The North Carolina Rate Bureau has filed a proposal with the North Carolina Department of Insurance to provide homeowners insurance credits for implementing certain property protection measures, including several based on the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s (IBHS) FORTIFIED building programs.
The proposal would provide homeowners in 18 coastal counties with credits on their annual wind and hail premiums. The credits are based on building techniques in IBHS’ FORTIFIED for Safer Living and FORTIFIED for Existing Homes programs; both IBHS programs are designed to improve a home’s ability to resist damage from natural disasters, such as hurricanes and other high-wind events.
Battle-tested by Hurricane Ike on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas in 2008, the FORTIFIED building code-plus construction programs help homeowners and homebuilders build stronger, safer homes from the ground up. From hurricanes to wildfires, the programs’ standards can help North Carolinians increase their home’s resistance to whatever natural hazards threaten the specific area where the house is located.
FORTIFIED for Existing Homes is a retrofit program that offers three levels of designation, providing a series of incremental steps, each building on the one before it, that result in increased levels of resistance to higher intensity events. The FORTIFIED bronze level addresses keeping water out of the home through improvements to the roof covering, roof sheathing attachment and attic ventilations systems. The FORTIFIED silver level includes the standards for FORTIFIED bronze and adds additional requirements aimed at protecting window and door openings, strengthening gables over four feet high, and improving the attachment of accessory structures such as carports. The FORTIFIED gold standard includes the requirements for FORTIFIED bronze and silver, as well as requirements to ensure the home has a well-engineered, continuous load path – connecting the roof through the home’s structural members to the foundation.
FORTIFIED for Safer Living is a new home construction program which offers a complete package of code-plus upgrades that greatly increase a new home’s resistance to natural perils.
All homes built or retrofitted to a FORTIFIED standard must be inspected by a certified FORTIFIED evaluator. The FORTIFIED for Safer Living program requires a minimum of four inspections – foundation, sheathing, framing connections, and “final” – performed at different stages of the construction process. FORTIFIED for Existing Homes requires an evaluation be performed of an existing house before renovation work is begun. After the evaluation is completed, a report is issued to the homeowner providing a plan for achieving each level of FORTIFIED designation. Depending on the designation being sought, multiple in-progress inspections are made to verify that all work meets program standards.
Every homeowner who receives a designation is provided a certificate indicating the program designation earned. Designations are transferrable if the property is sold.
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