Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

 

NEWS RELEASE

COASTAL LAND LOSS IN LOUISIANA HAS FAR REACHING IMPACTS BEYOND THOSE ON THE PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE:

 The viability of insuring coastal communities will presage physical land loss, and could gut communities just as surely as floods and hurricanes.

 

For Immediate Release  

 

Contact:  Katherine Van Marter

Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

504-865-5980 or at kvanmart@tulane.edu

 

Mark Davis

Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

504-865-5982/504-919-8324 or at msdavis@tulane.edu

 

New Orleans, LA

February 27, 2018

In 2017, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority released the latest iteration of the state’s Coastal Master Plan. As in previous years, the plan prominently displayed maps of the latest sea level rise projections. The projections were dire; what had been the worst-case scenario in the 2012 plan was now the best-case scenario. What the map doesn’t show, however, are the decisions being made outside of Louisiana that affect the insurability of coastal communities.

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SUMMARY:

The economic cost of climate change and resultant extreme weather continues to grow. As each flood or storm event occurs, the cost of rebuilding increases. These threats, which are disproportionately coastal, have chilling implications for community viability. Particularly, the availability and cost of insurance will have a substantial impact. The cost and availability of flood and crop insurance will presage the physical impacts of climate change and could destroy communities just as surely as rising seas and land loss. The decisions on whether to offer insurance and for how much exist outside the civic discourse and often wholly outside Louisiana. If the Federal Government moves to reduce taxpayer burden and reduce its liability exposure, it will require an increase in premiums, a reduction in subsidies, and likely a shift towards private flood insurance.

CONCLUSION:

For homeowners, businesses, farmers, and governments, the cost of insurance has a direct bearing on their ability to survive in coastal Louisiana. For homeowners especially, skyrocketing insurance costs will make property less attractive and less valuable, eroding their personal wealth and, taken together, the value of mortgage-backed securities tied to coastal property. Farmers and businesses may lose profitability with higher insurance rates and be forced to shut down or relocate. Municipal and parish governments will also have to deal with the burden of rising insurance costs. More importantly, property devaluation and business relocation will reduce government tax bases, threatening the economic future of coastal communities. For all these actors, working with insurers and the Federal Government to stave off the cascading impacts of rising insurance costs will be crucial for preserving long-term community viability.

 

A copy of the report is available at the Tulane Institute of Water Resources Law and Policy Website here:

http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/32079b_4635e967378c4fe6ad2e609c28f202f7.pdf

 

Tulane University
Law School
Annex

6325 Freret Street

New Orleans, LA 70118