will take effect on September 6. Existing customers will be notified when their current insurance will be terminated.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/08/21/travel-association-stops-insuring-fatbikes-theft-frequency Travel association stops insuring fatbikes over theft frequency

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