Munich Re US and IBHS Partner on App to Drive Resilient Home Construction

FORTIFIED Home On the Go is an interactive tablet app available for free download from the iTunes Store that walks homeowners, contractors and architects through the home strengthening process.

(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.

Carl Hedde, Head of Risk Accumulation, Munich Re, US.

Carl Hedde, Head of Risk Accumulation, Munich Re, US.

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.

Natural catastrophe events in U.S. Source: Munich Re.

Natural catastrophe events in U.S. Source: Munich Re. Click to enlarge.

“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

Julie Rochman, President and CEO, IBHS.

Julie Rochman, President and CEO, IBHS.

“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.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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