2021 – 2023
Severe weather disrupts lives, displaces families, and drives financial loss. IBHS delivers top-tier science and translates it into action so we can prevent avoidable suffering, strengthen our homes and businesses, inform the insurance industry, and support thriving communities.
Against this broader societal
backdrop, IBHS’s mission remains
focused on strengthening homes
and businesses to prevent avoidable
suffering and reduce losses.
THE IBHS RESEARCH CENTER
In 2020, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Research Center. Over the past decade, the Research Center and the knowledge power behind its iconic structure have made the Founders’ vision a reality: a state-of-the-art facility that realistically recreates severe weather hazards and allows IBHS to evaluate the vulnerability of homes and businesses and identify ways to reduce loss. The Research Center also provides a venue to bring IBHS Members, industry partners, public policymakers, and the media “inside the risk” so they can understand and articulate problems and solutions resulting from the interaction of severe weather and the built environment.
As we enter the Research Center’s second decade, this work is more important than ever. 2020 saw record wildfires throughout the West (even before the start of the traditional wildfire season); an alarming frequency of Atlantic hurricanes; and a widespread derecho that damaged a large swath of crops and properties in the Midwest. These natural disasters punctuated a year in which a global pandemic, climate concerns, and a rightful focus on injustice/inclusion underscore the importance of resilience at every level of our society.
IBHS achieves its mission when our team’s top-tier science is translated into action. To that end, our strategy charts a Pathway to Resilience:
This information articulates the storyline driving IBHS’s effort. Each section describes key Commitments that frame the essential goals being pursued through 2023. Each milestone along this pathway merges multiple lanes that, together, frame the Disaster Safety Strategy.
- Improve the building science behind water intrusion–roof and vertical envelope–addressing installation and maintenance vulnerabilities through mitigation strategies.
- Address new technologies in the built environment (e.g., residential photovoltaic panels) and bring IBHS’s derived science into codes and standards proposals to ensure their resilient deployment in communities.
- Expand our knowledge of weathering and long-term durability of asphalt shingles, aiming to develop methods of predicting real-world wind performance of new products for inland and coastal areas.
- Establish IBHS as the definitive research group solving for wildfire mitigation aimed at suburban neighborhoods; this will allow us to amplify our voice with the goal of consumer and public policy action.
- Expand wildfire research to include the community level, not just individual structures.
- Explore the expansion of IBHS’s wildfire research capabilities on the Research Center campus, allowing more testing and more scientific quantification of the risk.
- Expand the capability and capacity to test the hail performance of asphalt roofing products.
- Take the hail impact research beyond asphalt shingles, broadening our focus to include residential siding and major commercial roofing products.
- Assess regional risk and hailstorm environments.
- Leverage roof aging farm data to translate results to product manufacturers and risk modelers.
- Show the power of realistic wildfire-resistant approaches that improve the performance of the built environment.
- Build out the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps to educate the public, policymakers, and insurers on the relative importance and practicability of retrofit actions.
- Teach resiliency actions that are affordable and accessible to all, so homeowners can initiate independent action to prevent avoidable damage.
- Demonstrate the affordability and availability of resilient construction (including, but not limited to, FORTIFIED) for NGOs that serve economically vulnerable communities (e.g., Habitat for Humanity) through building and retrofitting homes across the Southeast and Midwest.
- Drive IBHS science into wildfire code proposals for the I-Codes (WUI, Residential and Commercial Building) and the California Building Code.
- Continue to advance building codes and test standards proposals that place IBHS research into the core standards for new construction–both commercial and residential. Assess the performance of states on the incorporation of these Codes.
- Expand the reach of FORTIFIED into inland areas while continuing to grow the footprint in hurricane-prone target markets.
- Take the science behind FORTIFIED to factory-built homes to mitigate key vulnerabilities while keeping a keen eye on affordability.
- Use existing IBHS science and standards to launch FORTIFIED Multi-family.
- Advance residential and commercial building resiliency by influencing builders, building owners, suppliers, and manufacturers.
- Bring more people inside the perils of wind, wind-driven rain, hail, and wildfire through partners who can amplify our message.
- Design resiliency paths that are available to underserved communities in multi-family, legacy, and manufactured homes, including through Wind Pools and Fair Plans.
- Serve as the insurance industry’s principal resource for climate adaptation, while developing partnerships and collaborations with key organizations to understand climate impacts as they relate to IBHS’s future research and product agendas.
- Serve as the insurance industry’s principal wildfire science resource to support efforts to shape California wildfire resilience as it relates to legislation, regulations, building codes, and media.
When the IBHS Board of Directors met in Chicago in 2018 to develop the first Disaster Safety Strategy, Board members were asked to predict the life span of the IBHS Research Center. The universal answer (regardless of the respondent’s age) was “much longer than I have left in my career.” Clearly, IBHS Members support an enduring insurance industry commitment to pioneering building science research and its application to real-world property loss reduction.
The 2021-2023 Disaster Safety Strategy is the next step forward in realizing this vision. It deepens our understanding of the core research perils that threaten most Americans and recognizes that the knowledge gained by IBHS testing must be understood, amplified, and applied to be truly meaningful in preventing avoidable suffering and loss. And, it underscores the need to broaden our outreach to those for whom resilience has been unaffordable or unattainable.
Devastating natural disasters such as Andrew, Katrina, and the Camp Fire supply the narrative on the need for IBHS. As we launch our new Disaster Safety Strategy, the ground truth from Florence, Michael, and Sally provides a profound display of how we are meeting this need.