Wind Mitigation is a system for providing insurance discounts or credits for home owners that have certain design and building features. Or, you might have heard of the My Safe Florida Home Program (MSFH) which is similar but in reality different. The confusion is equal in all sides of the equation. From law makers to consumers and agents (real estate and insurance) and inspectors in-between, few people have an understanding of the topic.
This is what I have learned so far..............perhaps you will have something to add.
MSFH is/was (State Legislature to determine) a grants run program for the specific purpose of helping Florida home owners strengthen their homes against a wind storm. The state designated a small number of individuals to inspect conditions of homes that were selected from grant petitions. There is a six page report to document needed updates and the homeowner may be awarded grant monies for the upgrades. The program has awarded way more cash than expected and several interests would rather see it go away. The state has long since discontinued offering the coveted designations for providing MSFH inspection. There is, however, a wind mitigation course offered by the University of Florida, the program MSFH accepts as an approved (only for the MSFG program) inspector. Otherwise it is simply a class for continuing education that no way implies certification or qualification. MSFH officially ends June 2009 and has not awarded any grants for some time. They will service existing applicants until June of 2009.
Born from the attention to wind safety is another Florida state form called the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form or OIR-B1-1802 for short. This form is a two page check list that helps underwriters determine credit points for deduction of premium on home owners insurance. It consists of a standard roof inspection, attic inspection, and window evaluation. Somehow, someway this process has become befuddled with the MSFH confusion. (If anyone knows how - please share). All of a sudden underwriters are changing or "deciding to enforce" qualifying guidelines for approved "wind mitigation inspectors". I now have difficulty knowing if any given carrier/underwriter will arbitrarily decide that I am no longer approved - there is no real standard. Guidelines, again, improperly borrowed from MSFH standards that list General Contractors, Engineers or Architects, Municipal or County Building Inspectors, or accepted qualified inspector. (to be determined by underwriter or agency) as the approved requirements. Offering, suggesting, or advertising a wind mitigation inspection is a risky situation at the moment. It could add value for a seller. It could save the new home owner hundreds on yearly premiums. It might avoid a potential hazard. When used, it does help insurance agents service their clients.
The situation is very Zen like for me. On the dark side, I have faceless risk managers that will never give me a chance to verify my abilities and disrupting existing relationships. On the bright side, I can service agents and companies that know they can rely on my service and expertise and provide their clients with money saving service at a reduced rate, moving them ahead of the competition. Home Inspectors will generally not charge near as much as a GC or PE or the like and getting a city inspector has its own special complications. Given the housing market in Central Florida, this has been a nice way to put bread on the table and help consumers out. It is a win/win except for those larger companies having to give the discounts.
Maybe I just answered my own question.