Striking State Farm® data shows $137 million in claims as a result of damage from lightning strikes
Aurora, Ontario. June 26, 2014 – Lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in Canada and the United States, exceeded only by floods. In 2013, State Farm paid $137 million in claims as a result of damage from lightning strikes.
More than $800,000 was paid out for over 110 State Farm lightning claims in Canada. Ontario led the way at $650,327, New Brunswick reported $95,009, and Alberta had $59,679. That's an average of $7,000 per claim.
Approximately 5000 insurance claims are estimated to be filed in Canada for lightning related property damage (excluding fires) each year. Fires caused by lightning represent 45% of all fires, with fire agencies responding to over 800 wildfires each year caused by lightning.
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. In fact, 85% of lightning victims are children and young men ages 10-35 engaged in recreation or work. To prevent death or injury, the Lightning Protection Institute advises the following:
- Treat lightning with proper caution. If you are outside and a thunderstorm approaches, immediately seek shelter inside a fully enclosed building.
- If a building is not available, take shelter in a car with a metal top and keep doors and windows closed.
- Certain locations are extremely hazardous during thunderstorms. Avoid lakes, beaches or open water; fishing from a boat or dock; and riding on golf carts, farm equipment, motorcycles or bicycles. Never seek shelter under a tree!
- If caught outdoors, try to minimize your risk by going to a place of lower elevation.
- Stay off the telephone. In your home, do not stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay away from the TV, plumbing, sinks, tubs, radiators and stoves. Avoid contact with small electric appliances such as radios, toasters and hairdryers.
Protect Your Home or Business
- 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.
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About State Farm
State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm and its affiliates are the fourth largest auto insurance provider, and the seventh largest property and casualty insurer in Canada. In addition to providing affordable car insurance rates, State Farm has more than 525 Canadian agents and 1300 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit statefarm.ca®, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or see us on YouTube.