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NEW YORK, June 22, 2015 — The number of insurance claims from lightning strikes in the United States continued its steady decline, as severe thunderstorm activity eased from near-record levels and dry weather prevailed throughout much of the western half of the country. Despite fewer storms, insurers still paid $739 million in lightning claims to nearly 100,000 policyholders in 2014, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Total insured losses from lightning were up 9.7 percent from 2013, though overall incurred losses between 2010 and 2014 are still down 28.5 percent.
An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. and State Farm® found there were 99,871 insurer-paid lightning claims in 2014, down 13 percent from 2013. Yet the average lightning paid-claim amount was up 26 percent, from $5,869 in 2013 to $7,400 in 2014.
The drop in the number of claims is consistent with data from the National Weather Service, which recorded 127 days in 2014 in which lightning caused property damage, while 137 such days were recorded in 2013.
“The incidence of lightning claims last year is a continuation of a downward trend,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA, Director of Information Services and Chief Actuary at the I.I.I. “Since 2010, the number of paid lightning claims is down more than 53 percent. The sustained decline in the number of claims may be attributed to an increased use of lightning protection systems, technological advances, better lightning protection and awareness of lightning safety—as well as to fewer storms.”
“While this is good news for homeowners, lightning is still an extremely costly weather-related event,” warned Lynch.