National Small Business Week is May 16-20: IBHS Rolls Out New Code-Plus Construction Program for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

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The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) announces a new program to help small and mid-sized businesses reduce their risk of damage from natural disasters.

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IBHS created FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ to help small and mid-sized businesses build new facilities that are able to better withstand the natural hazards and man-made risks that can force them to close their doors.

President Obama has declared May 16 - 20 National Small Business Week. In conjunction with the President’s declaration, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety(IBHS) announces a new program to help small and mid-sized businesses reduce their risk of damage from natural disasters.

FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ is a code-plus construction program that greatly increases a new commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards common in the area where it’s being built, as well as to protect against interior fire and water damage, theft, and vandalism. FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ follows on the success of IBHS’ two programs for improving the resilience of homes - FORTIFIED for Safer Living® for code-plus new home construction, and FORTIFIED for Existing Homes™ for strengthening homes through retrofitting.

“Every year, hurricanes, tornados, hail storms, floods, severe winter weather, and wildfires cause billions of dollars in damage to homes and commercial enterprises in all parts of the U.S.,” said IBHS President & CEO Julie Rochman. “IBHS created FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ to help small and mid-sized businesses build new facilities that are able to better withstand the natural hazards and man-made risks that can force them to close their doors,” Rochman added.

“Small and mid-size businesses are the backbone of many neighborhoods, and residents depend on them to provide basic necessities like groceries, supplies and services, a role that can become even more critical after disaster strikes a community,” said Chuck Miccolis, IBHS commercial lines engineer. “The program recognizes that many such businesses cannot afford the same customized loss prevention and engineering services common in the construction of large manufacturing, health care, hospitality, and other operations.

“FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ engineering standards bring together a number of best practices in a format that can be utilized from the design stage to the construction phase of a commercial project,” Miccolis said.

On the operational side, IBHS offers the Open for Business® business continuity planning tool to help small- and mid-sized businesses reduce the potential for loss should disaster strike, and reopen quickly should they be forced to close. “Although property insurance may cover many of these costs, businesses that are severely damaged may never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and competitive market share,” said Diana McClure, IBHS business resiliency program manager. “By many estimates, as many as one in four businesses forced to close after a disaster never reopens.”

FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ is set to launch during the summer of 2011. Presently, IBHS is working with design professionals on a pilot project for a major national insurance company‘s new sales and customer service center.

To arrange an interview with IBHS representatives, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, jking(at)ibhs(dot)org or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

About IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.

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