(Screenshots of the FORTIFIED Home On the Go app. Source: Munich Re.)
Munich Re, US (Princeton, N.J.), a division of Munich Re (Munich) and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS; Tampa, Fla.) have launched a new app designed to help homeowners build safer, stronger structures in the face of increasing severe weather events.
Munich Re reports that FORTIFIED Home On the Go is an interactive tablet app available for free download from the iTunes Store. It walks homeowners, contractors and architects through the home strengthening process, providing information based on their specific input. The information includes videos, animations, and technical specifications for building and retrofitting single family homes.
Information in the app is based on IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home program, which Munich Re characterizes as the national standard in resilient construction. “The public is seeing first-hand what staggering losses can be wreaked by severe weather,” comments Carl Hedde, Head of Risk Accumulation, Munich Re, US, who is leading the app’s launch and is also a past chairman of IBHS. As examples, he points to the more than $60 billion in insured losses due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and almost $30 billion in insured losses in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“The FORTIFIED Home On the Go app is an educational tool designed to help individuals and communities build more resilient structures,” Hedde adds. “This is something everyone can learn from and use to help make their homes more resistant to the effects of the dramatic weather events we are experiencing.”
This new app is a joint project between Munich Re, US, and IBHS, who cite a shared commitment to conduct scientific research and promote ways to strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters.
Beyond Building Codes
“The FORTIFIED Home program 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,” comments Julie Rochman, president and CEO, IBHS.
“People often ask why the FORTIFIED Home programs are necessary when many jurisdictions have building codes in place,” Rochman adds. “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.”