IBHS Supports Call by Florida CFO Sink to Harden Homes

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The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today voiced its support for a push to harden Florida homes, a recommendation made to the state legislature by Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

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Florida is a peninsula - essentially a finger poking Mother Nature in the eye. We can't stop hurricanes from coming each year or make them any less severe, so the only way residents and business owners can reduce their risk is to make all structures better able to withstand these wicked forces.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today voiced its support for a push to harden Florida homes, a recommendation made to the state legislature by Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

In an attempt to reduce the hurricane-prone state's property exposure, Sink recommended that the My Safe Florida Home program be continued by rolling over the estimated $20 million remaining in the program.

Even beyond the specific program at the center of the CFO's remarks, IBHS commends CFO Sink for focusing on how to help motivate Florida homeowners to make their homes more secure against destructive storms.

"Look at the map," says IBHS President and CEO Julie Rochman. "Florida is a peninsula - essentially a finger poking Mother Nature in the eye. We can't stop hurricanes from coming each year or make them any less severe, so the only way residents and business owners can reduce their risk is to make all structures better able to withstand these wicked forces."

According to IBHS research, homes built to the modern Florida Building Code experienced a 60% reduction in the frequency (actual number) of property losses and a 42% reduction in loss severity (dollar amount of insurance claims) during Hurricane Charley in 2004.

Older homes in Florida that are retrofitted for improved wind resistance can reduce by half their annual average wind-related damage, according to analysis performed for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation by Applied Research Associates.

IBHS recommendations for existing homes include re-nailing the roof deck, installing a secondary water barrier below a high wind rated roof cover, and installing shutters.

Rochman added that "We know how to make people safer where they live and work. Homes and communities must be more resilient, and we absolutely must focus more on keeping the pieces in place, instead of simply and repeatedly picking up the pieces after disaster strikes. Collectively and individually, we need to work toward solutions that make us less vulnerable to the natural events that can and will have a dramatic impact on our lives."

For more information visit the IBHS Web site http://www.DisasterSafety.org.

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.

Contact:
Wendy Rose
(813) 675-1045

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