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Building Stronger Homes in Alabama: Travelers Institute Convenes Experts to Underscore the Benefits of Fortified Homes
Travelers Announces Program to Write Insurance Policies for Coastal Fortified Homes and Provide Incentive for Fortified Homeowners

MOBILE, Ala., Oct 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Travelers Institute today hosted a symposium in Mobile, Ala., part of a series of events to address safety, community development and financial threats posed to coastal areas. The Mitigation Strategies for the Alabama Coastal Region Symposium brought together business, government and community leaders for a discussion that focused on the importance of building homes that are more resilient to natural disasters. At the event, Travelers (NYSE: TRV) announced a pilot program to write insurance policies for fortified homes in Alabama that meet established standards designed to resist the impacts of tropical storm and hurricane winds. Qualifying homes will also be eligible for a credit on their homeowners insurance premium.

"We know homes built to meet these stringent standards are better able to withstand severe weather, and we want to encourage and raise awareness of these smarter building practices," said Eric M. Nelson, Travelers Vice President, Personal Insurance. "Building stronger homes is a key principle of the Travelers Coastal Wind Zone Plan, which is our proposal to improve the availability and affordability of windstorm insurance for homeowners in communities along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Travelers wants to do its part to keep people and their homes as safe as possible."

Nelson served on the panel for the Travelers Institute's mitigation discussion, and was joined by Joan Woodward, Travelers Executive Vice President of Public Policy and head of the Travelers Institute. Woodward emphasized Travelers' ongoing commitment to collaborate with leading national experts, such as the Institute for Business and Home Safety, to research and promote the building of resilient homes in coastal communities.

"There has been significant growth in coastal communities, with more than 50 percent of the population in the United States living within 50 miles of a coastline, which has left U.S. coastlines vulnerable to catastrophic events," said Woodward. "Data proves the dramatic benefits of mitigation strategies, which is why the Travelers Institute aims to keep the mitigation conversation relevant in coastal communities. We're bringing together legislators as well as business and community leaders to develop strategies and solutions for making communities more resilient."

In addition to Nelson and Woodward, the panelists at the Mobile symposium included:

  • Charles M. Angell, Acting Deputy Commissioner & Casualty Actuary, Alabama Department of Insurance;
  • Cliff Barros, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County; and
  • Chad Wilson, Travelers Second Vice President, Personal Insurance.

The community symposium provided a fitting backdrop for Woodward to present a $15,000 grant to the Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County on behalf of the Travelers Foundation to help fund the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home in coastal Baldwin County that will be built to the IBHS Fortified for Safer Living(R) standards. Travelers' support for Habitat for Humanity reinforces the importance of reducing a home's life cycle cost by facilitating access to homes with lower mortgage payments, energy costs, insurance premiums and stronger construction standards.

"Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County takes great pride in helping local families achieve the American dream, and we're grateful for companies like Travelers for helping make that dream come true," said Cliff Barros, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County. "What's more, the Habitat home will be built fortified, as we share the same message as Travelers that a fortified home is a safer home for families and communities."

The Travelers Institute will continue hosting symposia in states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to bring stakeholders together to discuss solutions to create more resilient communities. For more information, visit http://www.travelersinstitute.com.

About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers' senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers' underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information and analysis to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit http://www.travelers.com.

SOURCE: Travelers

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