Supporting Research in Severe Weather Readiness and Response
Travelers has partnered with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) for over 20 years. We have played a key role in guiding the IBHS research team as a co-founding member of IBHS’s one-of-a-kind research center located in Chester County, South Carolina. Additionally, in light of our strong commitment to IBHS, we have a permanent seat on its executive committee.
IBHS delivers top-tier science and translates it into action so we can prevent avoidable suffering, strengthen homes and businesses and help communities recover faster from a natural disaster.
According to a National Institute of Building Sciences study, for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, the United States can save $6 in future disaster costs.
Over the last decade, IBHS has conducted full-scale laboratory testing at its state-of-the-art facility and has influenced changes to existing building code standards and best practices to mitigate potential losses.
The events and programs listed below highlight some of the recent work we have collaborated on with IBHS.
- In August 2021, IBHS released the Wildfire Prepared Home program. Similar to the FORTIFIED program for wind, this new program provides homeowners with a pathway to receive a three-year designation recognizing their efforts to reduce wildfire risk. Importantly, the designation process includes an independent inspection and assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the home’s wildfire mitigation efforts.
- Resiliency is more important in the face of changing climate conditions. Extreme wind events like hurricanes and tornadoes can cause severe damage and greatly disrupt families, businesses and communities. During Hurricane Sally in September 2020, several FORTIFIED Commercial™ buildings were put to the test and performed at or above expectations, with overall damage equaling less than 0.05% of their total building cost. The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Alabama, for example, was able to offer shelter to many guests before, during and after the event, with essential services uninterrupted. Success stories like these are great reminders of the importance of the work IBHS does to improve community resilience, and for members to provide mitigation credits to FORTIFIED Commercial™ properties, as Travelers does.
- In August 2020, IBHS released Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps that identify best practices to reduce the vulnerability of residential homes to wildfire. The roadmap provides a step-by-step guide for homeowners to proactively reduce their wildfire risk. Over the years, IBHS has made significant contributions to wildfire preparedness, adaptation and communication. These guidelines enable us to better support our customers in mitigating wildfire risk in suburban communities.
- Throughout 2019 and 2020, IBHS conducted hail impact testing on asphalt shingles, culminating in the release of shingle performance ratings by manufacturer. The performance ratings resulted in some shingle manufacturers pulling products or reformulating them to improve resilience. The ratings, therefore, appear to support future accountability and provide motivation to manufacturers to improve asphalt shingle hail performance. Insights from studies like this also enable us to better protect our customers and their assets.
Given the dual challenges during 2020 of preparing for a disaster while facing the pandemic, the Travelers Institute, our public policy arm, teamed up with IBHS and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association during National Hurricane Preparedness Week on a media campaign to provide information and tips to prepare a home or business for a disaster. In addition, as part of its new Wednesdays with Woodward® webinar series, the Travelers Institute convened these organizations for a webinar to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the IBHS Research Center, highlighting successes and lessons learned on preparedness for wildfires, hail and wind events.