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7/27/2012 - Insurance officials point to technology as reason for increased lightning claim costs


Advanced electronics are blamed for higher lightning claim costs.

With statistics indicating that the number of homeowners insurance claims resulting from lightning fell in 2011 but the cost per claim rose, the Insurance Information Institute has found why this was likely the case.

Loretta Worters, vice president of the III, indicated insurance claim costs have edged higher primarily because more people have state-of-the-art entertainment technology in their homes.

"Plasma and high-definition television sets, home entertainment centers, multiple computer households, smart phones, gaming systems and other expensive devices - which can all be destroyed by power surges - continue to have a significant impact on claims losses," said Worters.

Something else that may have had an impact on the cost of claims is the prices of those consumer electronics. The III notes that due to supply chain issues in the Far East - the part of the world where most electronics are built - producers were forced to raise prices last year to balance out supply and demand. That caused replacement costs to rise.

The average cost per lightning insurance claim in 2011 was $5,112. The last time lightning claims were north of $5,000 was in 2007, when they averaged $5,321, III statistics indicate.

To learn more, click here to read the report on III.org.

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