Low-Income Households Should Be Prioritized After Disaster Strikes

Low-income households too often slip through the cracks of relief and recovery assistance. In many cases, this is by design. Our disaster policies do not provide equitable help, leaving those most in need with insufficient resources to respond and rebuild. Originally posted on The Hill, read this Op-Ed from Carolyn Kousky and Carlos Martin.Read More

Why We Need Community-Based Catastrophe Insurance

As climate change drives up disaster losses, risk transfer tools can help provide financial resiliency to households and communities. Can innovative approaches to disaster coverage help? Originally published by BRINK, read more from Risk Center Executive Director, Carolyn Kousky, and Andy Read of Guy Carpenter.Read More

Rewarding Communities that Build for the Future: A Resilience Policy Score

One step to start encouraging local governments to pay more attention to disaster costs is a community resilience policy score. This could be used by insurers to offer more competitive rates in higher scoring areas, by rating agencies in assessing bond ratings for hazard-prone locations, or by FEMA in allocating disaster aid. Read More

Incentivizing Local Governments to Manage Disaster Risk More Effectively

To effectively reduce federal exposure to disaster losses and simultaneously encourage local governments to better manage their risk and invest more in cost-effective risk reduction measures, FEMA should widely eliminate assistance for the repair and reconstruction of public buildings, exempting small and financially challenged communities that would not otherwise recover.Read More

Does the Coastal Barrier Resources Act Provide a Policy Template to Address Wildfire Risk?

The CBRA prohibits federal financial assistance related to new development in designated coastal barrier areas, forcing private actors to bear the full costs of development. Could a similar approach be used to address escalating wildfire costs? Could Congress designate a “High Wildfire Hazard Resources System” to eliminate federal incentives to develop those lands?Read More

To Make Sure its Utilities Survive Climate Change, California Needs Liability Law Reform

When PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in January, several observers declared the electric utility the first casualty of climate change. But as much as global warming is to blame for PG&E’s financial woes, state policy is equally responsible.Read More

Moving the Needle on Closing the Flood Insurance Gap

In October 2018, the Wharton Risk Center’s Policy Incubator hosted a workshop designed to evaluate policy options for expanding the number of people with flood insurance in the United States. In our most recent issue brief, we present seven approaches that workshop participants felt had the potential to generate substantial increases in take-up rates across the country.Read More

Local Solutions to Flood Insurance Affordability: Portland’s Flood Insurance Savings Program

In a new issue brief, we examine Portland’s Flood Insurance Savings Program in detail, discussing its structure, participants, and impact on flood insurance premiums. We also identify lessons learned that may be useful to other communities struggling with flood insurance affordability and to policymakers considering NFIP reform.Read More

Oregon Improves Agent Knowledge of Flood Insurance

For many people, their insurance agent is the person they turn to for advice on flood insurance. But many insurance agents do not understand flood insurance either. Last month, Oregon became the fifth state in the country to try and improve insurance agent understanding about flood insurance by creating a flood-specific continuing education requirement. Read More

Must Floodplain Buyouts Decrease Tax Revenue?

One frequent challenge is that local government officials are reluctant to offer post-disaster housing buyout programs because buyouts can result in lost property tax revenue: if residents relocate into other jurisdictions and properties are kept as vacant lots, tax revenue falls.  While the potential loss of tax revenue necessarily plays a major role in local level decisions, buyout programs can be designed such that they minimize potential losses or even increase local revenues by coupling the buyouts to strong land-use planning strategies that enhance the community.Read More