By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A New York City-based company is attempting to minimize the damage and destruction homeowners face by strengthening their homes before a hurricane or tornado strikes.
MyStrongHome is the brainchild of Ramsey Green, who founded the company after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Green’s business plan is to strengthen homes in Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina, three states with large coastal areas.
To mitigate damage from hurricanes and tornadoes, MyStrongHome installs a new, specially strengthened roof and other wind-proofing products if needed.
Homeowners’ Insurance Helps Pay for the Improvements
The company helps homeowners finance the work by offering its own homeowner’s insurance policies. The company’s policy can save a homeowner as much as 48% over traditional insurance policies, according to company statistics.
Strengthening homes and businesses in coastal areas is especially important. The 2010 census reports that 87.4 million people (29% of the U.S. population) live in coastline counties, including more than 41 million in Atlantic counties and 32 million in Pacific counties. This is an increase of 40 million from 1960, when only 47.4 million people lived in coastline counties.
Also, the 2010 census found the number of housing units along the U.S. coastline increased in recent decades, from 16.1 million in 1960 to 36.3 million in 2008.
Most Building Codes Are Designed to Protect People, Not Property
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), “because [most jurisdictions’] building codes are considered minimum legal standards that focus on life safety for occupants and first responders, they are not optimal for preserving building use, ensuring reuse or business continuity, or providing the maximum practicable property protection.”
MyStrongHome first assesses the construction of the home and its current insurance coverage. A certified contractor then evaluates the structure and determines what upgrades are needed to meet the FORTIFIED standards established by the IBHS.
MyStrongHome selects an experienced contractor to perform the necessary work. Once the work is properly completed, the homeowner receives a FORTIFIED Certificate from IBHS.
Dr. Tim Reinhold, IBHS senior vice president of research and chief engineer, started investigating hurricane wind damage after Hurricane Frederic tore through Pensacola in 1979. “I’ve seen many hurricanes since then,” he says. “Every time I’ve seen a whole roof blown off a house, I have found a large window or door blown open on the windward side of the house. Tape on the windows is not going to help,” he said.
MyStrongHome’s website includes a video to show how well a strengthened home can withstand severe winds.
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. David’s 2015 book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever,” has just been published in paperback by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.