- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) - The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety has recognized three South Mississippi homebuilders for building homes that are more disaster-resistant.

In January, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented the Resilience Star pilot project in Mississippi and Alabama to build IBHS fortified homes with design features proven to withstand natural disasters, such as a sealed roof deck, high impact windows and doors and the bracing of gables over 4 feet.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1vbmjAW ) two homes in Gulfport and one in Bay St. Louis were recognized for Resilience Star standards. These homes also comply with the IBHS Fortified Home program. The Resilience Star gives the homes a second certification.

Homeowners that implement these building standards are eligible for insurance discounts.

Habitat for Humanity’s Ryan Rupp, construction manager for Bay St. Louis and Waveland, said the fortified homes reduce the insurance cost to the homeowner, which is a goal of Habitat.

“Being in Bay St. Louis, we have a pretty high insurance rate,” he said.

Rupp said this is the second home they have built to these standards and that home saw a 30 percent reduction on insurance.

IBHS President and CEO Julie Rochman said there are 1,000 fortified homes across the country, but she expects that number to dramatically increase over the next few years as more people become aware that there is an option for resilience.

“We are going to become more resilient nationally,” Rochman said. “It’s the right thing to do economically, politically and socially because of what’s happening here on the Gulf Coast. Everyone is looking at Mississippi and Alabama because they’re the models, leaders and visionaries.”

Three homes in south Alabama were also recognized.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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