Feature Story:

Verisk Helps Strengthen Protection against Natural Disasters as a Founder of the IBHS Research Center


Verisk Analytics is among the founders of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s (IBHS) new multi-peril research center, which recently opened in Chester County, South Carolina.

The IBHS Research Center is the only facility of its kind. Capable of recreating several types of windstorms, hailstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires in a controlled environment, the IBHS lab can accommodate full-scale one- and two-story residential and commercial structures in its cavernous test chamber. The lab includes an array of 105 nearly 6-feet-tall electric fans that can create realistic winds up to 140 mph.

Assessing wildfire risk using MODIS

The IBHS Research Center

“The IBHS Research Center is an excellent investment,” says Verisk President and COO Scott Stephenson. “The research produced by IBHS will address hazards like wind, fire, and hail damage to homeowners and help reduce those costs, which helps reduce insurance premiums. And access to such data will help us create new products and services and improve our current offerings to customers.”

The IBHS Research Center will advance building science by enabling researchers to more fully and accurately evaluate various residential and commercial construction materials and systems. The mission of the applied research and training facility is to identify and promote effective methods of property loss reduction and prevention. The scientific research of IBHS will enable significant improvements in residential and commercial structure design, construction, and maintenance.

Testing conducted at the IBHS facility will help to establish clear, scientifically sound benchmarks for disaster-resistant design and construction of buildings, as well as helping to refine current product and system testing standards. The applied research will demonstrate the value, effectiveness, and affordability of better-built structures, as well as enhancing property risk modeling by strengthening the critical relationship between theoretical and actual building performance. Aggressive promotion of findings through release of high-definition video from IBHS tests will also help create consumer demand for reliable, affordable retrofit options for existing homes and businesses.

Assessing wildfire risk using MODIS

Building codes establish minimum acceptable standards to protect people and property. IBHS works on behalf of member companies to ensure that model building codes and industry standards include the latest disaster-resistant features.

“The mission of the IBHS Research Center mirrors our commitment to helping reduce and prevent losses,” adds Stephenson. “Mitigation creates safer communities by reducing loss of life and property damage. It also helps minimize post-disaster disruptions, enhances recovery, and lessens the financial impact on home and business owners, communities, and society as a whole.