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American lightning strike losses rise

US insurers paid more than $US1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for lightning-related damage to homes last year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The institute says the total was up more than 30% from $US950 million ($1.43 billion) in 2022.

“Severe convective storms are among the most common, most damaging natural catastrophes in the US,” it said. “The result of warm, moist air rising from the earth, they manifest in various ways, depending on atmospheric conditions – from drenching thunderstorms with lightning, to tornadoes, hail or destructive straight-line winds.”

The institute says the number of lightning claims increased 13.8% between 2022 and last year, from 62,189 to 70,787, with 19 states accounting for more than half the total.

Texas recorded $US194 million ($292 million) of claims last year and had the highest average cost per claim at $US41,654 ($62,795).

Florida, the state with the most thunderstorms, had the highest number of claims, at 6003.