Modernizing FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program

Challenge

With the risk of severe weather and floods increasing every year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needed to revamp its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) information technology systems and infrastructure. NFIP provides $1.3 trillion in coverage to approximately 5 million policyholders across the U.S., but pricing for this coverage did not always accurately reflect the flood risk for covered properties. As a result, some policyholders paid more than they should have for coverage, while others paid less.

FEMA’s legacy mainframe system was unable to meet FEMA’s needs for faster and more accurate policy assessments and customer service. FEMA needed a resilient, modern system to evaluate each property individually and assess its flood risk based on data from hundreds of sources. Meteorological, geospatial, and other types of information were to be collected, giving the agency valuable insights for faster and more accurate decision-making regarding flood insurance policies.

 

Solution

FEMA chose Guidehouse to create a web-based system (Pivot) as the path forward to modernize the NFIP. Guidehouse had developed a reputation for excellence while working with another agency’s enterprise application services division. Guidehouse had also cultivated experience and knowledge about flood insurance—background that proved critical when awarded the $135 million NFIP Pivot project in 2020.

 

Guidehouse combined its domain expertise on flood insurance with its command of agile software development, systems integration, and data analytics to create a modern, intelligent, DevSecOps-driven system. The company wrote 75 percent of the new code for Pivot and migrated 30+ years of data from the legacy mainframe. Guidehouse also worked with FEMA to implement agile workflow processes that significantly reduced the time it takes the agency to handle business processes. All of this was completed while obtaining an Authority to Operate in just six months—under budget and ahead of schedule.

Impact

Now, actions that once took place in 30 days can be completed in hours or even minutes. Data is pulled from hundreds of sources and presented in easy-to-understand, actionable ways—all by a highly resilient system with 99 percent availability.

Most importantly, FEMA and its stakeholders can quickly and accurately evaluate individual properties, intelligently adjust insurance rate structures to ensure everyone is being charged the correct rates, and more.  The agency can constantly evaluate flood zone data in real-time and make policy adjustments as necessary—a striking benefit that will have a long-lasting positive impact as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable.

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