Leaving Louisiana: Disasters, insurance hikes could spur mass exodus

By Thomas Frank | 04/25/2024 06:11 AM EDT

Moody’s Investors Service projects a “severe” loss of working-age Louisianans as storms and other calamities make insurance unaffordable.

Win Messersmith, right, and Richard Wells begin to clean up the Carrollton area of New Orleans after high winds and possible tornado struck the area in February 2007.

Louisiana is particularly vulnerable to insurance problems because a large portion of its population lives in coastal areas exposed to hurricanes and flooding, and the state’s income levels are among the lowest in the nation. Bill Haber/AP Photo

The soaring cost of home insurance in Louisiana threatens to drive residents out of the state, depress property values and disrupt local services by shrinking municipal tax revenue, a new financial analysis says.

Moody’s Investors Service projected in a report Monday that Louisiana will experience a “severe” loss of working-age residents due to long-term demographic trends and the “state’s susceptibility to natural disasters.”

“Expensive insurance has the potential to contribute to out-migration,” Moody’s wrote.


The seven-page report portrays Louisiana as the state facing the worst threat from increasing costs of property insurance and flood insurance, which are driven in part by climate change fueling stronger storms, wildfires and floods.