News and Press

Lightning Proves to Be a Major Cause of Damage Reported in Alabama

In 2013, the second highest number of losses reported for Alabama’s state properties were related to damage from lightning strikes.  On average, lightning accounts for 34% of state property claims resulting in over a million dollars in damage annually.

When considering safety of individuals, lightning causes more casualties annually in the U.S. than any other storm related phenomena, except floods.  Many people incur injuries or are killed due to misinformation or inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms.  DORM’s loss control department recommends taking the following precautions to reduce dangers posed by lightning.

How to avoid lightning exposure:

1.       No place is absolutely safe from the lightning threat, however, some places are safer than others.

2.       Large enclosed structures tend to be much safer than smaller or open structures. The risk for lightning injury depends on whether the building incorporates lightning protection, construction materials used, and the size of the building.

3.       In general, fully enclosed vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, vans, etc. with the windows rolled up provide the best shelter from lightning.

4.       Places to avoid include high places and open fields, isolated trees, unprotected gazebos, rain or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers, convertibles, golf carts and bodies of water.

5.       Avoid using the telephone or other electrical appliances until the storm passes.

6.       Lightning threats continue well after a thunderstorm passes. Strikes can occur even in sunny skies.

7.       To protect buildings, apply the benefits of Faraday Cage (lightning rod) concepts where possible...employ multiple downconductors/structural steel/rebar/metal stud walls/wire mesh/etc. into the shielding design.

8.       Bond all buried and overhead building entry penetrations such as utility pipes, service ducts, etc. to the Faraday Cage or to an equivalent ground electrode system at the building entry.

9.       Employ a buried ground ring and/or Ufer ground where practical. Use thermal welds on all below-ground connections. Assure that buried grounds are directed away from exterior assets.

To further protect state properties from lightning damage, a lightning safety engineer can provide location-specific recommendations to reduce lightning consequences.  

The Division of Risk Management (DORM) offers a 5% premium credit for the scheduled structures if a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) lightning protection system approved by DORM is installed on the building premises.  Check with the underwriter assigned to your region for more information on this. 

How to Report Damage to State Properties from Lighting Strikes:

Call our claims department at (334) 223-6120 or visit our website: to fill out a Lightning Affidavit form.  Claims should be reported as soon as possible.