Homebuilding Group believes reinforced roofs could help homeowners during the insurance crisis

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – As insurance premiums rise, the homebuilding industry believes “hardened” roofs can help homeowners as many people are still trying to recover from Hurricane Ida damage.

Yogi Johnson and her sister moved POD boxes into her front yard.

“I don’t want to go through another hurricane in my lifetime,” Johnson said.

Although her roof was not badly damaged by Ida’s winds, repairs were difficult to make. to repair it “One year, even though I called a few days after the storm to be on the list to repair my roof,” Johnson said.

There were anxious days as she waited for her roof to be repaired.

“I didn’t mind waiting, but I just didn’t expect it to be that long and it made me nervous when hurricane season came around again and I still hadn’t done the repairs,” Johnson said.

In another neighborhood, Salvador Mitello said he made most of the necessary repairs on that home himself, but said he knows others who have done worse.

“My daughter lives around the corner, the whole house was flooded, all the floors ruined, everything through it and my nephew right here in this house, basically the same thing and struggling with insurance. Everyone I talk to is struggling with insurance,” Mitello said.

And recovery materials are higher.

Dan Mills is the CEO of the New Orleans Home Builders Association.

“Roofing materials have gone up significantly, especially in our area, because, as you know, Ida has put a huge demand on us. Rooftop square footage is 50% to 60% higher than it was before Ida, so it’s a combination of the supply chain but also the demand in our area,” he said. And lumber costs have increased.

“Lumber prices peaked at $1,600 per thousand linear feet; right now they’re down about $500 per thousand linear feet, but that’s still almost double what it was before the pandemic,” he said.

Mills said some other materials remain difficult to obtain.

“Electrical components like transformers and electrical panels, they’re just in very short supply, but other items are a matter of transport, so taking those items out, so for example things like cement, the transport costs of bringing that cement, the shortage of drivers trucks has really raised those prices as well,” he said.

And given the amount of roof damage caused by Hurricane Ida throughout Southeast Louisiana, there are efforts that will help people get stronger roofs.

“We’re looking to be able to do new things like reinforced roofs that would give us more resilience in the future because insurance costs are around the corner and they’re going to drive up prices as well,” he said.

He says the Louisiana Department of Insurance is involved in the effort.

“We’re working with the Louisiana Department of Insurance and an internal reinforced roof task force and we’re working in conjunction with a group called IBHS [Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety].” Mills said. “What they do is third-party certified for reinforced roofs, which means you can get certified that they’ve exceeded code in our area, and that means they’ve sealed your roof deck before the shingles fall to ensure additional sustainability and our insurance carriers will provide discounts to certified.”

He agrees that more workers are needed.

“We have a new training facility in Kenner that has already graduated about 30 students who are in the trades; at full speed, they will graduate 450 new tradesmen and women throughout the year, and this school operates for free, it’s called the Build Strong academy,” Mills said.

As for Johnson, she expects to be back home soon.

“I’m actually renting a house on this block and I expect to be back in my house by the end of the month, hopefully,” she said.

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