Study Finds Louisiana Making Substantial Efforts to Improve Quality of Building Codes

September 23, 2010

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana has developed and implemented a more comprehensive and stronger building code than Mississippi and Alabama, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). The organization conducted a comparative analysis on the quality of building codes in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi taking into consideration the levels of development, implementation and enforcement of building codes prior to and five years after Hurricane Katrina.

IBHS noted that Louisiana legislators were able to put politics aside and pass a uniform construction code that does an exceptionally better job in protecting residence from future storm losses than the other two states that also suffered significant damage from Katrina. The Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code was passed several months after the hurricane during the first special legislative session in November 2005.

“Louisiana’s decision to adopt a stricter construction code after the 2005 Hurricanes exemplified the state’s commitment to rebuilding safer and stronger,” said Jim Harris, spokesperson for Gulf State Insurance Information Center. “It is encouraging to see the state receive the recognition it deserves for having one of the best building codes in the nation. We have weathered several hurricanes since 2005 and many homes were able to withstand damage because their homes were built to a higher construction standard.”

In addition to the uniform construction code, the Department of Insurance and the Louisiana Legislature have worked together to encourage homeowners to strengthen their homes against damage from future storms and hurricanes by offering mitigation incentives, which include:

- Insurance premium discounts for homeowners who build or retrofit a structure to comply with the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code, or installs mitigation improvements demonstrated to reduce the amount of loss from a windstorm or hurricane.

- Tax deductions for voluntarily retrofitting an existing residential structure to bring it into compliance with the new building code.

IBHS is a nonprofit, research organization funded by property insurers and reinsurers. The organization performs research on the social and economic effects of natural disaster and advocates modern construction, maintenance, and preparation practices proven to be better equipped for natural disasters. For more information on the building code report and the organization visit http://www.disastersafety.org

The Gulf State Insurance Information Center (GSIIC) is a project sponsored by property and casualty insurers to provide Louisiana consumers, the media, and public policymakers with accurate and useful information on auto, homeowners and business insurance. For more information, please visit www.gulfstateinsurancecenter.org

For additional information on Louisiana’s residential storm mitigation incentives, please visit http://www.ldi.louisiana.gov.

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