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Megan Regan - Wake Forest University. Winston-Salem, NC, US

Megan Regan Megan Regan

Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Economics | Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC, UNITED STATES

Regan focuses on issues facing the working poor, including how the inability to afford insurance protection affects decision-making.


Regan’s expertise shines a light on the challenges facing the working poor and the difficulties people at the poverty level face when trying to access support services. She can discuss how the lack of property insurance and the threat of job loss for hourly workers affects decision-making during natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Regan can also address price gouging and the role of government when insurance companies refuse coverage based on determinations of what caused the property damage (ie, flood vs. wind damage). Gentrification and how it affects local communities is another area of expertise.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Economic Development

Risk & Insurance

Local Communities


Income Inequality

Poverty & Public Policy





Megan Regan loading image



Education (3)

University of Florida: BSBA, Marketing

University of Florida: M.Ed., Educational Leadership

University of Florida: Ph.D., Agricultural Economics

Media Appearances (5)

Economics is a Major Reason Some Don’t Evacuate When Told During a Major Storm



Low-income individuals are more at risk during major weather events. Imagine being told: “Take a bus out of town and leave everything. How do I leave it? I don’t have insurance. There’s nothing to protect my things other than me being there. How will I get back? They’ll usually bus you out but they don’t offer a ride back.” Regan said.

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Poverty Impacts Storm Decisions

Spectrum News  


“A person working at an hourly job doesn’t have the flexibility to not show up if they get called in to work,” said Regan. “They do not have any safety net. They face a different amount of risk The question becomes, how do we create policy support programs that lessen their risk.”

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Burden of Recovery for Poor after Hurricane Florence



“What we know about people who live close to the poverty line is they face a different kind of risk in a natural disaster. They suffer more losses and are less able to access formal or informal insurance that might protect them.”

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When Storms Hit, Renters Face Unique Challenges

Statesville Record & Landmark  


Low-income renters are more likely to live in neighborhoods with poor environmental quality and decaying infrastructure, said Regan. That makes flooding more common, as sewers overflow and soils saturate. Homes in floodplains are also more likely to be low-income. The financial reality for some people means that if their home floods, they are often hesitant to leave. “You don’t know if someone is going to knock on your door and say, ‘You need to evacuate right now. This area is going to flood,’” Regan said. “Evacuees who don’t have cars and rely on buses might not know where to go or when they will be able to afford to get back. If they are working an hourly wage job, they may need to stay in town to pick up their paycheck. If they leave and miss work, they could be fired.”

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When Hurricanes Strike, The Poor Often Get Hit Hardest



“The poor don't have access to as much insurance. Insurance smoothes the catastrophic losses. So, when we look at evacuation behavior on average the lower your resources are the less you are likely to evacuate because you're renting, you don't have renter’s insurance, and you don't have a personal car to pack up your most precious belongings. So, when they say evacuate, get on a bus, and go somewhere, where does someone go? Where do they have the money to pay for the bus ticket back? Where do they have the money to house themselves if they leave?”

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