Lightning Claim Costs Continue to Rise; Surging Electronics Prices, Product Shortages, Partly to Blame
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, June 21, 2012 — While deadly tornadoes have already caused destruction in several states this year, intense lightning storms have also taken their toll throughout the United States. In fact, lightning strikes cost nearly $1 billion in insured losses in 2011, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Another reason behind the increased claim costs may be due to a spike in consumer electronics prices. Product shortages in 2011 through the first quarter of 2012 from places such as Thailand and Japan, which were affected by supply chain issues, may have also contributed to the increased claim costs.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE CLAIMS AND PAYOUT FOR LIGHTNING LOSSES, 2004-2011
Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard homeowners and business insurance policies. Some home and business insurance policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike. There is also coverage for lightning damage under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.
Reducing the Risk of Lightning Damage
In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 24-30), consider the following tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to protect your home or business against lightning.
- Have a lightning protection system installed for your home or business.
- Be sure the lightning protection system is designed and installed in accordance with accepted industry standards and with National Fire Protection Association, Lightning Protection Institute and UL requirements.
- Include protection for electrical, telephone, cable or satellite TV lines entering the structure.
- Make sure all equipment is UL-listed and properly labeled.
Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system neither attracts nor repels a strike, but receives the stroke and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. Investment in a lightning protection system will protect your personal or organization’s investment in its property and equipment.
Do’s and Don’ts for Lightning Safety
- Treat lightning with proper caution. If you are outside and a thunderstorm approaches, immediately seek shelter inside, in a home, large building or substantial, fully enclosed building, all preferably protected with a lightning protection system.
- If a building is not available, take shelter in a car with a metal top and keep doors and windows closed.
- If caught outdoors, try to minimize your risk by going to a place of lower elevation.
- Certain locations are extremely hazardous during thunderstorms. Avoid lakes, beaches or open water; fishing from a boat or dock; and riding on golf carts, farm equipment, motorcycles or bicycles. Take shelter in tunnels, subways, even ditches or caves if necessary—never under a tree!
- To avoid side flashes (voltage from a nearby struck object) stay clear of fences or isolated trees. Keep away from telephone poles, power lines, pipelines or other electrically conductive objects.
- Stay off the telephone. In your home, do not stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay away from the TV, plumbing, sinks, tubs, radiators and stoves. Avoid contact with small electric appliances such as radios, toasters and hairdryers.
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org