The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) announced that it is launching a new program called Fortified HomeTM – Hurricane designed to help homeowners build safer, stronger new homes, and retrofit existing homes to make them more resistant to hurricanes.
During the last few years, IBHS has conducted pilot projects using the new program in select areas, including Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The program is now being launched in all coastal areas from Texas to Maine that are most vulnerable to hurricanes.
“We learned a great deal during the pilot phase. Homeowners want to have more resilient houses, but they need to be affordable and hazard-specific, which is what the new Fortified Home – Hurricane program provides. We are launching the hurricane program now, which will be followed by a high wind and hail program focused on the Midwest and Great Plains states,” says Julie Rochman, IBHS CEO and president.
The Fortified Home program uses a systems-based method for creating stronger, safer homes. The program has three levels of designation – bronze, silver and gold. Builders and contractors can work with home buyers and homeowners to choose the desired level of protection, according to IBHS.
“People often ask why the Fortified Home program is necessary when many jurisdictions have building codes in place,” says Rochman. “The answer is codes appropriately provide minimum life safety protection designed to ensure people can get out of a building safely. Codes are not intended to ensure that the home is habitable after a catastrophic event or to protect the other property contained in the home.”