The Travelers Foundation, the charitable division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), today announced a new initiative with Habitat for Humanity International and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to invest in the resilience of local communities by building affordable, wind-resistant homes in coastal regions of the United States.
“As an insurer, Travelers has seen firsthand the destruction to homes, businesses and infrastructure caused by extreme wind events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, and the disruptions to families and businesses that result,” said Eric M. Nelson, Travelers’ Vice President of Enterprise Catastrophe and Analysis. “Travelers believes the risk to life and property can be reduced by constructing more resilient homes, developing sound disaster preparedness plans, improving sensible land use planning and enhancing building codes.”
As part of $500,000 in grants provided by the Travelers Foundation in 2012, Travelers sponsored eight pilot Habitat for Humanity builds, which are now underway in Alabama and Mississippi. These homes were constructed in accordance with IBHS’ FORTIFIED construction standards and additional fortified builds are planned in various coastal markets through 2013 and beyond. These construction practices provide practical, meaningful upgrades to strengthen new, as well as existing, structures. Travelers is also funding the development of IBHS training programs and materials to support Habitat affiliates’ efforts to build safer, wind-resistant homes in partnership with low-income families.
“For more than 150 years, Travelers has worked to ensure that millions of Americans are protected when things go wrong,” said Marlene Ibsen, Vice President of Community Relations and CEO of the Travelers Foundation. “In that vein, we are proud to support the Habitat organization both financially and through our large base of employee volunteers in this important endeavor.”“Our partnership with Travelers, supported by IBHS and its FORTIFIED program, helps local Habitat affiliates develop neighborhoods with affordable housing built to withstand increasingly unpredictable weather,” said Lysa Ratliff, Senior Director of Corporate Programs at Habitat for Humanity International. “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Travelers to create affordable housing that addresses specific needs in coastal communities.”