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The FIMA NFIP’s Redacted Policies and Redacted Claims Datasets
Journal of Real Estate Literature  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-02-04, DOI: 10.1080/09277544.2021.1876435
Timothy Dombrowski, Dimuthu Ratnadiwakara, V. Carlos Slawson Jr.


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968 and allows homeowners, renters, and businesses to purchase flood insurance from the federal government. During the summer of 2019, without compromising privacy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released two datasets containing roughly 50 million flood insurance policy observations (beginning in 2009) and 2.5 million flood insurance claims (beginning in 1970). Researchers can now download and evaluate the entire policies and claims datasets in machine-readable format, bypassing the complex request procedures of the past. We explore what is included in this policy and claims data and how they might be used to examine flood insurance related topics. We provide real estate academics and industry professionals with the details of the 44 usable policy data variables and the 37 usable claims data variables, which we group into seven categories: Locational, Structural, Occupancy, Policy Terms, Zone/Elevation/Rating, Premiums, and Claims. In an effort to aid researchers with the initial complexities of working with the data, we provide sample R-code that can be altered to analyze NFIP data. Finally, for illustration, we demonstrate how the NFIP data can be merged with data from both the American Community Survey and Zillow to study the determinants of flood insurance take-up.