Carolyn Kousky

Executive Director
Wharton Risk Center

Contact information:

Carolyn Kousky is Executive Director at the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also directs the Policy Incubator.  Dr. Kousky’s research examines multiple aspects of disaster insurance markets, disaster finance, climate risk management, and policy approaches for increasing resilience. She has published numerous articles, reports, and book chapters on the economics and policy of climate risk and disaster insurance markets, and is routinely cited in media outlets including NPR, The New York Times, and The Financial Times, among many others. She is the recipient of the 2013 Tartufari International Prize from the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. She is the vice-chair of the California Climate Insurance Working Group, a university fellow at Resources for the Future, a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute, and a member of the Roundtable on Risk and Resilience of Extreme Events at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She has a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Bradt, J., C. Kousky, and O. Wing (forthcoming). “Voluntary Purchases and Adverse Selection in the Market for Flood Insurance.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Kousky, C., L. Shabman, and H. Wiley (2021). “Can Parametric Microinsurance Improve the Financial Resilience of Low-Income Households in the United States?Economics of Disasters and Climate Change.

Kousky, C., B,. Fleming, and A. Berger, eds. (2021). A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Kousky, C., H. Kunreuther, S. Xian, and N. Lin (2021). “Adapting our Flood Risk Policies to Changing Conditions.” Risk Analysis.

Netusil, N. R., C. Kousky, S. Neupane, W. Daniel, and H. Kunreuther (2021).  The Willingness to Pay for Flood Insurance. Land Economics. Available at SSRN #3703019

Kousky, C., M. Palim, and Y. Pan (2020). Flood Damage and Mortgage Credit Risk: A Case Study of Hurricane Harvey. Journal of Housing Research, 29:sup1, S86-S120, DOI: 10.1080/10527001.2020.1840131

Wing, O., N, Pinter, P. Bates, and C. Kousky (2020). New Insights into US Flood Vulnerability Revealed from Flood Insurance Big Data. Nature Communications 11: 1444.

Kousky, C. and S. Light (2019). Insuring Nature. Duke Law Journal 69: 323-376.

Kousky, C., L. Ritchie, K. Tierney, and B. Lingle (2019). “Return on Investment Analysis and its Applicability to Community Disaster Preparedness Activities: Calculating Costs and Returns” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 41.

Wilson, M. T. and C. Kousky (2019). “The Long Road to Adoption: How Long Does it Take to Adopt Updated County-Level Flood Insurance Rate Maps?” Risk, Hazards, & Crisis in Public Policy

Kousky, C. (2019). “The Role of Natural Disaster Insurance in Recovery and Risk Reduction” Annual Review of Resource Economics 11(3).

Kousky, C. (2018). “Financing Flood Losses: A Discussion of the National Flood Insurance Program” Risk Management and Insurance Review. 21(1): 11-32.

Kousky, C., P. Raschky, and E. Michel-Kerjan (2018). “Does Federal Disaster Assistance Crowd Out Flood Insurance?Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 87: 150-164.

Kousky, Carolyn (2017).  “Revised Risk Assessments and the Insurance Industry.” In: Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents and Financial Crises.  Cambridge University Press: 55-81.

Kousky, C., and  Shabman, L. (2017).  “Federal Funding for Flood Risk Reduction in the US: Pre-or Post-Disaster?”  Water Economics and Policy3(01), 1771001.

Bin, O., Bishop, J. and C. Kousky (2017). “Does the National Flood Insurance Program have Redistributional Effects?” B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. DOI: 10.1515/bejeap-2016-0321

Kousky, C., B. Lingle, and L. Shabman (2017). “The Pricing of Flood Insurance.” Journal of Extreme Events04, 1750001

Epanchin-Niell, R., C. Kousky, A. Thompson, and M. Walls (2016). “Threatened Protection: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Protected Lands of the Eastern United States.” Ocean and Coastal Management. 137(March 1):118-130.

Kousky, C. (2016).  “Disasters as Learning Experiences or Disasters as Policy Opportunities?  Examining Flood Insurance Purchases after Hurricanes.” Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.12646

Kousky, C. (2016). “Impacts of Natural Disasters on Children.” Future of Children. 26(1):73-92.

Kousky, C. and E. Michel-Kerjan (2015). “Examining Flood Insurance Claims in the United States.” Journal of Risk and Insurance.

Walls, M., C. Kousky, and Z. Chu (2015). “Is What You See What You Get? The Value of Natural Landscape Views.” Land Economics. 91(1): 1-19.

Kousky, C. (2015). A Historical Examination of the Corps of Engineers and Natural Valley Storage Protection: The Economics and Politics of “Green” Flood Control.  Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research. 7(1): 23-40.

Ranson, C. Kousky, M. Ruth, L. Jantarasami, A. Crimmins, and L. Tarquinio (2014). Tropical and Extratropical Cyclone Damages under Climate Change. Climatic Change. 127(2): 227-241.

Kousky, C. and M. Walls (2014). “Floodplain Conservation as a Flood Mitigation Strategy: Examining Costs and Benefits.” Ecological Economics. 104(August):119-128

Kousky, C. and H. Kunreuther (2014). “Addressing Affordability in the National Flood Insurance  Program.” Journal of Extreme Events. (1)1: Article ID 1450001.

Kousky, C. (2014). “Managing Shoreline Retreat: A US Perspective,” Climatic Change. 124(1): 9-20.

Kousky, C. (2014). “Informing Climate Adaptation: A Review of the Economic Costs of Natural Disasters.” Energy Economics.  46: 576-592.

Kousky, C. (2013). “Facts about FEMA Household Disaster Aid: Examining the 2008 Floods and Tornadoes in Missouri.” Weather, Climate, and Society, 5(4): 332-344.

Carolyn oversees policy-related research and policy engagement at the Wharton Risk Center. She directs the Center’s Policy Incubator initiative. The Policy Incubator will draw on lessons from business incubators to help move innovative and visionary ideas to implementable policy through rigorous analysis, stress-testing, and convening. The Incubator will be a thought leader, bringing together diverse partners and sectors to help improve resilience for households and communities against worsening extreme events.

The Hill, Stopping Price Reform Won’t Eliminate Flood Risk. April 2, 2021

NPR, Millions of U.S. Homes Face an Expensive Flooding Threat. March 8, 2021

USA Today, Flood-Prone Homeowners Could See Major Rate Hikes in FEMA Flood Insurance Changes, New Study Finds. February 22, 2021

NPR, A Looming Disaster: New Data Reveal Where Flood Damage is an Existential Threat. February 22, 2021

The Hill, Why Biden Should Launch an Ecosystem Restoration Corps in 2021. December 31, 2020

The New York Times, California Bars Insurers From Dropping Policies in Wildfire Areas. November 5, 2020

Politico, Fannie, Freddie Take a Close Look at Mortgage Risks as Climate Events Multiply.  October 15, 2020

The Hill, Low-Income Households Should be Prioritized After Disasters Strikes. August 31, 2020

BRINK, Why We Need Community-Based Catastrophe Insurance. July 31, 2020

Politico, Insurance for When FEMA Fails. July 14, 2020

USA Today, Millions of Americans Think They’re Safe from Flood Waters.  They Aren’t. June 29, 2020

The New York Times, Rising Seas Threaten An American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage, June 19, 2020

BRINK, Preserving Small Business in the Aftermath of the Coronavirus Catastrophe, May 4, 2020

NPR Marketplace, Where it Rains, It can Flood, February 25, 2020

The Financial Times, Climate Change: Can the Insurance Industry Afford the Rising Flood Risk? February 18, 2020

E&E News, Disaster Insurance for Ecosystems?  Don’t Scoff, Scholars Say, January 31, 2020

The New York Times, California Bans Insurers from Dropping Policies Made Riskier by Climate Change, December 5, 2019

The Wall Street Journal, Insurers Aim to Fill In the Disaster Gap, October 22, 2019

The Daily Beast, The Climate Crisis is Poised to Make Huge Swaths of America Totally Uninsurable, September 15, 2019

Press Play, KCRW, With Global Warming Comes More Disasters, and Insurance Companies are Pulling Out of Risky Areas, August 23, 2019

The New York Times, As Wildfires Get Worse, Insurers Pull Back from Riskiest Areas, August 20, 2019

The Hill, Time for a New Apollo Project: A Climate Friendly Economy, July 27, 2019

Washington Post, Even as Floods Worsen, Midwest Towns Plan New Riverfront Development, July 14, 2019

Wall Street Journal, Is Your Home at Risk of Flooding? The Data is Hard to Find, June 13, 2019

New York Times, Even as Floods Worsen with Climate Change, Fewer People Insure Against Disaster, June 8, 2019

Utility Dive, As California Utilities Falter, Legislators, Governor, Back ‘Tower of Finance’ Solution to Wildfire Costs, April 26, 2019

New York Times, California Governor Seeks to Protect Utilities from the Cost of Wildfires, April 12, 2019

LA Times, To Make Sure Its Utilities Survive Climate Change, California Needs Liability Law Reform, February 25, 2019

BRINK, The Three Maps that Explain Residential Flood Insurance Purchases, September 13, 2018

Bloomberg TV’s “What’d You Miss” on wildfires, August 24th and November 15 and  flood insurance, September 13

Burlington County Times. “Delaware valley Seeing One of the Wettest Years in a Century.” August 15, 2018.

San Diego Union-Tribute. “Study Says California Utilities Should Only Pay for Wildfire if they are Negligent.” August 15, 2018.

WBUR. “Entrench or Retreat? That is the Question on Plum Island.” August 2, 2018

Bloomberg. “Climate Change May Already Be Hitting the Housing Market.” June 18, 2018

The Hill. “Americans Need Better Disaster Relief and Insurance Programs.” Jan. 11, 2018

NPR, Marketplace. “How Hurricane Recovery Makes the Economy Seem Better.” Sept. 27, 2017

The Week. “America’s Flood Epidemic.” Sept. 23, 2017

NPR, All things Considered. “National Flood Insurance Program Will Pay Out Billions for a Few Properties.” Sept. 21, 2017

The Hill. “Look to Caribbean Risk Insurance Model for US Hurricane Recovery.” Sept. 15, 2017

Bloomberg. “Hurricanes Highlight Failure to Enforce Flood Insurance Rules.” Sept. 13, 2017

Fortune. “How We Can Protect Irma and Harvey Victims from Getting Screwed?” Sept. 6, 2017

LA Times.  “Harvey is one of the costliest disasters in U.S. history, and most of the victims have no flood insurance.” Sept. 1, 2017

Fatherly. “Hurricane Harvey Will Cause Long-Term Psychological Damage To Kids.”  Aug. 31, 2017.

CBS Evening News. “Majority of Harvey Flood Victims Don’t Have Flood Insurance, Expert Says.” Aug. 31 2017

Takeaway with WNYC Radio. “Why 80% of Hurricane Harvey Victims Don’t Have Flood Insurance.” Aug. 31, 2017

NPR, All Things Considered. “In Storm-Tossed Houston Area, Most Homeowners Lack Flood Insurance.” Aug. 30, 2017

NPR, Marketplace. “Federal flood insurance program nears its limit in time and money.” Aug. 29, 2017

New York Times. “Homeowners (and Taxpayers) Face Billion in Losses from Havery Flooding” Aug. 29, 2017

Business Insurance. “Harvey Renews Focus on Revoked Flood Risk Management Standard.” Aug. 29, 2017

Washington Post. “Federal flood insurance program in limbo on Capitol Hill as Harvey’s toll mounts.” Aug. 29, 2017

Netusil, N. R. and C. Kousky (2021). The Coming Storm: How U.S. Cities are Managing Stormwater from Increasingly Extreme Rainfall Events. Wharton Risk Center , University of Pennsylvania, August.

Braun, A. and C. Kousky (2021). Catastrophe Bonds. Wharton Risk Center Primer, University of Pennsylvania, July.

Kousky, C. and H. Wiley (2021). Improving the Post-Flood Financial Resilience of Lower-Income Households through Insurance. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief, January.

Bernhardt, A., C. Kousky, A. Reed, and C. Sykes (2021). Community-Based Catastrophe Insurance: A Model for Closing the Protection Gap. Marsh & McLennan Companies and the Wharton Risk Center, February.

Kousky, C., L, Shabman, Z. Linder-Baptie, and E. St. Peter (2020). Perspectives on Flood Insurance Demand Outside the 100-year Floodplain. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. May.

Kousky, C., B. Lingle, H. Kunreuther, and L. Shabman (2019). Moving the Needle on Closing the Flood Insurance Gap. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. February.

Sherman, J. and C. Kousky (2018). Local Solutions to Flood Insurance Affordability: Portland’s Flood Insurance Savings Program. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. November.

Lingle, B. and C. Kousky (2018). Florida’s Private Residential Flood Insurance Market. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. September.

Kousky, C. and H. Kunreuther (2018). A Framework for Managing Catastrophic Risks. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. August.

Kousky, C., K. Greig, B. Lingle, and H. Kunreuther (2018). Wildfire Costs in California: The Role of Electric Utilities. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. August.

Kousky, C. H. Kunreuther, B. Lingle and L. Shabman (2018). Structure of the Residential Flood Insurance Market. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. August.

Kousky, C. and B. Lingle (2018). Residential Flood Insurance in Puerto Rico. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief. March.

Kousky, C. and B. Lingle (2017). The NFIP’s Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage. Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief.  Summer.

Kousky, C. (2017). A Discussion of the National Flood Insurance Program. Policy Brief 17-01.  Resources for the Future. Washington, DC, February.

Kousky, C. (2017). Examining Flood Map Changes in New Jersey.  Prepared for the New Jersey Realtors Governmental Research Foundation.  January.

Kousky, C., B. Lingle and L. Shabman (2017). Understanding the National Flood Insurance Program in New Jersey. Prepared for the New Jersey Realtors Governmental Research Foundation.  January.

Kousky, C., B. Lingle and L. Shabman (2016). NFIP Premiums for Single-Family Residential Properties: Today and Tomorrow. Policy Brief 16-10. Resources for the Future. Washington, DC, September.

Kousky, C., B. Lingle, and L. Shabman (2016). FEMA Public Assistance Grants: Implications of a Disaster Deductible.  Policy Brief 16-04. Resources for the Future. Washington, DC, April.

Kousky, C. and L. Shabman (2015). A Proposed Design for Community Flood Insurance. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, December.

Kousky, C. and L. Shabman (2013). A New Era of Disaster Aid? Reflections on the Sandy Supplemental. RFF Issue Brief 13-05. Resources for the Future. Washington, DC, December.

Kousky, C. and H. Kunreuther (2013). Addressing Affordability in the National Flood Insurance Program. RFF Issue Brief 13-02. Resources for the Future.  Washington, DC, August.

Kousky, C. and E. Michel-Kerjan (2012). Hurricane Sandy, Storm Surge, and the National Flood Insurance Program: A Primer on New York and New Jersey. RFF Issue Brief 12-08.

Kousky, C. and L. Shabman (2012). The Realities of Federal Disaster Aid: The Case of Floods. RFF Issue Brief 12-02.