Frequently Asked Questions

The Grant Program

NCIUA's STRENGTHEN YOUR COASTAL ROOF is a pilot program that will provide grants up to $6,000 for roof replacement with an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™. This program is open to eligible policyholders with coastal properties (rating territories 130, 140, 150 and 160).

Eligible policyholders can apply online between September 30, 2022 and November 30, 2022. Once submitted, if the number of approved applications exceeds the available grant funds, all applications will be included in a lottery pool to be randomly selected to continue the grant process.

Once the lottery is completed, if there are available grants to be awarded, the grant program may be re-opened for eligible insureds to apply on a first come, first-served basis until all grants have been awarded.

Recipients will have until July 31, 2024 to install their FORTIFIED Roof.

Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Dorian, and Hurricane Isaias were the latest reminders that strong roofs are front-line defenders against high winds and severe rain. When a roof fails, it can initiate a cascade of damage to both a home's interior and its structure. According to IBHS, in most years, roof-related damage is responsible for 70-90 percent of total insured residential catastrophic losses, depending on specific weather events. As startling as that statistic may be, it fails to capture the gravity of the human consequences and loss that results from roof failures—damaged homes and businesses disrupt daily life, derail careers, and destroy financial security. That's why it is critical for homeowners and communities to protect roofs from the effects of severe weather.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communication organization supported solely by property and casualty insurers and reinsurers that conduct business in the United States.

Convinced that the continuing cycle of human suffering that strikes families and communities in the wake of severe weather can be broken, IBHS is a team of scientists and risk communicators who deliver strategies to build safer and stronger homes and businesses.

FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen against specific types of severe weather such as high winds, hail, hurricanes and even tornados.

Stronger Edges:
Roof damage often begins when wind gets underneath the roof edge and rips it away from the home. To help protect this vulnerable area, FORTIFIED requires specific materials and installation methods, including a wider drip edge and a fully adhered starter strip, that when used together create a stronger system.

Sealed Roof Deck:
If wind rips off roof covering―such as shingles, metal panels, or tiles―it exposes the wood beneath and allows water to pass through the gaps and enter the home. FORTIFIED requires roof decks to be sealed to prevent this type of water damage. In fact, a sealed roof deck can reduce potential water intrusion by more than 95 percent compared to a standard roof, dramatically lowering the possibility a homeowner will be forced from their home for an extended period of time, even if the roof covering is damaged.

Better Attachment:
Instead of common smooth nails, FORTIFIED requires ring-shank nails, installed in an enhanced pattern, to help keep the roof deck attached to the home in high winds. In fact, using ring-shank nails nearly doubles the strength of the roof against the forces of winds.

Please visit FortifiedHome.org/Research to learn more about IBHS.

A pilot program is a trial intended to evaluate new program success. With the launch of the new Strengthen Your Coastal Roof program, NCIUA is gathering statistical information on the program to help design future programs to benefit our policyholders.

Since this is a pilot program, the NCIUA will use the collected data to design future programs for its policyholders. We have partnered with multiple universities to assist with data analysis.

For example, the North Carolina State University Institute for Advanced Analytics analyzed NCIUA claims data from Hurricanes Dorian, Florence, Matthew, and Isaias. It confirmed that a FORTIFIED Roof increased the resiliency of a home and, when the home was damaged, reduced the severity of the damage.

NCIUA is also working with the following universities to assist with research on disaster mitigation, construction, resilience, preparedness, and grant effectiveness: North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Appalachian State University, University of Delaware, Cornell University, and University of California. None of these institutions are charging for their time and effort.

The Grant

The grant maximum amount is $6,000. However, if the entire cost of installing a FORTIFIED Roof is less than $6,000, the grant amount will be limited to the total cost of the roof.

Eligible policyholders can apply online between September 30, 2022 and November 30, 2022. Once submitted, if the number of approved applications exceeds the available grant funds, all applications will be included in a lottery pool to be randomly selected to continue the grant process.

Once the lottery is completed, if there are available grants to be awarded, the grant program may be re-opened for eligible policyholders to apply on a first come, first-served basis until all grants have been awarded.

Recipients will have until July 31, 2024 to install their FORTIFIED Roof.

Currently, grant funds carry a tax liability. The policyholder accepts responsibility for all tax liability associated with the receipt of the grant. NCIUA will require a completed W-9, which is a request for the policyholder's taxpayer identification number. The policyholder should consult with a tax advisor regarding any tax implications.

NCIUA continues to support legislation that would protect North Carolina residents who receive state based Strengthen Your Coastal Roof grants from having to pay federal income tax on the grant money they receive. NCIUA encourages bipartisan legislation to ensure consistent federal tax treatment for grants received by homeowners for mitigation work and encourages state-based mitigation and resiliency programs.

Once an application is approved and selected to continue with the grant process, policyholders have until July 31, 2024 to complete the installation of a FORTIFIED Roof.

Eligibility

NCIUA Homeowners, Homeowners Windstorm or Hail, and Dwelling Windstorm or Hail policyholders with Coverage A (Building coverage) property along the coast (rating territories 130, 140, 150, and 160). Policyholders must have a current, eligible policy that was effective on or before September 1, 2022.

Dwelling Full Peril Policies are not eligible in rating territories 130, 140, 150, and 160 for the Grant as the pilot program is a NCIUA initiative and Dwelling Full Peril policies are written in the NCJUA (FAIR Plan).

Rating territories are established by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. In general, these territories include the following counties: Beaufort, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington, except that "Coastal Area" does not include the portions of these counties that lie within the Beach Area, all as specified in G.S. 58-45-5(2b).

NCIUA determines initial eligibility for the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Program. IBHS will determine if the home is eligible for a FORTIFIED Roof™.

Some types of properties that may be ineligible include condominiums, co-ops, attached dwellings (including, but not limited to, townhomes, duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes), multi-unit residential buildings, residential portions of mixed-use buildings, and commercial buildings. Residential properties must meet eligibility criteria described in the 2020 FORTIFIED Standard and associated technical documents as published by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

In general, multi-unit residential buildings can present design and ownership concerns due to shared systems that may be present (e.g., roof systems that cover multiple units). Other construction design elements or building techniques, such as roof structural members spaced more than 24 inches apart (Section 2.5, p. 13 2020 FORTIFIED Home Standard ), roofs with gapped roof decking (Standard Detail F-RR-5), flat roof systems, vaulted ceilings limiting access to the attic, roof-top decks (Technical Bulletin FH 2022-03), and dry-stack foundations (Section 2.3, p. 10 2020 FORTIFIED Home Standard), can make a property ineligible.

These lists are not exhaustive, and if there are questions concerning eligibility, please visit the IBHS website (fortifiedhome.org/technical-documents/) and review the technical documents referenced above.

Not all mobile homes and manufactured homes (HUD Homes) are eligible. To be eligible, certain criteria must be met. At a minimum, the home must: have been constructed after July 13, 1994; meet IBHS foundation and building requirements; and have a HUD Zone III designation. Photographs from underneath the home showing its foundation will be required during the eligibility determination phase.

Detailed HUD Home Requirements can be found in Section 2.4, p. 12 2020 FORTIFIED Home Standard.

The 2020 FORTIFIED Home Standard can be found at fortifiedhome.org/technical-documents.

HUD homes need to have the following provided to aid in determining eligibility for a FORTIFIED Roof™ designation:

1. Pictures from underneath the home showing that the home is connected to the home or its chassis to a slab or footings supporting the walls, piers, or columns.

2. A picture of the home’s HUD data label. This is usually mounted to the exterior of the home.

Example


3. A legible picture of the home’s HUD Data Plate. A HUD data plate is a paper label that contains other important information including a map of the U.S. and information about the wind zone, snow load, and roof load of the home.

Example

FORTIFIED ROOF

A FORTIFIED Roof meets a specific standard, which was designed after decades of research to provide greater protection from natural disasters.

Stronger Edges:
Roof damage often begins when wind gets underneath the roof edge and rips it away from the home. To help protect this vulnerable area, FORTIFIED requires specific materials and installation methods, including a wider drip edge and a fully adhered starter strip, that when used together create a stronger system.

Sealed Roof Deck:
If wind rips off roof covering―such as shingles, metal panels, or tiles―it exposes the wood beneath and allows water to pass through the gaps and enter the home. FORTIFIED requires roof decks to be sealed to prevent this type of water damage. In fact, a sealed roof deck can reduce potential water intrusion by more than 95 percent compared to a standard roof, dramatically lowering the possibility a homeowner will be forced from their home for an extended period of time, even if the roof covering is damaged.

Better Attachment:
Instead of common smooth nails, FORTIFIED requires ring-shank nails, installed in an enhanced pattern, to help keep the roof deck attached to the home in high winds. In fact, using ring-shank nails nearly doubles the strength of the roof against the forces of winds.

  • Strength: Superior performance in the face of severe weather
  • Savings: Insurance premium discounts
  • Value: Research suggests enhanced resale value
  • Security: Comfort knowing that your roof is built to higher standards

A FORTIFIED Roof™ designation is written certification that a home or business has been built, renovated, or re-roofed according to FORTIFIED standards. The document is issued by IBHS after a review of the documentation provided by a FORTIFIED Evaluator and is required in order to receive FORTIFIED insurance discounts and to qualify for mitigation credits.

A FORTIFIED Roof™ designation lasts 5 calendar years. At the end of that period, a re-designation inspection will be required to maintain the home or business's current designation level. If there have been no substantial changes to the structure and the roof covering is within its life expectancy, the designation will be re-issued for another 5-year period.

First, you have made an important decision to significantly lower your risk of financial loss and disruption by having a FORTIFIED Roof installed. Next, your designation needs to be renewed every 5 years. Your certificate will have an expiration date in the lower right corner. That date is important. Redesignation evaluations must be completed by the expiration date, to avoid losing mitigation credits and to prevent a longer re-inspection process.

Yes! Changes to your home can interfere with this system of protection and leave it vulnerable. For instance, installing solar panels, replacing a skylight, attaching an awning, building a roof mounted deck, even installing a satellite dish on top of the roof without adequate anchorage or proper sealing gives storms a pathway into your home. That will jeopardize your FORTIFIED designation and any insurance discount it provides. Larger modifications such as tying a covered porch into your roof or installing or partially installing a new roof can have even bigger impacts on your home’s resilience to storms.

To guard against modifications or additions jeopardizing your home’s protection from severe weather, be sure to contact a FORTIFIED Evaluator BEFORE making the changes. The evaluator can help you understand what details need attention and what documentation may be required so you can make the improvements while keeping your home safe and FORTIFIED-compliant.

While lab and real-world experience have proven FORTIFIED to be remarkably effective at limiting storm damage, some FORTIFIED homes may experience damage during extreme weather. For example, even the best shingles, metal, and tile have limitations, and that often means there will be roof cover loss during high wind events. However, the sealed roof deck, required by the FORTIFIED standards, will help to minimize the damage, or prevent it from escalating. Additionally, there are times when Mother Nature strikes in ways that go beyond the limits of FORTIFIED. For example, although FORTIFIED has been tested against 130 mph winds and wind-driven rain, it cannot make a roof immune to damage from falling trees. It is therefore important that if you have damage to your FORTIFIED Roof, you engage a FORTIFIED Evaluator to help ensure any repairs comply with the FORTIFIED standard so that your FORTIFIED Roof™ designation stays active.

For details visit https://fortifiedhome.org/repair/

How to Apply

The policyholder can visit StrengthenYourCoastalRoof.com or call the dedicated NCIUA staff at 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862).

Yes. Please call the dedicated NCIUA staff at 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862).

Contractors and Roofers

For the policyholder's convenience, the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Program provides a list of Participating Contractors who are experienced and knowledgeable about IBHS and the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ program. The list of Participating Contractors, along with counties they serve, can be found on the StrengthenYourCoastalRoof.com website. Policyholders may select a contractor from this listing or a contractor of their choice to work directly with the assigned FORTIFIED Evaluator.

The policyholder may solicit bids from multiple contractors. The selected contractor will work with a FORTIFIED Evaluator who will confirm that the roof has been built to the FORTIFIED standard. When the roof is complete, the FORTIFIED Evaluator will send documentation to IBHS for review. If the FORTIFIED standards have been met, IBHS will issue an official five-year designation certificate, which may be renewed.

Yes. If a policyholder would like to select a contractor who is not on the list, please call 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862).

If a contractor wants to participate in the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Pilot Grant Program, the contractor can send an email to NCRoofs@ncjua.com or call 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862).

When a policyholder is ready to finalize the contractor decision, they can make the selection on the StrengthenYourCoastalRoof.com website.

Participating Contractors are insured, experienced in IBHS construction and understand NCIUA's grant program.

NOTE: NCIUA does not guarantee any work performed by Participating Contractors or FORTIFIED Evaluators. In addition, NCIUA does not guarantee the quality or performance of any service performed or materials used on the roof. NCIUA does not warranty any workmanship by any Participating Contractor or FORTIFIED Evaluator.

Yes. Contractors may use their own bid sheets to provide an initial FORTIFIED Roof replacement quote to the policyholder. NCIUA will contact the contractor to ensure he or she understands the grant process and the role of the FORTIFIED Evaluator. NCIUA will also send the contractor the IBHS Bid Sheet, an IBHS Re-roofing Checklist, and an IBHS Compliance Form. It is important to remind the contractor not to begin work until an approved FORTIFIED Evaluator has been assigned.

It may be helpful to ask your contractor to separate the FORTIFIED upgrade cost from the basic roof replacement. Separating the cost of the FORTIFIED upgrade from the basic roof replacement will assist you in understanding the savings associated with the grant.

Work may begin when the FORTIFIED Evaluator is assigned and has coordinated the installation process with the selected contractor. It is the responsibility of the homeowner and contractor to make sure that the FORTIFIED Evaluator is notified in a timely manner. It is critical to have the Evaluator be part of the process from the beginning to help ensure all elements required to obtain the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation have been reviewed.

Evaluators

FORTIFIED Evaluators are third-party contractors who document the construction process to provide information to IBHS for verification that the FORTIFIED standards have been met. The evaluator will be onsite a limited amount of time and will rely on the homeowner and the contractor to provide some of the documentation required to apply for the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation from IBHS.

The FORTIFIED Evaluator will provide guidance throughout the entire process of replacing the current roof with an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™. The FORTIFIED Evaluator works with the policyholder and contractor to successfully receive the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation.

The FORTIFIED Evaluator is assigned once the policyholder has been accepted into the Grant Program and has selected their contractor. The steps below provide additional information on how the FORTIFIED Evaluator is assigned.

Policyholder Requests Bid(s) from Contractor(s)

Once the policyholder has been accepted into the Grant Program, they will select bid(s) from contractor(s) through the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard.

Contractor Uploads Bid(s) and Provides Preferred Evaluator (If Applicable)

The contractor receives notification that the policyholder has requested a bid. The contractor logs in to the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard to upload a bid sheet for the policyholder. The contractor may identify if they have a preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator for the construction project. If the contractor does not have a preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator, the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof team will have one assigned.

Policyholder Accepts Bid and Provides Preferred Evaluator Approval (If Applicable)

The policyholder logs in to the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard to review the contractor(s) bid(s) and the preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator for the construction project. At this time, the policyholder may select their contractor as well as provide approval for the FORTIFIED Evaluator.

If the policyholder does not wish to use the contractor’s preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator, the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof team will contact the policyholder to discuss Evaluator assignment.

Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Team Reviews Selected Bid and FORTIFIED Evaluator Approval

Once the policyholder has selected their contractor and provided approval of the FORTIFIED Evaluator, the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Team will notify the FORTIFIED Evaluator that their assistance is requested for a construction project.

FORTIFIED Evaluator Accepts Construction Project

The FORTIFIED Evaluator will review the construction project and will send the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant team acknowledgement of assignment.

Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Team Assigns FORTIFIED Evaluator to Construction Project

The Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Team will assign the FORTIFIED Evaluator to the policyholder’s dashboard and the policyholder and contractor will receive email notification of the FORTIFIED Evaluator assignment.

The Application and Re-Roofing Process

Application
  • Policyholder - The policyholder will submit the grant application through the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof website within the application period. The policyholder will check eligibility by selecting “Check Initial Eligibility” button on the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof website.
    • The policyholder will be prompted to create a user log in and confirm their account.
    • Once their account is completed, the policyholder can log in to their account to fill out the application.
    • The grant application requires at least four photographs: one of each side of the home. During the application review process, additional photos may be needed in order to determine eligibility. The Grant Team will reach out to the policyholder if additional photos are necessary.
Review
  • NCIUA Grant Team - NCIUA reviews the application for pre-eligibility.
  • IBHS - IBHS reviews the application to verify that the property is eligible for an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™.
  • NCIUA - Once IBHS has approved the application, if the number of approved applications exceeds the grant funds, all applications will be included in a lottery pool to be randomly selected to continue with the grant process. Once the lottery is completed, if there are available grants to be awarded, the grant program may be re-opened for eligible policyholders to apply on a first come, first-served basis until all grants have been awarded.
Construction
  • Policyholder - After the application is approved, the policyholder requests bid(s) from contractor(s) through the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard.
    • The policyholder can decide how many bids to obtain.
    • NCIUA provides a list of contractors who are experienced and knowledgeable about IBHS and the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ Program.
    • If the policyholder would like to choose a contractor not on the list, they may email NCRoofs@ncjua.com or call 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862) to coordinate an alternative selection.
  • Contractor - The contractor receives notification that the policyholder has requested a bid. The contractor logs in to the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard to upload a bid sheet for the policyholder. At this time, the contractor may recommend a preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator for the construction project. The Policyholder will be required to approve the use of the Contractor’s preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator.
  • Policyholder - The policyholder logs in to their Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard to review the contractor(s) bid(s) and select their desired contractor. If the selected contractor has a preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator for the construction project, the policyholder is required to provide approval.
    • If the contractor does not have a preferred FORTIFIED Evaluator, the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof Grant Team will have one assigned.
    • If the policyholder wishes to use a different FORTIFIED Evaluator from their contractor’s, please email NCRoofs@ncjua.com or call 1-877-GRANTNC (877-472-6862) for assistance.
  • NCIUA Grant Team - Once the policyholder has selected their contractor and FORTIFIED Evaluator, the FORTIFIED Evaluator will be notified of the new assignment.
  • FORTIFIED Evaluator - Upon receipt of the assignment, the FORTIFIED Evaluator will be required to accept the assignment via email.
    • The FORTIFIED Evaluator will be assigned to inspect the property and collect details before, during, and after the project to verify the roof materials and construction meet FORTIFIED standards so an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation can be awarded.
  • NCIUA Grant Team - Once the FORTIFIED Evaluator has acknowledged the new assignment, an email will be sent to the policyholder and contractor providing the evaluator’s contact information.
    • No work should begin until all parties have been in communication.
  • Policyholder, FORTIFIED Evaluator & Contractor - The policyholder, evaluator, and contractor are in communication throughout the duration of the construction.
    • After receiving NCIUA and IBHS approval, the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ must be installed before July 31, 2024.
Final Approval
  • FORTIFIED Evaluator - After the construction is complete, the FORTIFIED Evaluator will confirm the roof has been completed per required IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ standards and submit all required documentation to IBHS.
  • IBHS - IBHS reviews the required documentation and provides the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate to the evaluator.
  • FORTIFIED Evaluator & NCIUA Grant Team - The evaluator works with NCIUA to have the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate uploaded to the policyholder's dashboard.
  • Contractor - Once the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate has been awarded, the contractor will receive notification to upload the final invoice to the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard. The Contractor Final Invoice is needed before the policyholder may be paid.
  • Policyholder - When the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate and final invoice from the contractor have been received, the policyholder may log in to their Strengthen Your Coastal Roof dashboard to complete a W-9 to receive grant payment.
Payment
  • NCIUA Grant Team - NCIUA will distribute grant funds to the policyholder only after the following have been submitted to the Association: (1) the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate, (2) a final invoice from the contractor, and (3) a completed W-9 which provides the policyholder's taxpayer identification number (or other necessary tax information).

A bid is not required before or during the application process. The policyholder only needs to complete the application, confirm the policy number, and submit at least 4 photos of the property.

Once the application is approved and the grant is reserved, the policyholder will be notified to request bid(s), select a contractor, and install an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™.

Some homes are not eligible for the grant program. For example, and not by way of limitation, the home must have 7/16-inch minimum roof deck sheathing and 24 inches on center maximum rafter framing. This can be evaluated either by visiting the site or by reviewing photographs of the property (submitted during the application process). Other reasons that a home may be ineligible include homes with significant damage to roof structural members, un-reinforced foundations, or pest damage. This list is not exhaustive.

In some cases, a pre-inspection (at no cost to the policyholder) may be required to determine eligibility for the program.

Once a policyholder meets the eligibility criteria and the application is accepted, NCIUA will reserve up to $6,000 toward the installation of a FORTIFIED Roof to be paid upon completion of the FORTIFIED Roof replacement and receipt of the FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate.

The new IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ must be installed by July 31, 2024. Once the policyholder has submitted all required documentation, the grant funds will be distributed.

If a contractor has not uploaded the bid onto the StrengthenYourCoastalRoof.com website, call the contractor.

If a desired bid has been received, the policyholder does not have to wait until all other requested bids are uploaded to select a contractor.

The policyholder can withdraw the grant application. The grant is only paid when the policyholder has replaced the roof and obtained the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate.

After the FORTIFIED Roof is successfully installed:

  • The evaluator will submit the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ designation certificate.
  • The contractor will submit the final invoice via the website dashboard.
  • The policyholder will submit a completed W-9 form on the Strengthen Your Coastal Roof website.

Open or Existing Claims

The objective of this Grant Program is to assist eligible policyholders who have voluntarily decided to replace their current roofs without having an insured loss for damages requiring a roof replacement. No policyholder can benefit from both the coverage provided by their NCIUA Policy for a FORTIFIED Roof replacement and the Grant Program.

Therefore, if the policyholder experiences a covered loss under a NCIUA policy for roof damage, Association staff will reach out to the policyholder to discuss. The Grant Program may not apply.

Disclaimer: Homes that achieve FORTIFIED Home™ requirements may still sustain damage during severe weather. However, meeting IBHS FORTIFIED Home™ requirements will harden the building systems that are most frequently damaged.