Survey shows Louisiana residents worry about losses from hurricane damage

By: - April 19, 2022 11:51 am
Hurricane Ida damage in Terrebonne Parish

Damage from Hurricane Ida at the Pointe Aux Chenes Marina in Terrebonne Parish. (Photo by Carly Berlin/Southerly magazine)

Louisiana residents are concerned about damage from hurricanes and fear the unsettling reality of the state’s eroding coastline, with 40% of respondents who have insurance saying they had filed property damage claims since 2020, according to an LSU survey released Tuesday.

Hurricanes Ida, Laura, Delta and Zeta left Louisiana residents with billions of dollars in damages, especially people in South Louisiana and metro New Orleans.

Of the respondents who had filed insurance claims, 47% were satisfied with how the companies fulfilled their claims, and 47% were dissatisfied.

But more than half of the respondents with homeowner’s insurance said their premiums have increased.

Homes located in areas that have a high risk for natural disasters or the increase in the cost of materials may have contributed to this increase, and 67% of respondents with homeowner’s insurance said they pay more for insurance than residents in other states.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance shows people closest to the coast pay from $1,800 to $12,000 for baseline coverage for homeowner’s insurance annually compared to the national average of $1,300.

Forty-seven percent of respondents had flood insurance. Some homeowners are required to purchase flood insurance if the home is in a high-risk area.

About half of respondents with flood insurance have also seen an increase in rates in the past year, and more than 70% think they pay more than policyholders in other states.

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication recorded these responses from 508 Louisiana residents, revealing the hurricane’s lingering effects in hefty damages and increased insurance rates.

Reilly Center survey chart

Louisiana residents also are fear that hurricanes are becoming stronger and hitting the state more frequently than before, and they are worried about the future of the dwindling wetlands areas that had provided a buffer, the second installment of the survey, released Thursday, found.

It reported that 85% of respondents across the state were concerned that land loss would hurt those who live close to the coast.

People living within the Louisiana Coastal Zone Boundary, which affects about 20 parishes, show a greater concern for land loss. A majority of respondents living in the area say they believe the land loss will affect them personally.

A majority of all respondents worry the drifting coast will harm future generations.

Almost 90% of respondents advocated requiring people to build property “higher.” But only about 60% of respondents think residents should be paid to elevate their current homes.

Almost a majority of respondents think residents should be paid to vacate the coast altogether or should not be allowed to build any new homes in the area.

Louisiana was untouched by a Category 4 or 5 storm for 15 years after Katrina in 2005.

Then Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwest Louisiana as a Category 4 storm in 2020 followed by Hurricane Ida, another Category 4 storm in southeast Louisiana in 2021.

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Allison Kadlubar is a reporter with the LSU Manship News Service

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