The cost of insurance claims for lightning strikes nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011, even as the number of claims shrank dramatically, and an industry trade group says fancy new TVs and videogame consoles are to blame.
The Insurance Information Institute said the increased use of lightning protection equipment in homes was responsible for the decline in the number of claims. From 2004 to 2011, the number of paid claims fell 33 percent. Yet even with the decline in total claims, the average cost per claim rose 93 percent to $5,112 over that period.
One of the biggest culprits, the I.I.I. said, was the increased home use of electronics like flat-screen TVs, computers and videogame consoles, all of which are susceptible to power surges related to lightning strikes.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, from 2007 to 2011 shipments of consumer electronics rose 15 percent.
Replacement costs are also on the rise, according to the I.I.I., in part because last year’s earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand disrupted many companies’ supply chains, leading to shortages and price increases.
The National Lightning Detection Network recorded nearly 23.4 million lightning flashes nationwide in 2011.