Building Strong, Resilient Communities
Extreme wind events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, can cause severe damage and greatly disrupt families and communities. To help build stronger, more resilient communities, we joined forces with Habitat for Humanity® and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to build affordable, wind-resistant homes to FORTIFIED HomeTM standards in coastal regions of the country. Our partnership shows that by making a few important changes in home construction standards, homes are better able to withstand storms without significantly adding to the cost.
Travelers is a key sponsor and executive committee board member of IBHS, an independent, nonprofit, scientific research organization tasked with understanding and quantifying the impact of building codes and standards on loss. Over the last decade, IBHS has identified gaps through full-scale laboratory testing at its state-of-the-art facility and influenced changes to existing building code standards and best practices to mitigate potential losses. A 2017 National Institute of Building Sciences study concluded that for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, $6 is saved on future disaster costs. At Travelers, mitigation credits are available for homes designated as FORTIFIED by IBHS.
- More than two dozen FORTIFIED homes for low-income families have been built in the Southeast and Northeast regions of the United States, including Alabama, Mississippi and Connecticut.
- Numerous Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the country have learned about safer building standards, and many are adopting them as they build new homes for some of America’s most vulnerable families.
- In 2018, 245 Travelers volunteers contributed 1,783 hours to help build nine FORTIFIED Habitat homes in seven states. Videos of prior builds can be viewed here.
- Data gathered from the FORTIFIED program is used at hearings to influence better building codes in hurricane-prone regions and to demonstrate the affordability of building to FORTIFIED standards.
- Travelers has engaged more than 1,000 employees for more than 7,700 hours in Habitat builds — both FORTIFIED and traditional — driving engagement by doing purposeful work together in our communities.
- In addition to its positive impact on communities, the partnership benefits both Travelers and the insurance industry by increasing the number of resilient homes in vulnerable communities.