On Monday, Nationwide Insurance called on the federal government and state legislatures to introduce and pass legislation that will provide incentives for consumers, homebuilders and contractors to build or reinforce homes and small businesses using Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) construction and retrofit standards.
Incentives like building permit rebates, state-level tax incentives, and state and federal grants could lead to more resilient communities by offsetting some of the costs, the insurer said in a statement.
“Post-storm recovery efforts can require a significant allocation of federal and state funds,” said Mark Pizzi, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Insurance.
“Providing these fortification incentives before a storm hits could result in dramatic savings to our government and ultimately, to taxpayers.”
“IBHS studies show that homes and businesses fortified by stronger building materials and construction practices are more likely to survive extreme weather events that otherwise would severely damage or destroy them.”
Pizzi also serves as the IBHS board chairman. “IBHS studies show that homes and businesses fortified by stronger building materials and construction practices are more likely to survive extreme weather events that otherwise would severely damage or destroy them.”
Government incentives are critical, but insurers have to do their part too, Pizzi said. They can offer discounts to consumers and business owners who fortify their structures. They also can offer insurance products that will help rebuild storm-damaged homes and businesses to FORTIFIED standards,” he said.
“For example, consumers who purchase Nationwide’s Better Roof Replacement® product will have their damaged roof replaced with one that is built to withstand high wind and damaging hail.”
IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home program uses a unique systems-based method for creating stronger, safer new and existing homes that are more resistant to damage from hurricanes, tropical storms, hailstorms, high winds and wind-driven rain associated with thunderstorms. With three levels of FORTIFIED Home designations available – Bronze, Silver and Gold – builders and contractors can work with homeowners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.
“IBHS is proud that Nationwide is actively working to help break the historic cycle of destruction that families, businesses and communities have been stuck in for decades,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO, IBHS.
Meaningful financial incentives can effectively motivate property owners and builders to take steps that will make homes and businesses much more resilient, she said.
Sources: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company; The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety