When you buy industrial, commercial or residential property in Palm Beach County, Florida, and you have a mortgage, the bank may require you to carry Windstorm Insurance. This is in addition to the traditional homeowners insurance policy. This generally does not include flood zone insurance. Flood Zone Insurance is only necessary if the property is located in a flood zone so check a flood zone map or ask an expert to know for sure. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is the primary Windstorm Insurance vendor in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
Citizens is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt government corporation whose public purpose is to provide insurance protection to Florida property owners throughout the state. The corporation insures hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. Citizens Corporation operates according to statutory requirements and oversight by the Florida Legislature and the Florida Financial Services Commission. Florida’s Governor, President of the Florida Senate, Speaker of the Florida House and Florida’s Chief Financial Officer each appoint two members to the Board of Governors. Citizens Corporation has offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Tampa FL. Tallahassee, the state capital, is the corporate headquarters for the organization. The Jacksonville and Tampa offices provide policy services, underwriting, claims and customer support.
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What Effects Windstorm Local Intensity
Researchers base local intensity on empirical observation and theoretical relationships between certain variables including:
1. Frequency of occurrence: number of storms affecting each area of the coastline in a season
2. Landfall location: number of landfalls affecting each “coastal segment” of 50 nautical miles
3. Heading at landfall: compass direction of movement of the storm center at landfall
4. Minimum central barometric pressure: intensity of storm at landfall
5. Radius of maximum winds: distance from center of storm to the eye wall
6. Forward speed: velocity of the storm center at landfall
7. Gradient wind reduction factor: the relative scaling of the wind speed at 10 meter height to that measured at flight level
These meteorological characteristics are used to simulate the storm’s movement along its track. The generation of local wind profiles is a complex procedure requiring the use of many variables.
Windstorm Damage Mitigation Types
There are six types of windstorm damage mitigation that may qualify for windstorm insurance credits.
Roof Cover / Roof Geometry
A roof’s geometry largely determines the magnitude of aerodynamic loads experienced by the roof when exposed to hurricane‐force winds. The geometry affects the intensity of wind pressures and the resulting uplift resistance. The roof cover categories are as follows:
Gable roof without end bracing: a gable roof slopes in two directions so that the end formed by the intersection of slopes is a vertical triangle. A gable roof without end bracing has no additional bracing securing the overhanging ends to the main structure.
Hip roof: a hip roof slopes in four directions such that the end formed by the intersection of slopes is a sloped triangle. A hip roof generally resists wind loads better than unbraced or braced gable roofs.
Roof Covering and Attachments
The roof covering is the material covering the framework of the roof structure to safeguard the roof against the weather. The roof covering is fixed to the underlying structure by means of a range of fittings and fixtures. The climatic conditions have a strong influence on the performance and durability of roof coverings. Windstorms may blow off roof coverings such as slate, tiles and asphalt shingle when they are not properly installed. Extreme temperature changes may cause the material to crack and joints to leak, if not properly protected. The weight of the roof covering affects the design, weight and cost of both the roof deck and supporting structure or framework. Sheet metal coverings are very lightweight, shingles can be classified as light to medium in weight and clay tiles & slates are considered to be heavy roof coverings.
Roof Deck Attachment
The roof deck transfers the roof loads to the underlying trusses or rafters. Damage to the roof deck constitutes a breach of the building envelope and can result in significant building and interior damage. Some of the commonly used roof decks are plywood, precast concrete slabs, reinforced concrete slabs and light metal. The method of attachment of the roof deck to the trusses/rafters is also important.
Roof Wall Connection / Roof Anchorage
Unless the roof is integrated with the walls, as in the case of a reinforced concrete roof deck, its trusses are anchored to the walls by fasteners such as nails, screws, clips, or hurricane ties. Roof anchorage is the last layer of defense against wind loads which can uplift the entire roof away from the structure. The following categories of roof wall connection for residential buildings are modeled in this study:
Nails or screws: roof‐to‐wall connection using nails or screws, such as a typical 3‐toe nail connection
Clips: metal connectors used to attach the structural components of the roof with the supporting members for wind speeds up to 110 mph
Hurricane ties (either single or double wraps): metal connectors used to attach the structural components of the roof with the supporting members for wind speeds higher than 110 mph.
Opening Protection / Window Protection
Attaching shutters to all windows in a structure can greatly reduce potential loss and damage due to hurricanes and windstorms. The effect of wind‐blown water leaking inside is reduced, as well as the possibility of an interior breach due to debris striking the windows. Hurricane shutters can be broadly classified as “non‐engineered” or “engineered.” Non‐engineered shutters are made to inconsistent specifications. Engineered shutters are designed in accordance with specific testing requirements. Use of impact resistant windows should provide a similar reduction in vulnerability as the use of engineered shutters. Impact resistant windows specifically refer to glass assemblies that have passed the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) or International Residential Code (IRC) such as ASTM E1996 or ASTM E1886.
Secondary Water Resistance
Secondary water resistance or protection refers to materials attached over the roof deck which form a barrier to water entering the interior of the structure once the roof coverings are blown away and the roof deck is exposed or breached.
Opening Protection, Insurance Mitigation Credits and Premium Discounts
As an experienced and licensed general contractor in the state of Florida, we are qualified to work with you and your windstorm insurance company to assist with Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits and Premium Discounts in Monroe County. Those who meet the basic requirements to work with you on issues related to construction codes and insurance mitigation credits are state of Florida certified:
Opening protection refers primarily to wind-borne debris protection devices installed to protect structure openings (windows, skylights, doors, shutters, etc.) and Insurance Mitigation Credits and Premium Discounts may be offered to:
Residential condominium units
Buildings used for commercial purposes
Commercial residential apartment and condominium association buildings
If you live in an area that requires Windstorm insurance, you are aware of the often high insurance premiums we must all pay. In order to mitigate this expense, you as a home or business owner have several options available to you. The most effective tactic for reducing your premium is to have a wind mitigation inspection. The following are steps towards obtaining Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits and Premium Discounts.
1) Assess the need for a wind mitigation inspection. With the hurricanes that have battered the southeastern United States, insurers have raised their premiums to high levels. A close inspection of your building for windstorm damage related issues may reduce your premiums by up to 45%.
2) Understand the effects of high winds to your building. In hurricanes and windstorms your building is exposed to a number of different forces. They simultaneously create uplifting, shearing and lateral forces that can cause massive destruction. Wind-blown debris can destroy windows, doors, roofs, skylights and other openings that allow water in which causes severe damage to the interior. The high winds can also blow debris onto and into the home, further destroying the property.
3) Determine if you already have features in place that qualifies for wind loss mitigation certification. In Florida, homes built after 1994 in Broward or Miami-Dade counties and homes built after 2002 in the rest of Florida typically have wind damage mitigation features already built in, such and impact windows and doors, impact resistant skylights and hurricane shutters. This means that many homes fall under this category and already qualify for some discounts in their windstorm insurance payments.
4) Develop a plan to mitigate insurance premiums. The best action to take at this point is to contact someone who understands the entire process and what is required for you to obtain these windstorm insurance credits. As mentioned earlier, Florida state certified architects, engineers, general contractors and home inspectors have some knowledge to assist you. However, many of these professionals have very limited experience in dealing with insurance companies. For Hurricane Management Group, we are a certified Florida General Contractor and we deal with insurance issues on a daily basis. We are one of a very small list of qualified professionals who understands the entire process, provides you with the information needed to make your decisions and installs the necessary products that reduce windstorm damage.
5) Determine the costs to savings benefit. Wind mitigation inspection fees are very reasonable and quickly recouped by the monthly savings. The other major cost is that of installation expenses. Contact us in Monroe County at (305) 330-5511 and we can assist you in determining the costs related to the installation of proper windows, doors, skylights and shutters.
6) Know what to expect from a windstorm insurance mitigation inspection. During a wind mitigation inspection, a certified expert inspector will come to your property and look for key features to determine the potential of wind-related damage. Features such as concrete block construction, the presence of gable end bracing, a hip roof, the presence of a single or double roof straps, the presence of a secondary water resistance barrier, or shutter and opening protection may all qualify a home for windstorm insurance mitigation credits. Since these types of structures suffer less wind damage, the insurers are willing to lower their fees. The state of Florida mandates that insurance companies reduce their rates for certain building with wind mitigation features.
Service Area for Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection
Broward County Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection
Collier County Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection
Miami-Dade County Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection
Monroe County Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection
Palm Beach County Windstorm Insurance Mitigation Credits: Opening Protection