By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President – Media Relations, Insurance Information Institute
Authorities believe a lightning strike caused a home to go up in flames in the Riverview area of Florida on Friday, June 14, ironically just days before Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 23-29) commenced.
Often referred to as the lightning capital of the nation, it is no revelation that Florida ranked first for lightning caused homeowners insurance claims in 2018, with 7,108 claims, followed by Georgia (5,539) and California (4,909), a new addition to the line-up. Texas, which had ranked second in 2016, fell to fourth place (4,559).
The number of lightning-caused homeowners insurance claims decreased in 2018—the third straight year it has done so—yet the average cost per claim has soared since 2016. The I.I.I. findings, based on national insurance claims numbers, determined that more than $900 million in lightning claims were paid out in 2018 to nearly 78,000 policyholders. The cumulative value of claims caused by lightning rose six percent between 2016-2018.
With increased labor and construction costs as well as a consumer appetite for smart home products, it’s not surprising that lightning-related homeowners insurance claims costs have risen. The average cost per claim rose eight percent from 2017 to 2018. However, the average cost per claim between 2016 and 2018 increased 21 percent – a veritable bolt from the blue!