Resilience Lab Notes
The Policy Incubator supports novel approaches for increasing resilience through the development of visionary ideas, encouragement of innovative thinkers, and the advancement of workable on-the-ground solutions. Our Resilience Lab Notes analyzes innovative resilience ideas, offers timely policy insights, and introduces the Policy Incubator’s research.
The Policy Incubator and the Insurance Information Institute teamed up to sponsor a “hack-for-resilience” route at this year’s PennApps, the nation’s first student-run college hackathon. In total, 44 teams participated, developing projects to improve various aspects of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. We highlight the top ten here.
While take-up rates in many parts of the country remain low for flood insurance, there are places where many households are insured and, surprisingly, places where most flood insurance is purchased outside of the FEMA-mapped high-risk areas. We offer three findings about residential NFIP purchases as demonstrated in three maps.
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.
Recent Blog Posts:
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
The University of Pennsylvania is home to the world’s first and one of the largest student-run hackathons. Over one weekend in early September roughly 1,200 students converged for PennApps. Over 3,000 students had applied to attend. This year, the Wharton Risk Center’s Policy Incubator and the Insurance Information Institute teamed up to ...Read More
As residents of North Carolina deal with the impacts of Hurricane Florence, many communities in the United States are still recovering from the 2017 hurricane season, one of the most devastating in history. Read More
Florida homeowners are extremely vulnerable to flood damage, yet many of those at risk are uninsured. Drawing on our recent report, The Emerging Private Residential Flood Insurance Market in the United States, our newest issue brief describes the Florida market and the measures the state has taken to support its growth. Read More
While take-up rates in many parts of the country remain low for flood insurance, there are places where many households are insured and, surprisingly, places where most flood insurance is purchased outside of the FEMA-mapped high-risk areas. We offer three findings about residential NFIP purchases as demonstrated in three maps. Read More
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
How does coastal flood risk impact home prices? The answer depends, in part, on how buyers and sellers perceive flood risk. In a recent NBER working paper, Laura Bakkensen and Lint Barrage examine the potential impact of heterogeneous beliefs about flood risk on housing market price dynamics, given a hypothetical increase in flood risk. Read More
Drawing on our recent report, The Emerging Private Residential Flood Insurance Market in the United States, our newest issue brief describes the key players and structure of the residential flood market. Read More
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 ...Read More
On June 14th, The Wharton Risk Center’s Policy Incubator received the Julio Castelo Matrán International Insurance Award from Fundación MAPFRE, a Madrid-based non-profit foundation committed to human well-being and social progress. Presented biennially, the €30,000 award recognizes projects that foster economic stability and solidarity through insurance and/or social protection. Read More
St. Louis’ Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) District oversees planning and execution of a network of trails and open spaces designed to link rivers, parks, and communities throughout the St. Louis region. Although not established with climate adaptation as an objective, this approach to conservation, often targeted at riparian corridors, has created natural infrastructure that ...Read More
Flood insurance in Puerto Rico has attracted media and policymaker attention since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island in late summer 2017. In a new issue brief, we examine recent trends in Puerto Rico’s residential flood market, documenting the flood insurance gap and examining the role of the private sector. Read More
In a recent study, the Risk Center’s Howard Kunreuther and Marilyn Montgomery calculate structure-specific, risk-based flood insurance premiums for nearly 12,000 North Carolina homes and compare them to current NFIP rates. Their findings underscore the importance of developing accurate flood hazard maps to price insurance effectively and communicate flood risk. Read More
In undertaking the reauthorization of the NFIP, Congress should bear in mind two guiding principles for insurance. In addition, with increased knowledge of consumer behavior, a behavioral risk audit provides strategies that will nudge and incentivize individuals to make decisions that will ultimately reduce their future flood-related losses. Read More
Last year set records for natural disaster damages in the United States. NOAA estimates total damages from the 2017 events were over $300 billion. The U.S. experienced not one, not two, but three land falling hurricanes. Hurricane Harvey set a record for rainfall. The wildfires in California were some of the costliest the state has ...Read More
Sea level rise threatens coastal communities around the world, but it is unclear if local governments and homeowners will be willing to invest in flood protection measures before it is too late. In a recent study, Co-Director Bob Meyer and colleagues explore the likely effects of sea level rise on South Florida’s adaptation efforts through ...Read More
SiriusXM Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School recently had a segment on the Cape Town water crisis. Host Don Loney of the Knowledge@Wharton show discussed the current situation in Cape Town and what it tells us about the future of water in a changing climate with guests Carolyn Kousky of the Wharton Risk Center, Kevin ...Read More
Two goals should be at the top of our policy agenda: closing the disaster insurance gap and closing the risk reduction gap. These gaps refer to the facts that many people do not have disaster insurance and much cost-effective risk reduction has not been undertaken. Read More
2017 proved to be one of the costliest disaster years on record. Total damages in the US for the year are estimated to exceed $300 billion. Insured losses for all natural disasters in 2017 will total around $135 billion. Do events like these cause (re)insurers to update their risk assessments? How do firms, consumers, and government ...Read More
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the predominant provider of flood insurance nationally. Communities across the country can voluntarily join the program. In exchange for their residents being able to purchase federal flood policies, they must adopt minimum floodplain management regulations. The program has grown since its founding in 1968 and now writes nearly ...Read More
Flood insurance takes a variety of forms around the world. To complement ongoing discussions about flood insurance reform, the Wharton Risk Center developed an interactive flood insurance market e-platform as part of the Zurich Alliance to compare residential flood insurance markets in 25 countries. Read More
Three exceptional hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria— caused staggering damages from floods, winds, and storm surge in recent weeks. It’s likely they will make the record books as the most costly natural disasters in US history. Although California doesn’t get hurricanes, it does get large storms (called “atmospheric rivers”) that can be just as damaging to ...Read More
Hurricane Harvey destroyed vital roads, public infrastructure, and hundreds of thousands of homes across Houston and southeast Texas. In Florida, Hurricane Irma has left communities reeling with widespread blackouts, severe coastal flooding, and crippled telecommunications systems. When floodwaters finally recede and the debris is cleared, recovery will be long. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will ...Read More
The first few days after a disaster, such as we have recently experienced with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, are about emergency response: making sure people are safe, reuniting families, securing housing, filling necessities and restoring lifelines. But as days shift to weeks and then months and years, the slow process of rebuilding is undertaken. At ...Read More
As Texas begins the long process of recovery from Hurricane Harvey, and Florida braces for a possible hit from Hurricane Irma, too few victims will have the financial support of insurance payouts. Insurance should be a critical component of disaster recovery. Federal disaster aid grants are surprisingly limited, often not more than a few thousand ...Read More
As the long process of recovery begins for a devastated Texas, it is time to start thinking about how rebuilding can increase the resilience of the flooded households and communities. Incorporating risk reduction measures into rebuilding can often be more cost-effective when done as part of the repair process, and it also provides an opportunity ...Read More