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Department of Planning and Zoning
Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning
Louisiana Homeowners may get funding to Fortify their Roofs
August 3, 2022
The Louisiana Fortify Homes Program. “We are going to offer grant money to every homeowner in the state to fortify their roof.”
A new state program will help homeowners receive funding to make their home’s roof stronger to better withstand storms
Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022
In 2023, many Louisiana homeowners will be granted funding to fortify their home’s roofs through the new Louisiana Fortify Homes Program.
Ron Camarota of the Louisiana Department of Insurance Office of Consumer Advocacy spoke on this at the Housing Summit for Southwest Louisiana on July 13.
According to Camarota, the institution of this bill began during the last legislative session. “We put wording into the law that allowed insurance companies to apply for a deduction if people fortify their home.”
This legislation falls under Act 30, which was approved last year. According to the LDI’s Office of Property and Casualty Policy Form Filing Handbook, the act “provides for discounts and insurance rate reductions for residential and commercial buildings built to, or retrofitted to, reduce the threat of loss due to windstorms.” Act 30 was considered effective Aug. 1, 2021.
“The discounts can be pretty healthy,” Camarota said. “One I looked at will offer a 50 percent discount on the wind tail portion of the premium of your policy if you fortify your roof.”
He noted the cost of fortifying one’s roof could range from $600 to $2,500. The LDI made it a mission to aid policyholders in qualifying for these discounts. “Fortifying a roof is not a horrible cost, and the investment is worth it,” he said. “It’s been calculated that the value of the home goes up between 7, 8, 9 percent when you’re fortified.”
“I think it is important, particularly in this day and age, to be sensitive to the trying economic conditions that are out there,” said Fred Malik, managing director of FORTIFIED. “Well that is relatively inexpensive … people are often faced with making difficult choices of ‘what do I spend this $1,000 on.’ ”
Grant programs similar to the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program have been successful in states such as Alabama and Mississippi, according to Malik.
During the regular session, Act 554 was introduced. This act provides for the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program. “We are going to offer grant money to every homeowner in the state to fortify their roof,” Camarota said. “We are doing, in this program, only the roof, which is probably the biggest portion.”
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is proud to introduce this program to Louisiana policy owners. “The program will mitigate future storm damage and reduce residential property insurance costs.”
According to the LDI’s Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023 to 2024, the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program “allows financial grants to retrofit insurable property within a homestead exemption to resist loss and meet or exceed the fortified home standards of the Insurance Institute for Business.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards officially signed Act 554 June 17, and was spearheaded by Louisiana State Representative and House Insurance Chair Mike Huval.
Donelon said he appreciates Huval’s leadership in passing Act 554.
“The Louisiana Department of Insurance’s Catastrophe Reform Package was a major success for our state’s policyholders,” said Donelon. “We passed several bills this session that will strengthen our market and improve the claims process following future hurricanes.”
The program will be administered under the LDI’s Office of Policy, Innovation and Research once funding is allocated. Camarota stated they are still ironing out details, and that public hearings regarding the legislation are still necessary. These have yet to be scheduled.
The legislation will be effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Camarota explained that the standards for proper fortification were adopted from the Insurance Business Home Safety organization (IBHS). “These are not building codes, this is the standard, which we support and have adopted.”
The IBHS houses their standards in the program FORTIFIED. The is a program that was created to promote exceptional building practices to better protect your home.
Online: fortifiedhome.org. https://www.dontgoof.org/states/louisiana
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