GroundLinx Gradiance™ systems can:
significantly reduce property lines claims exposure.
be an ideal loss prevention tool.
become an incentive device for premium adjustment marketing.
The monetary costs of lightning damage claims are quite striking. Nationwide, in the 3 year period of 2014-2016, residential policy holders were paid on over 308,000 claims for lightning damage totaling $2.36 billion. That equates to an average of $7,637 per claim, and represents a 77% increase in average claim amount since a $4,296 per claim level was seen in 2008. As can be seen in the information section below, this increase is not simply the result of price inflation, but is instead driven by a variety of important considerations.
The “Big Three” states for lightning damage claims over the last decade have generally been Florida, Georgia, and Texas. For the same period as above, from 2014-2016, these three states saw nearly 85,000 claims paid (27% of the 50-state total) for in excess of $700 million, averaging $8,498 per claim.
Florida is perennially the run-away winner in the Lightning Derby: During the 2014-2016 period, Florida residential policy holders made about 33,000 claims (10.6% of the national total), receiving nearly $298 million (12.7% of national total) for incurred lightning damage.⁴
Although grounding/earthing has been known for centuries to be a critical element in preventing losses for insured property and structures, costs to insurers for lightning damage continue to increase substantially, and well beyond increases in the general price level or median home value.
The reasons for this are quite simple:
Homes and businesses contain a rapidly increasing variety of expensive electronic equipment for an ever-widening range of uses – all of which contain circuitry that is very sensitive to electric current anomalies.
For residential electric service, the National Electric Code (US-NEC) makes no requirement for low resistance grounding and resistance testing of multiple ground-rod installations. The NEC only stipulates if one ground rod is used, resistance-to-ground must be below 25 Ohms. No resistance level is specified for grounding when more than one rod is used. Hence, electricians simply install two rods – frequently without performance measurement equipment – and yet meet code requirements.
Lightning that can’t find a sufficiently low-resistance route to ground when striking on or near a home will inevitably enter the electrical system and discover all possible routes to ground. Electrical devices, or in extreme cases, the actual structure of a home becomes the path to ground, often resulting in catastrophic fires.
Higher housing density has become very common in rapidly growing urban centers. When lightning strikes a very dense subdivision, several structures can incur damages from a single discharge.
Home prices continue to increase. The median price of a house in the United States is now well over $315,000. (US Census data.) With over 4000 structure fires occurring every year due only to lightning strikes, resulting in payment of over $450 million to homeowners annually,⁵ claims cost are sure to continue rising.
Given these conditions, it would seem entirely reasonable for insurance carriers, policy holders, and regulators to:
Evaluate the best prevention for lightning damage – that being greatly improved electrical system grounding/earthing,
Explore subrogation routes where incentives for improved grounding standards can be developed,
Create incentives for the installation of lower-resistance, more stable and capable grounding systems, and
Lobby for updating the language of governing electrical code.
All of the above characteristics make GroundLinx products ideal for improved risk management in property lines. Just as insurers frequently offer discounts for policy holders that have monitored alarm systems and smoke detectors (among many other risk-reducing devices or practices), incentives to encourage installation of high-performance, low resistance grounding would very likely result in dramatically reduced lightning- and current surge-related claims.
As such, GroundLinx welcomes inquiries from insurers regarding creation of cooperative marketing efforts which may result in profitable business opportunities for all parties involved.
⁴ All above claims data are from the Insurance Information Institute, and the National Fire Protection Association.
The GroundLinx Gradiance™ system IS better grounding.
Simply put, GroundLinx Gradiance™ kits generally outperform all traditional grounding methods presently available, particularly in less than ideal soils – a condition far more prevalent than might be expected. (Much of inland Florida is a good example.)
A Gradiance™ kit has:
Millions of “nano-emitters” for faster, more complete dissipation of fault currents for the entire duration of the fault, hence
Generally 55%-85% lower resistance-to-ground than traditional rods with far greater frequency response and impedance matching, regardless of soil conditions, and
Far higher stability with respect to environmental changes versus traditional methods;
Superior efficacy in nearly any soil type or moisture level, and
Suitability for both stand-alone installations and as supplements to existing grounding equipment for both commercial and residential applications.