Travelers Fortifies Communities

Travelers volunteers lifting up newly constructed wall.

Our Work with IBHS

Travelers is a key sponsor and executive committee board member of IBHS, an independent, nonprofit, scientific research organization tasked with understanding and quantifying the impact of building codes and standards on loss. Over the last decade, IBHS has identified gaps through full-scale laboratory testing at its state-of-the-art facility and influenced changes to existing building code standards and best practices to mitigate potential losses. A 2017 National Institute of Building Sciences study concluded that for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, $6 is saved on future disaster costs. At Travelers, mitigation credits are available for homes designated as FORTIFIED by IBHS.

Resiliency is more important than ever. Extreme wind events like hurricanes and tornadoes can cause severe damage and greatly disrupt families and communities. To help build stronger, more resilient communities, in 2011 we joined forces with Habitat for Humanity®, a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve their homes, and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to build affordable, wind-resistant houses to FORTIFIED HomeTM standards throughout the country. In more recent years, we have also begun working with Smart Home America, Team Rubicon and SBP to further increase capacity for building FORTIFIEDTM in the nonprofit rebuilding sector.

Developed by IBHS, FORTIFIED Home construction practices are designed to help homeowners and communities better weather future storms, including hurricanes, high winds, hail and severe thunderstorms. Building FORTIFIED means exceeding the minimum standards set by building codes for construction techniques and materials. Our partnership shows that by making a few important changes in home construction standards, homes are better able to withstand storms without significantly adding to the cost.

Disasters often disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. The greatest asset of low-income homeowners tends to be their home. And according to the Urban Institute, home equity makes up a disproportionate amount of overall net worth for Black households. After a disaster, however, housing values drastically decrease. When a home is rebuilt, the value is restored, giving the resident more leverage and potential for upward economic mobility.

To date:

  • Nearly 450 FORTIFIED homes for low-income families have been built by Habitat for Humanity, SBP and Team Rubicon across the United States, made possible in part with funding from Travelers.
  • Travelers has supported the construction of nearly 90 FORTIFIED Habitat homes. Numerous Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the country have learned about safer building standards, and many are adopting them as they build new homes for some of America’s most vulnerable families.
  • SBP has completed 320 FORTIFIED homes in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas. Of these homes, 182 were built with funding from Travelers and 47 SBP staff have received FORTIFIED construction training.
  • Funding helped Team Rubicon in its efforts to rebuild 120 homes in Houston (33% of which were built to FORTIFIED standards), 500 roofs in Puerto Rico and 40 homes in Florida.

More About Our Travelers Fortifies Communities Investments


In 2019, Travelers launched a FORTIFIED building pilot program with SBP, a nonprofit organization that works to shrink the time between disaster and recovery. SBP has expanded the work through its SHARE Program, granting funds and training to other rebuilding nonprofits to build to FORTIFIED standards.

Homes built in New Orleans were tested by Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that hit in late August 2021, and the homes held up well, consistent with their design; the SBP roofs withstood the storm compared with others in the neighborhood. Smart Home America, IBHS and other resilience advocacy groups have used these homes as examples of the benefits of FORTIFIED building and to advocate for stronger building codes, which Louisiana adopted in January 2023.

Smart Home America

Smart Home America works to educate leaders, residents and the construction industry about smarter, safer buildings and tested policies, products and techniques that build resilient and sustainable communities. Travelers began a partnership with the organization in 2018 to support the city of Houston in recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Most recently, Travelers funding is supporting the organization’s efforts in Louisiana following the devasting hurricane seasons of 2020 and 2021.

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a nonprofit organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams after disasters. In 2018, Travelers provided funding for Team Rubicon to begin piloting a response-and-rebuilding model aimed at low-attention disasters (LADs) – that is, devastating weather events that affect communities but are not large enough in scale to draw the attention of government, media or philanthropic organizations. Team Rubicon is committed to building its capacity for incorporating FORTIFIED standards into its rebuilding program. Since then, Travelers has provided $1 million in grant funding for the LAD rebuild program.

In 2022, Travelers funding was directed to the rebuild operation in Selma, Alabama –rebuilding 18 homes and putting a FORTIFIED roof on every home that needed a new one. Also in 2022, Travelers entered into a new three-year commitment to provide $1.8 million to LAD rebuilds while also supporting Team Rubicon’s Ready Reserve general operating fund that allows the organization to deploy when disasters strike.

Four Selma FORTIFIED homes, which were built by Team Rubicon to IBHS’s Silver FORTIFIED standard, were in the path of a January 2023 tornado that further devastated this already hard-hit community. The four homes withstood the tornado’s effect with only minor damage, protecting families from loss of life and property.

A FORTIFIED Success Story

Army veteran Cheryl tells how Travelers and Habitat for Humanity helped her build a home that can better withstand hurricanes and storms.

Learn More

Partners in Strength

A partnership with Travelers and Habitat for Humanity shows how building standards can create stronger, storm-resistant homes in coastal communities.

Learn More

More Community

Travelers supports Team Rubicon in deploying emergency response teams while providing veterans with a new sense of purpose, community and identity.

Team Rubicon mobile training center truck parked in a parking lot.

The Travelers Small Business Risk Education program is giving women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs the support and insights they need as they pursue the American dream.

Entrepreneurs in a classroom.

Travelers is dedicated to encouraging all drivers and passengers to set positive examples behind the wheel and help change attitudes about driving habits.

Yellow taxi cab on a busy city street.