RAND Gulf State Policy Institute Newsletter


Issue 9, November 2010

A periodic report on key public policy findings and activities of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

A Special Invitation

Adm. Thad Allen

RAND Gulf States invites you to a conversation with

Admiral Thad Allen
Senior RAND Fellow, Retired Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Incident Commander for the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Managing the Unexpected
Admiral Thad Allen will discuss his experiences leading the nation's high-profile response to two national emergencies—Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill—and the lessons learned about how to respond more effectively to disaster.

Thursday, December 2, 2010
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
938 Lafayette Street, 1st Floor
New Orleans, LA 70113

There is no charge to attend, but space is limited. RSVP to Stacy Fitzsimmons at stacyg@rand.org by November 30, 2010.

About the Speaker
Admiral Allen was selected by President Barack Obama in May 2010 to serve as the National Incident Commander for the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He was charged with oversight of all response efforts to stop the flow of oil and mitigate the effects of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. He worked closely with the federal on-scene coordinator, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Interior, Commerce, and Health and Human Services. Allen was also in charge of coordinating with various state and local entities, as well as directing the efforts of British Petroleum, the responsible party in the spill.

RAND in the Region

What's Wrong with the Insurance Market along the Gulf Coast and How Do We Fix It?

damaged house

RAND senior economist Lloyd Dixon presented findings from a new RAND study on wind insurance at a forum co-sponsored by the Gulf States Business Council and the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach, Mississippi in October. The devastating property losses caused by the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes threw the residential insurance market in the Gulf States into turmoil. Yet, according to Dixon, "The current constellation of institutions and regulations is not adequate for achieving the basic goals for a well-functioning residential insurance market along the Gulf Coast. Until an improved system for mitigating and insuring hurricane risk is developed, these storms will continue to cause record-setting losses to life and property, ever-increasing federal disaster relief and major economic disruption in the Gulf Coast states."

The RAND study suggests four goals to guide any reform effort: 1) insurance premiums should create appropriate incentives to mitigate risk; 2) decisions by households and residential developers should factor in wind and flood risk; 3) the insurance system should pay legitimate claims efficiently and expeditiously; and 4) the insurance market should encourage innovation and price competition. The researchers also suggest that a national commission be created to assess reforms.

The Mississippi forum's other panelists were U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, (D-MS); U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA); Lenwood Brooks, legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS); James Macdonald, co-author of the study and adjunct staff member at RAND; and Dave Treutel, president Treutel Insurance Agency.

Nonprofit Organizations are Crucial in Disaster Recovery and Preparedness

RAND LANO Conference, August 10, 2010

How can research related to disaster recovery and preparedness be relevant to local nonprofits and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and policymakers? This question was one of many considered by national policy experts, Gulf Coast leaders, and non-profit organizations when they met in August at a conference hosted by RAND Gulf States, the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Allstate Foundation. The conference was convened in New Orleans to mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and to consider the role nonprofits have played in the region's recovery and the importance they will have in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. RAND Gulf States will prepare a summary of the discussions, with concrete recommendations, and present it to leaders in Washington D.C. during a policy briefing.

Strengthening the Connections among Researchers and Clinicians

four doctors in conference room review paperwork

RAND Gulf States is working with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on UAB's Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. The Center's primary objective is to support its partner institutions in Alabama and Mississippi in conducting community-based participatory research on a host of topics relevant to the Deep South, but initially focused on diabetes.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which supports the UAB Center, has taken the lead to eliminate the barriers between pure research and its clinical applications to improve human health. Ideally, scientists provide clinicians with cutting-edge information that helps them treat patients and then, in turn, clinicians pass back to researchers their observations from the front lines to stimulate new and better research. However, in the world of diabetes treatment, the science that would inform treatment and prevention efforts is not always making it to clinicians and patients and the news from the front lines is not getting back to researchers. A stronger research infrastructure could strengthen and accelerate this critical part of the clinical research enterprise.

RAND and UAB will identify and develop appropriate metrics for tracking, monitoring, and assessing the effectiveness of the Center in attaining its objective, and will develop a system to incentivize continuous quality improvement within and among the partnerships.

Recent RAND Research

a house damaged by Hurricane Katrina

Residential Insurance on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: A Framework for Evaluating Potential Reforms

New policies are urgently needed to establish appropriate incentives for mitigating the risk associated with flood and wind losses and to create an effective compensation system for future catastrophes. The federal government needs to take a leading role in formulating the new policies. Initial steps, such as establishing a national commission to assess reforms, should begin immediately.

Read more Full Document Read more News Release Read more Research Brief Read more Transportation and Infrastructure Research Area

Haitian with shovel

Building a More Resilient Haitian State

Haiti's future prosperity and peace depend on its ability to build a more resilient state, one capable of providing public services like education and health care as well as responding effectively to natural disasters.

Read more Full Document Read more News Release Read more French Translation of Summary Read more Research Brief View the Video View the Video Read more International Affairs Research Area

kids playing soccer

Hours of Opportunity (Vol 1 and 2): Lessons from Five Cities on Building Systems to Improve After School, Summer School, and Other Out-of-School Time Programs

Coordinating the work of the many different institutions involved in after-school activities—including schools, nonprofits and municipal agencies like parks and libraries—holds the promise of making programs better and more accessible to urban children and teens who need them.

Read more Full Document Read more News Release Read more Research Brief Full Document Volume 2 Full Document Volume 3 Read more Education and the Arts Research Area

FEMA workers

National Preparedness

September was National Preparedness Month. RAND has developed guidelines for individual preparedness in response to terrorist attacks; evaluated and enhanced preparedness policy options for government officials; and recommended actions that communities should take to prepare for bioterrorist attacks, pandemic flu outbreaks, and other large-scale emergencies.

Read more Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks
Read more Evaluating the Reliability of Emergency Response Systems for Large-Scale Incident Operations
Read more PREPARE for Pandemic Influenza: A Quality Improvement Toolkit
Read more Emergency Preparedness



Lauren Andrews

Lauren Andrews

Lauren Andrews joined RAND Gulf States as a research assistant in New Orleans. Lauren is completing her master's degree in urban and regional planning at the University of New Orleans. She will support all of RAND's business development and research in the region, with a particular focus on coastal protection and restoration.

Visit us online at www.rand.org/gulf-states


Sally Sleeper, Director, RAND Gulf States Policy Institute



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