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State Farm paid out $137 million in lightning damage claims last year


June 24, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter


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State Farm paid out $137 million in claims as a result of damage from lightning strikes last year the insurer reported Tuesday, adding that lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in Canada and the United States, behind flooding.

In 2013, the insurer paid out $800,000 for 110 lightning claims in Canada, with an average of $7,000 per claim.

Claims in Ontario reached $650,327, while New Brunswick saw claims of $95,009. Claims in Alberta reached $59, 679.

“Approximately 5000 insurance claims are estimated to be filed in Canada for lightning related property damage (excluding fires) each year,” State Farm noted.

“Fires caused by lightning represent 45% of all fires, with fire agencies responding to over 800 wildfires each year caused by lightning.”

Related: Number of home damage claims from lightning in the U.S. on decline as dry weather persists

According to Environment Canada, there are between nine and 10 lightning-related deaths and up to 164 lightning-related injuries every year, with July being the most deadly month, State Farm also noted. The majority (85%) of lightning victims are children and young men between the ages of 10 and 35 engaged in recreation or work, the insurer added.

To help mitigate damage and stay safe, State Farm recommends:

  • For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home or an externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire.
  • Unplug electronic equipment when you know a lightning storm is approaching and/or install additional surge protection for your computers and expensive electronic components.
  • 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 it and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. Be sure the lightning protection system is designed and installed in accordance with accepted industry standards.