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Episode 7: Could flood insurance sink us before the water does?

The costs are rising faster than the water.

Everyone knows flood insurance isn’t the most exciting topic. What this episode presupposes is: maybe it should be?

It’s not difficult to imagine a future in which climate-change-fueled storms and floods depopulate our coastal communities. Generations of Louisianans have been moving northward for decades, after all. 

But could the rising cost of flood insurance actually drive people away sooner? That’s the question we’re exploring this week. We talk to two experts who explain the history of flood insurance in the United States, where the program is headed, and why flood insurance affordability is a political problem. 

What If We Just…Made Our Houses Float? Life Raft

With flood risk increasing and flood insurance rates likely following suit, it seems like there's got to be a better way to tackle the challenge. For example: could we make our homes float when the water comes? This week we talk to an architect who has devoted her professional life to that question, and we visit a Louisiana community where some people have decided that it makes more sense to temporarily float a house than to elevate it on stilts. — Want to help shape the future of Life Raft? We’re looking for feedback on our first season. Filling out this (super short) survey will really help us understand how we can best serve you. If you include your contact info, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a prize from WWNO or WRKF. While we figure out what the future holds, we’d love to extend the biggest and warmest thank you to everyone who made this possible. Thanks, especially, to everyone for listening, and for submitting the questions that made this show possible. In the meantime, follow us on social media. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And if you like what you hear from Life Raft, consider making a donation to WRKF or WWNO to help keep the show going! — Support for WWNO’s Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and listeners like you.
  1. What If We Just…Made Our Houses Float?
  2. Could Flood Insurance Sink Us Before The Water Does?
  3. What Would It Take For Louisiana To Go Carbon Neutral By 2050?
  4. How Much Can We Blame The 2020 Hurricane Season On Climate Change?
  5. Bonus Episode: Confronting The Loss That Climate Change Promises

Rebecca Elliott is an assistant professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her book is called Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States.

Andy Horowitz is an assistant professor of history at Tulane University. His book is called Katrina: A History, 1915-2015

Do you have a question you want us to explore? Send it to us!

Follow us on social media for bonus pictures and occasional memes. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Support for WWNO’s Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and listeners like you. 

If you like what you hear from Life Raft, consider making a donation to WRKF and WWNO to help keep the show going!