A bill that would require a homeowner’s insurance company to factor into the insurance premium the more resilient construction if the homeowner retrofits or builds a new home to certain specified standards has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The adjustment must be based on the insurance company’s own actuarial analysis, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak praised the measure in an insurance department announcement, saying House Bill 1720 could save Oklahoma homeowners money on insurance coverage for their homes.
The bill encourages use of the latest technology to reduce the impact of tornadoes on lives and property.
“Thanks to bipartisan support, our representatives worked as a team to pass this legislation that puts Oklahomans first,” Commissioner Doak said. “This bill would empower homeowners to prepare for the next big storm and require insurers to factor storm-resistant construction into their rates. Having structurally stronger homes is a major step in reducing the damage and corresponding insurance claims from storms, and that’s why I also expect this bill to pass in the Senate.”
HB 1720 was co-authored by Rep. Mark McBride and Rep. Lewis Moore.
The bill does not mandate building codes or standards. It uses the FORTIFIED construction standards set by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) or the recently-adopted building code for the City of Moore as the designated standards.
The Disaster Resilience Network (DRN) in Tulsa has facilitated the development and building of several FORTIFIED homes in Oklahoma.
“The Disaster Resilience Network has been working closely with IBHS on promoting the FORTIFIED Home High Wind and Hail standard designation program in Oklahoma. The passage of this bill is a step forward in building resilient homes in Oklahoma,” said Tim Lovell, DRN executive director.
Commissioner Doak has been a proponent of FORTIFIED Home building standards since witnessing the devastating effects of tornadoes firsthand. At this year’s National Tornado Summit, co-hosted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, a panel of experts addressed the issue of resilient construction.
“Storm season is here, and we’ve got to be thinking proactively to save lives and property,” Doak said. “This bill is a step in the right direction for our people and our communities to be able to recover faster from tornadoes.”
Source: Oklahoma Insurance Department