Number Of Lightning Related Homeowners Insurance Claims Down Slightly In 2015, But Severity Up 7 Percent

Florida, Georgia, Texas And Louisiana Remain Top States For Lightning Claims
June 20, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

NEW YORK, June 20, 2016 — The number of homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes in the United States fell in 2015; however, the total insurers paid on those claims rose by nearly 7 percent, according to a new analysis by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).   

 

In fact, $790 million in lightning claims was paid out last year to nearly 100,000 policyholders. An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. and State Farm® found:

 

  • Total insured losses from lightning rose 6.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, although losses have declined 23.6 percent overall since 2010.
  • There were 99,423 insurer-paid lightning claims in 2015, down 0.4 percent from 2014.
  • The average lightning claim paid was 7.4 percent more than a year ago: $7,947 in 2015 vs. $7,400 a year earlier.
  • The average cost per claim rose 64 percent from 2010 to 2015. By comparison, the Consumer Price Index (an inflationary indicator that measures the change in the cost of a fixed basket of products and services, including housing, electricity, food, and transportation) rose by 9 percent in the same period.

 

“The average cost per claim is volatile from year to year,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA, vice president of Information Services and chief actuary, “but it has generally continued to rise, in part because of the enormous increase in the number and value of consumer electronics including increasingly popular home automation systems.”

 

The drop in the number of claims is consistent with data from the National Weather Service, which recorded 334 events with property damage in 2015, down from 401 such events a year earlier. There were 135 days in 2015 in which lightning caused property damage, while 128 such days were recorded in 2014. 

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE CLAIMS AND PAYOUT FOR LIGHTNING LOSSES, 2010-2015

 

Year Value of Claims ($ millions) Number of Claims Average Cost Per Claim
2010 $1,033.5 213,278 $4,846
2011 952.5 186,307 5,112
2012 969.0 151,000 6,400
2013 673.5 114,740 5,869
2014 739.0 99,871 7,400
2015 790.1 99,423 7,947
% change, 2014-2015 6.9% -0.4% 7.4%
% change, 2010-2015 -23.6% -53.4% 64.0%

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

Not surprisingly, Florida—the state with the most thunderstorms—remained the top state for lightning claims in 2015, with 11,898, followed by Georgia, Texas and Louisiana, respectively. 

TOP 10 STATES WITH ESTIMATED NUMBER AND COST OF LIGHTNING CLAIMS, 2015

 

Rank State Value of claims ($ millions) Number of Claims Average cost per claim
1 FL $156.2 11,898 $13,131
2 GA 61.0 10,442 5,844
3 TX 84.9 8,844 9,595
4 LA 24.4 5,333 4,578
5 AL 28.3 4,508 6,280
6 NC 28.8 4,226 6,810
7 PA 13.2 3,686 3,579
8 TN 24.5 3,397 7,212
9 VA 21.0 3,174 6,607
10 SC 13.7 3,163 4,318
  TOP 10 455.9 58,671 7,771
  Other 334.2 40,752 8,200
  USA 790.1 99,423 7,947

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

 

Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike.  

 

“Not only does lightning result in deadly home fires,” said Lynch, “it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.”

 

In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 19–25), the I.I.I. and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) encourage homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their homes. These systems are designed to protect the structure of your home and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. To locate a LPI-certified lightning protection system installer in your area, click here.

 

RELATED LINKS

Facts and Statistics: Lightning

Lightning Videos

Consumer Alert: The Dangers of Shoddy Lightning Protection System Installations

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

NOAA/National Weather Service

 

The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its You Tube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.

 

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