Policy & Decision Support

The Institute provides policy and decision support for state and regional-level decision makers as part of our strategy to build a more resilient Texas. Our research and modeling efforts generate the information and tools needed to help shape state policy and better prepare for and mitigate against natural disasters.

Wind Hail Insurance Market Incentives Study

SPONSOR:

Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

PI:

Meri Davlasheridze

Co - PI:

Samuel Brody
Wesley Highfield

The project involves comprehensive study of market incentives in the voluntary windstorm and hail insurance market in the Texas seacoast territory. Presuming the survey of private insurers operating in the Texas seacost territory, and conducting semi-structured interviews with insurance regulators, the project will aim to understand issues of private insurance to provide risk-bearing capability against catastrophic disaster losses, and to identify private insurers preferences for different market incentives. The objective is to inform current policy related to depopulation of state-run catastrophe insurance program.

Proactive Buyouts of Flood-prone Properties in Advance of Flood Events

PARTNERS

The Nature Conservancy & Houston Wilderness

PI:

Kayode Atoba

Co - PI:

Deborah January-Bevers
Galen Newman
Samuel Brody
Wesley Highfield

The acquisition or buyout of flooded properties plays a vital role in flood resiliency. It involves purchasing flood-prone properties and restoring them to vacant open spaces, thereby preventing future flood damages. In the United States, however, buyout programs are driven by a benefit-cost approach and primarily reactive, occurring only after a flood event. This standard practice results in a disjointed pattern of open spaces that does little to protect environmental assets. The poor structure of buyouts policy also makes it contentious for some homeowners who refuse to participate. By proposing a more proactive approach, this project presents a framework that identifies flood-prone properties and vacant land that are economically viable for acquisition well in advance of a storm event. Coupling proximity-based geospatial analysis with hazard modeling, land transformation modeling, and a Geodesign framework, this project evaluates the potential economic benefits of acquiring built and vacant properties before storm events. This project also assesses how existing vacant buyout properties can serve as targeted Green Storm-water Infrastructure (GSI) along riparian corridors.

By assessing the economic benefits of proactive open space restoration and conservation, this project promotes a development culture where coastal communities dealing with rising seas and increasing flood impacts can apply best practices in mitigating and adapting to flood risk for better future benefits.