Smart homes are making lightning hits more expensive

Florida leads the nation for lightning -- again

Lightning (Pixlr)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida has been on top of all other states for lightning strikes by density for the past five years.

According to Vaisala’s Global Lightning Dataset network, Florida had 244 total lightning events per square mile in 2019.

Storms typically develop over land on hot days as the sea breeze pushes inland, putting many homes at risk for lightning strikes.

Vaisala Measured lightning by density per km2 in 2019 normalizes lightning data across an equal measurement rather than simply comparing the total land mass of states, which vary greatly across the U.S. (Vaisala)

For the second consecutive year, the number of homeowners insurance lightning claims decreased in 2019.

Unfortunately, the average cost per claim has increased 11% between 2017 and 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

Why is lightning costing more money?

According to James Lynch, chief actuary and senior vice president of Research and Education at the Triple-I: “Homes are more susceptible to lightning damage because electronic systems have become more interconnected – think Smart Homes – which have an easy gateway to much of a home’s electronic network, damaging scores of devices and appliances at once.”

Lynch added the average cost per claim rose 2.6% from 2018 to 2019.

“However, the average cost per claim between 2017 and 2019 increased 11%,” he said.

Lightning vs. insurance claims

Of the nearly 217 million lightning events detected in 2019 by Vasalia’s ground-based sensors, most were in the clouds. At least 13,049,687 were cloud-to-ground strokes, resulting in 6,821 lightning insurance claims in 2019.

Flashes over the ocean are larger, brighter and last longer than flashes over land, but they are less common compared to more frequent bolts over land.

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