HR 279, signed into law on March 8, not only eases requirements for home owner’s discounts, but also allows new fortified houses to qualify.

The law states, “to remove the requirement that insurance customers submit copies of construction records to insurers to qualify for premium discounts for properties certified as meeting certain fortified building standards and to require instead for the submission of evidence of construction certification.”

This applies for homes that have been either built or retrofitted to “resist loss due to hurricane or other catastrophic windstorm events.”

The certification allows for a home owner to get a reduction on the wind premium that insurance companies charge, but it is up to the home owner to keep up with the certification.

Buildings constructed need to either meet the requirements of the 2006 International Residential Code, the Fortified For Safe Living Standards or the Fortified Commercial Standard to be issued certification.

Retrofitted buildings must meet the requirements of the Fortified Home: Hurricane Standards or the Fortified Home: Highwind and Hail Standards to be issued a certification.

The certification must be given by an evaluator certified by the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

To become an IBHS certified evaluator, an evaluator or agent must take a two-day certification course and pass the certification exam, which requires an 85 percent or higher score, according to the IBHS website.

The law also brought the IBHS’ Fortified Home program statewide, according to Mark Goodson, of the Mark Goodson Agency.

The program provides a different level of construction standards to better protect a home against strong winds, rain and hurricanes. It has three levels, bronze, silver and gold, with gold being the highest.

There are already two homes in Enterprise, at Legacy Farms, being build to the bronze standard, which is what Goodson recommends for this area.

The bronze level focuses on fortifying the roofs of houses to minimize any possible water leaks and the roof detaching because of a storm. It can be done to shingled or metal roofs.

Britt Gay, owner of BG Homes and builder of the new homes, explained what goes into building a bronze certified home.

Homes certified at any level of the program still apply for the wind premium discount at different rates depending on the level of certification.

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