FEMA Publishes Flood Insurance Records Dating to 1978

Expected to help help scientists, policymakers, and the public.
June 18, 2019

On June 11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published data covering more than 2 million flood insurance claim records going back to 1978. This should help scientists, policymakers, and the public understand how the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) works, where flood damage occurs, and what the costs are to the nation.

“This data demonstrates FEMA’s commitment to build a culture of preparedness by providing insights to our stakeholders that can help close the nation’s insurance gap,” said Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, FEMA’s Deputy Administrator for Resilience, in a news release. That gap is quite sizable: FEMA estimates that only 3 percent of homeowners have flood insurance.

The published data is in a machine-readable format and allows analysis of how coverage has changed in a geographic area and where NFIP claims have been filed for more than 40 years. The data will be updated every 45 to 60 days and delivers the most specific amount of geographic data possible, while preserving policyholder anonymity.

“The proactive publication of this data will assist the private market to grow in the flood insurance space and help close the insurance gap. The private market will now be able to identify areas with prior flood claims and historical flood insurance policies,” said David Maurstad, FEMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation.

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