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Volatile US lightning claim costs decline to $1.9 billion

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US insurers paid out $US1.31 billion ($1.89 billion) in lightning-caused homeowner claims last year, dropping from $US2.06 billion ($3 billion) in the previous 12 months.

The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) says the average cost per lightning-related claim fell 25% to $US28,885 ($41,595) despite a rise in the average cost over the five-year period ending 2021.

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

The outsized 2020 number nationwide was caused in part by California fires sparked by lightning.

Florida, the state with the most thunderstorms, ranked highest for the number of lightning claims last year, with 5339, followed by Texas, Georgia, and California. California, which had 3381 lightning claims, had the highest average cost per claim at $US154,574. ($222,588).

Triple-I released the figures to coincide with National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which ran from June 19-25. The week was started in 2001 to reduce the number of US lightning-caused fatalities.