Frequently Asked Questions

The Grant Program

NCIUA's STRENGTHEN YOUR ROOF is a pilot mitigation program that will provide grants up to $6,000 for roof replacement with an IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™. This program is open to eligible Homeowner policyholders with properties on the Outer Banks and Barrier Islands (rating territories 110 and 120).

A limited number of grants are available and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds have been awarded or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to reserve your grant.

Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Dorian, and Hurricane Isaias were the latest reminders that strong roofs are a front-line defender 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, business owners 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.

The FORTIFIED Home™ building standards, developed by IBHS after two decades of scientific research, are a set of voluntary construction upgrades that builders and roofers make to improve a building's resistance to the effects of severe weather. FORTIFIED Roof™ increases the number and strength of the nails used to attach the roof deck to a home, significantly increasing the amount of wind uplift the roof can withstand. The standards also require that edges around the perimeter of the roof have enhanced attachment, strengthening one of the most vulnerable areas of a roof system. Finally, FORTIFIED Roof™ requires the gaps between the roof decking to be sealed, which prevents water from getting into a home, even if shingles are blown off, which is to be expected in hurricane force winds. This 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. FORTIFIED Roof™ is an accessible and affordable way to increase a home's ability to withstand the next storm.

Please visit https://ibhs.org/strategy/overview/ to learn more about IBHS.

This is a pilot program because it is currently 100% funded by NCIUA, small scale, short term, and limited in geographic scope. Currently, this program is limited to the most exposed areas in North Carolina. However, NCIUA has been actively working with legislators and government officials to get the funding needed to allow this program to be offered to more coastal property owners in North Carolina.

The Grant

A limited number of grants (approximately 2,500) will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds have been awarded or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first. Policyholders are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to reserve a 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. In this scenario, the grant amount will be less than $6,000.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to check their eligibility for a grant. Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2021 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds have been awarded or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to reserve your grant.

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 is hopeful the Thompson-Calvert legislation (HR 5494) that is co-sponsored by NC Congressman David Rouzer (7th District) and supported by NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will become federal law. This bill would protect North Carolina residents who receive state-based Strengthen Your Roof grants from having to pay federal income tax on the grant money they receive. This bipartisan legislation ensures consistent federal tax treatment for grants received by homeowners for mitigation work and encourages state-based mitigation and resiliency programs. Congress previously recognized the importance of encouraging and investing in pre-disaster mitigation. In 2005, Congress expressly excluded grants provided through FEMA from federal income tax. This legislation would fix the inconsistency and provide tax parity for residential retrofit grants.

Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2021 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds have been awarded or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first.

Once an application is approved, policyholders have until July 31, 2022 to complete the installation of a FORTIFIED Roof™.

Eligibility

NCIUA Homeowners and Homeowners Wind policyholders with covered property along the Outer Banks and Barrier Islands (rating territories 110 and 120). Policyholders must have a current, eligible policy that was effective on or before January 1, 2021.

NCIUA Dwelling and Dwelling Wind policyholders who live along the Outer Banks and Barrier Islands (rating territories 110 and 120). Policyholders must have a current, eligible policy that was effective on or before January 1, 2021.

Rating territories are established by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. In general, these territories include the area south and east of the Inland Waterway from the South Carolina line to Fort Macon (Beaufort Inlet), thence south and east of Core, Pamlico, Roanoke, and Currituck Sounds to the Virginia line, being those portions of land generally known as the "Outer Banks."

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

Some types of properties that are ineligible include condos, co-ops, townhomes, triplexes, quadplexes, multi-unit residential buildings, residential portions of mixed-use buildings, and commercial buildings. This list is not exhaustive.

Mobile homes and manufactured homes may be eligible. Some of the criteria for eligibility include: constructed after July 13, 1994, meet IBHS foundation and building requirements, and have a HUD Zone IV designation.

FORTIFIED ROOF™

A FORTIFIED Roof™ meets certain quality standards designed to provide greater protection from natural disasters. These roofs involve the use of high wind-rated roof coverings and a sealed roof deck system that reduces the potential for water entering the home by 95%. Roof mounted vents are installed (if applicable) to prevent water intrusion and the roof decking is re-nailed with ring shank nails to double the roof's strength.

  • Strength: Superior performance in the face of severe weather
  • Savings: Insurance premium discounts
  • Value: Research suggests enhanced resale value
  • Affordability: Reasonable costs compared to the benefits of a FORTIFIED Roof™
  • Security: Comfort knowing that your roof is built to higher standards

A FORTIFIED 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.

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.

How to Apply

The policyholder can visit StrengthenYourRoof.com or call the dedicated NCIUA staff at 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637).

Yes. Please call the dedicated NCIUA staff at 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637).

Contractors and Roofers

For the policyholder's convenience, the Strengthen Your 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 website StrengthenYourRoof.com. A policyholder may select a contractor from this listing or a contractor of choice to work directly with the assigned IBHS Evaluator.

The policyholder may solicit bids from multiple contractors. The selected contractor will work with an IBHS Evaluator. The materials and installation will be inspected, photographed, and approved by the IBHS Evaluator. When the roof is completed and IBHS specifications are achieved and approved by IBHS, then IBHS will issue an official five-year certificate which may be renewed.

Yes. If a policyholder would like to select a contractor who is not on the list, please call 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637).

If a contractor wants to participate in the Strengthen Your Roof Pilot Grant Program, the contractor can send an email to NCROOFS@ncjua.com or call 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637).

When a policyholder is ready to finalize the contractor decision, they can log into the StrengthenYourRoof.com website to make the selection.

Participating Contractors are insured and 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 IBHS 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 start work until an approved IBHS Evaluator has been assigned.

Work may begin when the IBHS Evaluator is assigned and has coordinated the installation process with the selected contractor. 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 have been trained to verify and document the construction process to make sure the inspection criteria set forth by IBHS is 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 FORTIFIED designation from IBHS. If IBHS awards the FORTIFIED designation, NCIUA will then finalize the grant.

Once the policyholder has been accepted into the Grant Program, IBHS will assign a FORTIFIED Evaluator to the policyholder to provide guidance throughout the entire process of replacing the current roof with a FORTIFIED Roof™ The FORTIFIED Evaluator works with the policyholder and contractor to successfully receive the FORTIFIED Roof™ designation.

The FORTIFIED Evaluator will be assigned once the policyholder has selected a contractor.

The Application and Re-Roofing Process

Application
  • Policyholder - The policyholder will submit their grant application through the Strengthen Your Roof website within the application period.
    • The grant application requires at least four photographs of each side of home.
    • Grants are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If funding is exhausted prior to December 31, 2021, the application will be added to a waiting list.
Review
  • NCIUA - NCIUA reviews the application for pre-eligibility.
  • IBHS - IBHS reviews the application to verify that the property is eligible for a FORTIFIED Roof™. Once IBHS approves the application, the grant funds are reserved for the policyholder.
Construction
  • Policyholder - Once approved, the policyholder will request bid(s) from contractor(s) through their Strengthen Your 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 call 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637) to coordinate an alternate selection.
  • Contractor - The contractor receives notification that the policyholder has requested a bid. The contractor logs in to their Strengthen Your Roof dashboard to upload a bid sheet for the policyholder.
  • Policyholder - The policyholder will log in to their Strengthen Your Roof dashboard to review the contractor(s) bid(s) and select their desired contractor.
  • Evaluator - Once the contractor has been selected, IBHS will assign an IBHS Evaluator who will inspect the property and collect details before, during, and after the project to verify the roof materials and construction meet FORTIFIED standards so a FORTIFIED Roof™ Designation can be awarded.
    • No work should begin until the evaluator has been assigned and in contact with the policyholder and contractor.
  • Policyholder, 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, 2022.
Final Approval
  • Evaluator - After the construction is complete, the IBHS 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.
  • Evaluator/NCIUA - 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 their final invoice to the Strengthen Your Roof dashboard. The Contractor Final Invoice is needed before the policyholder may be paid.
  • Policyholder - When the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ Certification and final invoice from the contractor have been received, the policyholder may log in to their Strengthen Your Roof dashboard to complete a W-9 to receive grant payment.
Payment
  • NCIUA - NCIUA will distribute grant funds to the policyholder only after the following have been submitted to the Association: (1) the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ Certification, (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).

First, the policyholder should verify that the correct policy number was entered.

Second, if a policyholder has already created a login, they should select "Returning User: Login" instead of re-entering their policy number and zip code.

Finally, if the policyholder is still experiencing issues, please call the dedicated NCIUA staff at 1-844-NCROOFS (844-627-6637).

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 relevant 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 to be paid at the completion of the FORTIFIED Roof™ replacement and receipt of the FORTIFIED designation certificate.

The new IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™ must be installed by July 31, 2022. Once the policyholder has submitted all required documentation, the grant funds will be distributed.

If a contractor has not uploaded the bid onto the StrengthenYourRoof.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 their website dashboard.
  • The policyholder will submit a completed W-9 form on the Strengthen Your Roof website.

Open or Existing Claims

Full roof replacement: If the policyholder experiences a covered loss under an NCIUA policy that ultimately results in payment by NCIUA to replace the entire roof covering, this Grant Program will not apply. However, policy endorsement PF 01 06, which is automatically included on policies written in territories 110 and 120, may apply. If so and if elected by the policyholder, NCIUA may pay up to $5,000 for the policyholder to upgrade the roof to the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof™, subject to policy terms and conditions.

Partial roof replacement: If the policyholder experiences a covered loss under an NCIUA policy of less than 51% to the roof covering, NCIUA will pay to replace or repair the covered damage to the roof, subject to policy terms and conditions. In this scenario, policy endorsement PF 01 06 does not provide coverage for an IBHS upgrade. However, the policyholder may apply for a grant under this pilot program.

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.