According to Claims magazine, a recent report by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) makes 23 recommendations for improving the design, construction, maintenance and operation of residential and commercial structures, bridges, utilities and other infrastructure in areas of the country vulnerable to hurricanes. According to National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies senior state affairs manager David Reddick, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita would have caused less damage had the Gulf Coast states instituted stronger building codes. Among other things, the NIST report suggests forcing roofing contractors to be licensed at the state or local level; banning gravel roofs in high-wind zones; requiring electrical systems and generators to be located above flood level; and ensuring that masonry walls are anchored and reinforced.        EC