After Hurricane Sandy, a big non-profit group teamed with a social impact company to find a way to help save homes in major storms.
Their idea went through rigorous scientific testing that led to a new type of company model in Southeast Louisiana. They say your home could be better protected in a Category-3 storm.
Two identical homes were built in a wind tunnel with 200 mile per hour winds. That's higher than a Category-5 hurricane. What if you could have the fortified roof that did not blow off at little or no out-of-pocket cost?
"We have a guy in Slidell who's looking at his offer right now. It's a $12,000 retrofit on his roof. The entire cost of the roof is paid out of his savings. He'll have no cost to him," said My Strong Home COO and Co-Founder Ramsey Green.
Now imagine your roofer is also your homeowner's insurance agent. Our social mission is bringing, developing resilience in hurricane prone and disaster prone areas," he explained.
My Strong Home is a 'benefit corporation,' a for-profit company that has to go through rigorous vetting to prove its benefit to the community.
Roofers have to go through a training course to use special nails, an underlayment, not felt, but material used in high snow areas that sticks to the thicker plywood underneath. Then the shingles are different. Regular ones tear when rolled but theirs are flexible and have a much wider area for tacking down so the nails don't miss a spot. Once done, My Strong Home now becomes your insurance company, charging you a premium that on average is 30 to 40 percent lower.
"One thing that is huge in homeowners insurance is as they're underwriting your house, they're going to look at what is the likelihood of water getting into it, because, yes, they're insuring your home, but they're also insuring your contents," Green said.
Then your insurance savings goes towards paying for your roof over the next five to seven years.
"It's great. It brought our insurance down about $500," said Chalmette homeowner Luigi Mandile.
He is one of the first 10 homeowners in Southeast Louisiana to get this bronze fortification roof. His home was a pilot test home.
"We live payday to payday like many other people, and that's a huge thing. That pays my flood insurance," Mandile said of the yearly premium savings.
Financing is five percent. Some people may have a small down payment.
My Strong Home is in coastal areas of Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. They work on existing homes and have retrofitted about 60.
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says they are credible and are offering a new type of product that potentially could strengthen homes and lower premiums.
General advice on hiring a contractor given by Commissioner Donelon can be found below:
The LDI offers the following advice regarding hiring a contractor:
Do not do business with a contractor who cannot show proof of insurance.
You can call your Better Business Bureau to learn if there have been any complaints filed against the contractor
Be on the lookout for out-of-state con artists who may have just breezed into town to take advantage of the local situation.
Also be wary of contractors who demand payment in full before work is completed.
Always get a written estimate of repair costs. Call the state contractor licensing board to verify a contractor’s licensure status.