Project Details

FEMA Call Center Portal

After working with H2O Partners, Inc. on the Stream Course-Builder Automation Tool, CURTIS Digital developed a search-first custom portal to help FEMA call-center employees handle flood insurance claims. The portal stores a variety of different types of information (resources, manuals, Q&A, wiki-articles) that employees need to find quickly while on calls, and the custom search functionality allows them to look for specific information across the different content facets.
  • Resource repository akin to Dropbox
  • Robust manual section with annotation abilities
  • Team Question & Answer area similar to Stack Overflow
  • Knowledge Base for upper management to create helpful articles 
  • Granular permission capabilities

The Initial Problem

H2O Partners, Inc. approached CURTIS Digital for help with developing a custom portal to house various types of information that FEMA Call Center employees needed access to during flood insurance claim calls. The most important of these content types is, by far, the FEMA Flood Manual that is released every year in April (and updated again in October). Prior to the portal's development, call center employees would have to store the various manual PDFs on their computers and keep notes about changes between the versions in Word docs, saved in emails, or even worse, scribbled on Post-It notes or legal pads. In addition, it was too time consuming for them to access the various flood insurance training files that H2O had developed for them. H2O, and FEMA, needed a central location to store everything that an employee could possibly need while on a call, and they needed to be fast.

The Custom Solution

CURTIS Digital proposed developing a custom web portal that emphasized search across the different “facets" of information–the FEMA manuals and the H2O-developed resources. In addition, CURTIS Digital proposed developing a Q&A section where employees could ask questions and help each other find information in a manner similar to Stack Overflow. 

Because the call-center has different, isolated teams and roles, the system needed to support complex user management. The portal allows for granular role creation (down to who can read specific types of content), and lets admins sort people into teams. All content is tagged to a team, meaning Underwriters would never have to wade through Customer Service materials or vice versa. 

The most complex part of the system is the manual annotation lifecycle. Because updated manuals are released bi-annually, FEMA needed a way to carry applicable annotations forward into the new manual versions and leave the obsolete ones behind. To handle this, CURTIS Digital built an annotation reconcile flow. This area of the system computes the differences between two manual versions, highlights the differences, and allows admins to copy relevant annotations across from one version to another. 


The initial version of the portal was launched in 2017. FEMA was so pleased with the results that CURTIS Digital was rehired to bring the code up-to-date and introduce some new features at the end of 2019. The current portal is used daily by over 300 users. 

The Technology We Used:

  • Node
  • Angular JS
  • Mongo DB
  • Elasticsearch
  • Postgres SQL
  • Severless
  • AWS Lambda

Inside the Application

About H2O Partners, Inc.

H2O has served as the NFIP Stakeholder Training and Delivery Contractor for FEMA since 2008 and has trained more than a quarter million agents, adjusters, and other stakeholders on the programmatic requirements of the NFIP. Their team provides high-quality instructional design and expert delivery to help agents and claims adjusters stay up to date on regulations and requirements.

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