Lightning Caused $1.3 Billion In U.S. Homeowners Claim Payouts In 2021; Supply Chain Issues Exacerbate Losses – InsuranceNewsNet

Date:


NEW YORK, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — More than $1 billion in lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims were paid out in 2021 to 60,000-plus policyholders, with 40 percent of that figure ($523 million) attributable to California alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I.).   



More than $1 billion in lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims were paid out in 2021.

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Based on national insurance claims data compiled to coincide with Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 19-25), the Triple-I found:

  • The total value of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims was down more than 36 percent in 2021 ($1.31 billion) from 2020 ($2.06 billion)
  • The number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims decreased by more than 15 percent between 2020 and 2021, continuing its downward trend from 2017 with a decrease of more than 28 percent from 85,000 to 60,000-plus   
  • The average cost per lightning-caused claim decreased 25 percent from 28,885 in 2020 to 21,578 in 2021
  • Despite steady decreases over a five-year period (2017-2021) in the number of lightning-caused homeowners insurance claims, the average cost per claim is up 100% in this same timeframe ($10,781 to $21,578)

“The average cost per claim is volatile from year to year,” said Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Triple-I, “but it has been particularly high in the past two years because of lightning fires throughout the country.”

The outsized 2020 insured loss payout number nationwide was caused in part by California’s CZU August Lightning Complex fire, which was sparked by lightning.  The multiple blazes impacted Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties and caused at least one fatality. Alaska is currently fighting a wildfire in the southwest part of the state due to lightning. 

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE CLAIMS AND PAYOUTS FOR LIGHTNING LOSSES, 2017-2021

                        Year

Value of Claims
($ millions)

Number of Claims

Average Cost Per
Claim

2017

916.6

85,020

10,781

2018

908.9

77,898

11,668

2019

920.1

76,860

11,971

2020

2,066.7

71,551

28,885

2021

1,313.1

60,851

21,578

% change, 2020-2021

-36.5 %

-15.0 %

-25,3 %

% change, 2017-2021

43.3 %

-28.4 %

100.1 %

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

“Not only does lightning result in deadly fires,” said Worters, “it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures, and the electrical foundation of a home.  The resulting damage may be far more significant than a homeowner realizes. Delays in supply chain are also sending appliances and electronics prices higher.”

Florida – the state with the most thunderstorms – remained the top state for the highest number of lightning claims in 2021, with 5,339, followed by Texas, Georgia and California, respectively. California, which had 3,381 lightning claims, had the highest average cost per claim at $154,574.

TOP 10 STATES WITH ESTIMATED NUMBER AND COST OF LIGHTNING CLAIMS, 2021

Rank

State

Value of
claims
($ millions)

Number
of
Claims

Average
cost per
claim

1

FL

$88.3

5,339

$16,552

2

TX

95.2

4,490

21,206

3

GA

43.8

3,817

11,492

4

CA

522.6

3,381

154,574

5

NY

45.1

2,426

18,592

6

PA

34.0

2,410

14,134

7

NC

36.8

2,377

15,522

8

LA

28.0

2,372

11,817

9

AL

29.3

2,276

12,906

10

MI

26.9

1,887

14,291

TOP 10
States

$950.4

30,775

$30,885

All Other
States

$362.5

30,076

$12,055

TOTAL U.S.

$1313.0

60,851

$21,578

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

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

RELATED LINKS
Facts and StatisticsLightning
Video: National Lighting Safety Awareness Week (June 19-25, 2022)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
National Weather Service: Lightning Safety Tips and Resources

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SOURCE Insurance Information Institute





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