TDI windstorm inspectors help consumers along coast

WASHINGTON (June 14, 2017) –- (RealEstateRama) — Michael Cowen helps homeowners with inspections so they can buy windstorm insurance. He drives hundreds of miles and spends hours on the phone each week talking with homeowners, contractors, and local building officials about inspection requirements.

Cowen may discuss installation of the proper siding for repairs with a customer at one residence.  Or the topic might be the right kind of shingles for a roof repair at another address.

He also gives presentations on the windstorm inspection program. Interest in the program can be higher during hurricane season which began June 1. But it’s also routine for him to talk to neighbors around an inspection site or to employees at the local building supply store about why it makes sense to have windstorm insurance.

“I follow the ‘pay it forward’ idea and hope that the person I give information to about the windstorm program will tell the next person,” said Cowen, who has worked for 17 years as a TDI windstorm inspector.

Cowen works in TDI’s Corpus Christi windstorm office. His coworkers are based in Beaumont, La Marque, and Angleton. Thirteen inspectors and their support staff handle inspections throughout the 14-county area along the coast where windstorm insurance is required.

The inspections are required so homeowners can purchase windstorm insurance. Inspections also can be done by licensed professional engineers appointed by TDI. Some types of inspections require a professional engineer such as inspections for new construction. TDI inspectors mostly examine materials used for new roofs and exterior coverings on a home and make sure they are installed correctly.

“We may not be doing some of these inspections, but we are still here to help educate the homeowner, the contractor, or the engineer,” Cowen said. “We’re also here for the general public.”

Manager Eric Reddoch says inspectors follow a checklist for their visits.

“Their first assignment is to take a photo of the front of the home and to look at the property in detail,” Reddoch said. “They should always make contact with the homeowner or the contractor.”

Once the construction work is approved, the certificate of compliance is sent to the insurer and is available online on TDI’s website.

Cowen said driving to appointments gives him time to think about his job. And he usually is on the lookout for a roof with loose shingles or a repair job that he would have done differently.

“I never stop being a windstorm inspector. Even when I am not at work, I am thinking about it and how to help consumers.”

Homeowner tips for windstorm inspections:

  • Get references when you pick a builder.
  • Make sure your construction contract requires the builder to get the windstorm certificate.
  • Know who the engineer and contractor of record are for the home and how to contact them.
  • Check the TDI website or call 1-800-248-6032 for information about engineers for inspections or approved materials for home repairs.
  • If you are remodeling your home, contact your insurance agent to see if an inspection is required.

For more information, contact: MediaRelations (at) tdi.texas (dot) gov

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