Goodcover Monthly News Roundup | April 2023
1 May 2023 • 3 min read
Welcome to the Goodcover Monthly Roundup for April 2023.
Our monthly news roundup is here to help you stay informed on the latest in the world of insurance and housing. You can view our previous monthly recaps here.
Let's jump into news that caught our attention this month:
Solar Energy… for Renters?:
CNET reports that the US Department of Energy announced plans to expand the network of community solar projects nationwide, making renewable energy accessible for more people, including renters. Community solar programs allow customers to purchase cheaper energy from nearby solar farms and reduce home energy bills without the hefty upfront cost of installing solar panels.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Canary Media reports that a new solar co-op and affordable housing group project aims to bring solar energy to five Minneapolis apartment buildings. The project plans to use rooftop solar installations, net metering, third-party ownership, and renewable energy credits to help cut residents' utility bills by one-third. It's an exciting and inspiring example of how to make renewable energy accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they rent or own a home.
Increasing the Housing Supply:
This month, Slate wrote a piece about the efforts of Senator Brian Schatz to increase the housing supply in the United States. With an $85 million grant to identify and remove barriers to housing under his belt, he also co-authored the Yes In My Backyard Act which aims to encourage local governments to report on how their regulations and zoning practices limit opportunities for new housing. It's a fascinating dive into his views on housing and well worth the read.
Insurance to the Rescue:
The Wall Street Journal reports that insurance companies in South Africa have taken on public services such as fixing potholes, sponsoring fire brigades, and even directing traffic after corruption and economic downturns have affected the country. These private services have become more common in South Africa since the government struggles to keep up. This is simply another example of how insurance has the potential to touch every aspect of our lives.
Over here in the United States, The Economist reports that floods are the country's most expensive type of natural disaster, costing over $323 billion in direct damage since 1960. Additionally, homes in flood-prone areas are overpriced because, in 21 of 50 states, homeowners do not have to disclose flood risk. Because of this, many private insurers don't offer coverage for flood damage, leaving the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover the cost. The NFIP has figured out how to set premiums that accurately reflect the flood risk for a given area, but federal law restricts the speed at which these adjustments to premiums that fairly reflect the risk can be made. Once the NFIP can accurately account and charge appropriately for flood risk, homes are expected to fall drastically in price – to the tune of $187 billion nationwide.
Where is Rent Falling?
Speaking of falling rent, Paulina Cachero reports for Bloomberg that rents in the country have fallen for the first time since March 2020. Rent is still 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels, but the Bloomberg piece highlights ten major metro areas where rent is falling faster than the national average. These include Austin, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, to name a few.
Renters & Retirement:
A recent survey by Mercer Canada said that Canadian Millennials who are lifelong renters would need to save 50% more for retirement than their homeowning counterparts. It makes sense, given that retired homeowners can downsize their homes to access more cash, whereas renters will never have that option. Stories like these highlight the need for companies like Goodcover – while financial benefits are often stacked against renters, we aim to help them by keeping our rates low for the same great coverage.
That's it for Goodcover's April Roundup. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this recap, please check out more posts on our blog.
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See you next month!
-The Goodcover Team