Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Lightning capital Florida is an expensive state for getting zapped

Everyone knows Florida is the lightning capital of the country.

But what's really striking is how much more insurance companies had to shell out for lightning claims in Florida last year compared with the rest of the country.

Each lightning claim in the state cost $13,131 on average, according to an analysis from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm. None of the other lightning-rod states came close.

In Georgia, second to Florida in overall lightning cases, it cost $5,844 per claim in 2015, about a third of the Sunshine/Storm State.

Out of the top 10 lightning-prone states, the average claim was $7,771, but only because of outlier Florida driving up that number. The second-most-expensive state was Texas at $9,595 per claim, or 27 percent less.

Combine the most lightning claims with the highest payouts and it led to $156 million in total claims here.

Jim Lynch, chief actuary and a vice president at the insurance institute, cautioned Floridians against worrying about a link between high claims and rate shock, however. He called 2015 a highly unusual year.

Typically, the state is more in line with the national average for payouts. In 2014, for instance, the average Florida claim was $7,075, just under the national average of $7,400. What likely happened in 2015, Lynch said, is that a handful of large claims skewed the results.

Still, Florida has been riding a trend of generally higher insurance payouts across the country. The average cost per claim rose 64 percent from 2010 to 2015, sharply more than the 9 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index over the same period.

"The average cost per claim is volatile from year to year," Lynch said, "but it has generally continued to rise, in part because of the enormous increase in the number and value of consumer electronics, including increasingly popular home automation systems."

That's why the overall tab for insurers to pay lightning claims rose 7 percent last year even as the total number of lightning claims fell by 7 percent.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18