Proposed Law Will Make Mitigation Grants
Exempt from Income Taxes
NCSU Study Shows FORTIFIED Roofs Reduce Hurricane Damage
IBHS, Director of Communications
Atlantic Beach, NC, Sep. 1, 2021 – Today, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) celebrated its 30,000th FORTIFIED Home™ designation at a home in Atlantic Beach, NC. The home’s resilient roof was funded in part by the Strengthen Your Roof program operated by the North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association (NCIUA) and meets the stringent resilience requirements of the FORTIFIED program.
Based on research by IBHS, FORTIFIED is a voluntary set of above-code design, building, and retrofitting steps that strengthen homes against severe weather. It has shown in lab research and during real-world events to reduce wind damage and prevent water intrusion during a storm. NCIUA adopted the standard as its benchmark for hurricane-resilience in 2017. North Carolina’s FORTIFIED numbers have since grown exponentially, and it now ranks second nationally with more than 3,000 homes built or roofed to the standard.
“The commitment by NCIUA to help homeowners minimize storm damage is the type of forward-thinking policymaking that will help entire communities bounce back faster from hurricanes like Florence, Dorian, and Isaias that batter the North Carolina coast year after year,” said IBHS President and CEO Roy Wright. “It is not fate alone that determines which homes are devastated by hurricanes. The decisions we make as we build and re-roof our homes play a significant role in how we weather a storm.”
NCIUA, in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University, has completed an analysis of the effectiveness of IBHS FORTIFIED Roofs in North Carolina using claims data from Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Dorian and Isaias. The study concluded that policyholders with an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof were 35 percent less likely to experience a claim. And, if the policyholder with the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof did experience a claim, the claim resulted in 22 percent less damage.
NCIUA has several pilot programs to assist eligible policyholders obtain a FORTIFIED Roof. NCIUA (1) pays the cost for an IBHS evaluator for policyholders who are electing to replace their roofs; (2) provides an enhancement coverage endorsement to over 125,000 policyholders that gives up to a $5,000 benefit if a roof must be replaced due to a total loss; and (3) provides grants up to $6,000 for policyholders on the Outer Banks and Barrier Islands to install a FORTIFIED Roof.
Mike Causey, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner said, “Since being sworn in January 2017, it has been an honor to work with NCIUA on developing these pilot programs to help our coastal residents. We have over 3,000 homeowners along the North Carolina coast with an IBHS Fortified Roof. My goal as Insurance Commissioner is to make sure our coastal areas retain their beauty and strength while keeping North Carolina residents safe. I commend those who have participated in one of the programs for taking positive steps to strengthen their roofs so that we build more resilient coastal communities.”
Gina Hardy, NCIUA CEO commented, “NCIUA has invested over $22 million to improve the resilience of our coastal communities. Eliminating or minimizing storm damage allows our policyholders to return home after a storm and quickly restore their lives. Additionally, our pilot programs help local contractors while reducing the impact of a storm on the local economy. In 2021, NCIUA is pleased to be investing up to another $25 million in the program.”
“For every home that is FORTIFIED, a family is safer, and their lives are less disrupted from the effects of a destructive storm. I am committed to helping Commissioner Causey and NCIUA look for ways to expand the pilot program to serve even more coastal policyholders,” said North Carolina Representative Pat McElraft.
Currently, homeowners receiving NCIUA Strengthen Your Roof grants are subject to federal taxes, but NCIUA is supporting legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis (S. 2432) and the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 4675) with the support of North Carolina Congressman David Rouzer (NC-7). The proposed law would eliminate federal taxation on the grants.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who endorses the legislation, stated, “This legislation is needed to protect North Carolina residents who receive Strengthen Your Roof grants from having to pay federal income tax on the grant money they receive. This bipartisan legislation ensures that state-based disaster mitigation grants, including those from insurers like NCIUA, receive the same federal tax exemptions as federal mitigation grants and help provide greater incentives for homeowners to take action to protect their homes from natural disasters.
The special ceremony celebrating IBHS’s 30,000th FORTIFIED designation was held at the Atlantic Beach home of James and Trish Moss. Gina Hardy, CEO, NCIUA; Mike Causey, Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Insurance; Joe Stewart, Vice President of Government Affairs for Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina; Julie Shiyou-Woodard, President and CEO, Smart Home America; Spencer Rogers, Director, North Carolina Sea Grant were in attendance.
For more information about the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety or for tips and information about making your home more resilient to severe weather visit www.disastersafety.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Strengthen Your Roof The Strengthen Your Roof program is designed to improve the resiliency and weather-resistance of properties insured by NCIUA. It provides money to offset some of the replacement costs to upgrade qualified roofs to the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof standard. Visit https://strengthenyourroof.com/Home/NCIUA for more information
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at DisasterSafety.org.
About FORTIFIED HomeVisit www.fortifiedhome.org to learn more about the IBHS FORTIFIED Home program, including the designation process, how to identify a certified FORTIFIED evaluator, and other valuable resources.