La. ranks third in U.S. for lightning claims

Staff Report

Your chance of getting struck by lightning in Louisiana appears to be on the rise. State Farm® ranks the state 3rd in the nation according to the number of State Farm insurance related lightning claims in 2015. The state moves up one spot from the previous year of 4th place. State Farm reports paying out more than $6.3 million dollars on 1,391 lightning claims across the state of Louisiana in 2015. The average cost per claim was about $4,600. The state of Georgia led the nation with the most lightning claims.

State Farm is releasing the lightning claim numbers at the start of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week which is June 19 to June 25.

June, July, and August are the times of year when lightning is most frequent. “Despite this, there are ways to reduce your chances of striking out with a lightning loss,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. Whether you are outside during a storm, or presumably safe at home, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of being hit by lightning.

Protect yourself

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 landline/wired telephones and utilize a cell phone if necessary. 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.

Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.

Make sure all equipment is UL-listed and properly labeled.

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 the strike 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.

Top 10 states for number of paid lighting claims, 2015

1. Georgia, 2718 claims totaling $15,883,289

2. Texas, 1789 claims totaling $17,165,170

3. Louisiana, 1391 claims totaling $6,368,311

4. Alabama, 1264 claims totaling $7,938,262

5. Illinois, 916 claims totaling $5,785,469

6. Tennessee, 791 claims totaling $5,704.605

7. Florida, 774 claims totaling $10,163,753

8. Missouri, 763 claims totaling $4,824,721

9. North Carolina, 750 claims totaling $5,107,381

10. Arkansas, 721 claims totaling $6,121,688