Underwriter, Institute bring FORTIFIED Home building practice to mobile devices

Sources: Munich Reinsurance America Inc., New Jersey; Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), Tampa, Fla.; CP staff

IBHS and property underwriting giant Munich Re America have launched FORTIFIED Home On the Go, an interactive app free from the iTunes Store. Using videos, animation, and technical specifications, it walks owners, contractors and architects through the home-strengthening process. Content is based on IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home program, which is recognized as the national standard in resilient construction.

“The FORTIFIED Home On the Go app is an educational tool designed to help individuals and communities build more resilient structures. This is something everyone can learn from and use to help make their homes more resistant to the effects of dramatic weather events,” says Munich Re, US Head of Risk Accumulation and past IBHS Chairman Carl Hedde. “The public is seeing first-hand what staggering losses can be wreaked by severe weather,” he notes, citing as examples the $60 billion-plus in insured losses due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and nearly $30 billion in insured losses in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“FORTIFIED Home provides a uniform, voluntary, superior set of construction and retrofitting standards to help improve a home’s resilience by adding system-specific upgrades to minimum code requirements,” affirms IBHS President Julie Rochman. “People often ask why [our] programs are necessary when many jurisdictions have building codes in place. The answer is codes appropriately provide minimum life safety protection designed to ensure people can get out of a building safely. However, codes are not intended to ensure homes are habitable after a catastrophic weather event or to protect the contents inside.”

IBHS and Munich Re America share a commitment to conduct scientific research and promote ways to strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters, she adds. — www.ibhs.org; www.munichreamerica.com/fortified