Product Overview: First American Corporation’s ParcelPoint
11902 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX 78758-2902
Phone: 512-834-9595 www.floodcert.com
First American Corporation's ParcelPoint
product is a database offered by the company's First American Flood Data Services
division. It offers a geocoded point at a parcel's "point of entry"
(e.g. driveway). The
company's objective is to have 80% of the U.S. included in the product
by the end of 2008.
First American Corporation is a large company that offers much more
than "flood data." It is an $8 billion company with 29,000 employees
and 1,800 offices. The range of products offered includes title
insurance, mortgage insurance, property information and credit
information. The Flood Data Services division provides flood risk
assessments for the banking and insurance industries.
ParcelPoint Background According to a press
release issued by the company, "[ParcelPoint] relies on real
property latitude and longitude coordinates, combines the company's
extensive parcel and address information database with its proprietary
analytical models to render highly accurate location identification."
This statement is important because this company has a substantial GIS
installation and an abundance of related data, making it possible for
the company to locate subject properties and map and assess the flood
risk anywhere in the US.
Specifics The parcel geocode is placed at the point of entry for each
individual property. This is significant for first responders, E911 and
other users who need locational precision. Quoting the release again,
"Originally developed by First American to provide flood-zone risk data
to the mortgage and insurance industries, First American's new
ParcelPoint technology can be incorporated into limitless applications
that require accurate location information." The company created a
database to fulfill its own needs, and subsequently realized that it
had a viable product on its hands.
Traditionally, Flood Data Services has provided flood risk assessment
for mortgages and, in effect, underwrites the "unlikelihood of
flooding" of the properties it researches. To accomplish this, the
company is deep into GIS technology which it uses to make flood
assessments, create and research accurate maps of flood plains and
precisely locate those properties it is charged to evaluate. This gives
the company an in-house understanding of GIS and how datasets should be
built. The database's spatial components include the point and the
parcel boundary, and associated attributes come from the company's
"extensive parcel and address information database." Initial data
attributes include address and APN (assessor's parcel number), but a
representative from First American indicates that they will be able to
attach additional First American property data based on client needs,
and could include ownership, size and assessed value, for example. They
have also started to form partnerships for additional
Wouldn't it be cool if? An intriguing potential differentiator in First American's data is
the number of additional attributes (to which the company has access
due to its
range of businesses) that could be attached to parcels and parcel
aggregations (pushed up from the parcel level to more traditional
geographies). When you consider the amount of data that now exists in
the other parts of First American, the range of data that could be
attributed to the parcel level and larger geographies could make a very
Let's look at a few of the possibilities. While these data would be
proprietary at the parcel level, if they were aggregated up to larger
geographies, they could provide very accurate information on lifestyle
and marketability of a particular area. You could model leverage
(leverage in this case is the equity-to-loan ratio) and use it as an
index of wealth beyond that which has been derived from other sources.
Who lives in those parcel aggregates (numbers of people, nature of
lifestyle) is probably also available and could be updated when the
individual parcel changes ownership, is refinanced, if the parcel is
An index of wealth is important because it allows for an understanding
of lifestyle and available disposable income. Someone with a high
income, but who is highly leveraged and has a large portion of his
income going to debt service, doesn't have a lot of remaining
purchasing power. In contrast, a household with high income and low
debt service generally has a greater marketing potential. Even moderate
income with low debt service translates to net higher wealth. Knowing
the detailed nature of an area is the essence of location intelligence.
If First American were to go in this direction with this new product,
it could be highly valuable to the business geography set.