FloodHelpNY: Developing a flood insurance rate calculator


Center for NYC Neighborhoods

Company Type

Public sector government agency


FloodHelpNY wanted to include an insurance rate calculator on the website, but FEMA and government regulations added a high level of complexity to the calculations.


User-Interaction Design, User-Journey Flows, Static and Interactive Content, Load Testing


NYC residents can look up their estimated insurance coverage and relevant mitigation options with minimal effort directly from the website.

Who is Center for NYC Neighborhoods?

FloodHelpNY is a platform for engaging and informing New York City low- and middle-income homeowners about how they can protect their home and finances from flooding that is expected to worsen with rising sea levels caused by climate change.


The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery aims to provide NYC residents with a way to determine if they were in a flood zone. If they were, they wanted to be able to quickly determine their flood insurance rates. The rates needed meet government regulations and abide by FEMA guidelines. All of this complexity needed a friendly user experience so people would actually use it.


We built the rate calculation engine, a user portal, and Salesforce integrationsWe codified the information from the FEMA rate tables and insurance documents by discovering patterns in the data and were able to determine flood insurance estimates Using a questionnaire format, we performed complex calculations by gathering answers to a few simple questions like "What is the floor-to-ceiling height of your basement?"We recommended source code hosting, error tracking and monitoring, and incident resolution services to help FloodHelpNY operate and maintain its service

Technologies & Tools

  • Languages: Ruby, JavaScript
  • Frameworks: Rails, React
  • Integrations: Salesforce, Heroku Connect


We completed the first ever full implementation of city-wide flood insurance calculations. As a result of our work, NYC residents can determine their estimated flood insurance coverage with minimal effort. Automations allowed people to see data in minutes which would otherwise have taken days. Manual interactions with back office staff were replaced by online questionnaires and automated reports, streamlining the process.

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