When it comes to lightning, data centers, as well as all electronics and other mission-critical operations, face a fair amount of risk. In 2006, a Carnegie Mellon report found that 30 percent of businesses suffer damage from lightning storms. According to The Hartford, lightning is responsible for more than $5 billion in total annual insurance losses. It is also the third-largest cause of sustained outages in bulk power systems according to the American Electric Reliability Corporation.
Thunderstorms thrive in warm weather, and with climate change, thunderstorm activity—and the damage it creates—is only getting worse. Both Lloyd’s and the Insurance Information Institute reported a 15 percent increase in lightning-related losses from 2009 to 2010. In the U.K., the Association of British Insurers expects weather damage, much of it lightning-related, to double by the year 2040.