Data Extraction

Expert Tips and Techniques on Flood Certification Data Extraction

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Expert Tips and Techniques on Flood Certification Data Extraction

Data extraction from flood certificates helps insurance and investment firms evaluate risks and accurately calculate loan amounts and insurance premiums. Non-standardized data extraction processes result in errors and inconsistencies, leading to compliance issues, significant financial losses, and customer dissatisfaction.

This blog discusses the importance of automated data extraction from flood certificates, challenges in the extraction processes, efficient data extraction methods, and best practices for storing the extracted data. 

What are Flood Certificates?

Flood certificates detail a property's location, flood zone, risk, and elevation point. These certificates are based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and issued by the local floodplain manager.

Two essential use cases of flood certificates: 

  • Insurance businesses: Insurance companies depend on flood certificates to assess a property's flood risk and calculate insurance premiums accordingly. If the property is at a significant risk of flood, insurance agencies increase the premiums to reduce losses. 
  • Real estate investment lenders: Real estate lenders demand flood certificates from borrowers to accurately assess risks associated with the property and then sanction loans. 

Key Data Points for Extraction from Flood Certificates 

Here are some vital data points that businesses extract from flood certificates: 

  • Borrower’s details: Name, determination address, phone number, and survey district 
  • Lender's details: Name, lender ID, company address and phone number
  • Property Identification
  • Flood Zone Designation
  • Building Elevation Information
  • Photographs
  • Community and Panel Numbers
  • Certificate Issuer Information
  • Amount of flood insurance required
  • Loan identifier 
  • Expiration date

Understanding the Importance of Efficient Data Extraction from Flood Certificates

Some reasons why accurate data extraction from flood certificates is essential:

a. Accurate risk assessment

Accurate data from flood certificates inform lenders about the property’s flood risk zones. Analyzing this data helps calculate the lender's risk and determine the accurate loan amount. 

b. Regulatory compliance and security

AI-powered data extraction helps insurance businesses maintain regulatory compliance by automatically extracting and validating data from flood certificates. Moreover, these tools store data securely on the cloud and allow only authorized personnel access. 

c. Streamlined insurance processes

Efficient data extraction processes using automation tools help insurance agencies streamline the ACORD forms, insurance applications, and flood certificate document processing workflows. With these tools, businesses can automatically extract and analyze data. 

d. Informed decision making

Investment firms and lenders rely on the data extracted from flood certificates. Based on the data, lenders assess risks and benefits to decide on the loan amount and insurance premiums. 

e. Improved customer service 

Automated data extraction tools capture data in a few minutes, even when processing large volumes of flood certificates. Hence, efficient data extraction allows lenders to reduce loan processing time and promptly address customer inquiries.

6 Common Challenges in Flood Certificate Data Extraction

Some challenges that hinder the flood certificate data extraction processes: 

a. Variability in document formats

Flood certificates have various cells, tables, images, charts, and paragraphs spanning several pages in a single document. Moreover, this layout varies according to the vendor, and there is no fixed format that humans and tools can rely on to extract data. 

In such cases, employees require more time than usual to capture vital data from flood certificates. Additionally, staff must create templates before extracting data seamlessly if you're using standalone OCR technology. 

b. Time-consuming processes 

An underwriter takes nearly 30 minutes to extract data from flood certificates and other documents, such as ACORD forms and claim settlement applications. When investment firms receive flood certificates in an overwhelming volume, it takes days or weeks to get the required data. 

c. Handwritten entries

Flood elevation certificates contain handwritten sections and entries the local floodplain manager fills out after visiting your property. This includes crucial data showing the estimated damage, which lenders use to better evaluate associated risks. 

However, basic OCR technology has limitations, so businesses may not be able to extract accurate data from handwritten notes.

d. Data security 

Flood certificates contain sensitive information related to loans and insurance, and loss of this data might result in regulatory fines and penalties. For instance, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud report shows that insurance fraud costs nearly USD 308.6 billion annually from American consumers. 

Manual data extraction involves multiple human touch points, which can result in data leakage. Hence, businesses face a severe challenge in using a standardized process that extracts data with security protocols. 

e. Technical language and terminology

Flood certificate documents contain many technical terms, such as Base Flood Elevation (BFE), Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), Lowest Adjacent Grade (LAG), substantial damage, and more. Understanding this data requires domain knowledge, which can make it difficult for employees to understand and extract contextual data from flood certificates. 

This poses a challenge for businesses, and the better way to combat it is to use an intelligent data conversion tool that uses machine learning algorithms to self-learn and extract crucial information.

f. Data accuracy and integrity

Ensuring the accuracy of data extracted from flood certificates is a major challenge for businesses, as inaccuracies can result in loss of money, time, trust, and reputation. 

Document complexity, data volume, and a lack of technical expertise are obstacles that cause inconsistencies in manual data extraction methods. 

Preparing Flood Certificates for Data Extraction  

Before extracting data, it's crucial to prepare the documents to ensure seamless data extraction. Here are some preparation techniques to consider: 

a. Standardization of processes

Standardization of data extraction processes helps ensure data consistency, accuracy, scalability, and flexibility. First, standardize the format of flood certificates (e.g., PDF) so that you can easily integrate them across different systems and applications. 

Invest in standardized data extraction tools to capture accurate data from flood certificates at scale. 

b. Consolidate documents 

Gather all the flood certificates that require extraction and consolidate them in a single folder. This facilitates easier document ingestion into the data extraction tool. 

c. Training and expertise

Before extracting data, train employees involved in data extraction processes on flood certificate's latest terminologies and technical terms. Provide them with adequate domain knowledge and leverage their expertise to capture data accurately. 

Moreover, if you're investing in a data extraction tool, train the staff on the software to maximize user adoption. 

d. Technology and tools

Invest in tools and platforms to complete the pre-processing techniques such as deskewing, denoising, contrast, and density correction. 

This process ensures the formatting of flood certificates, removes noise and blur, and corrects skew to help the automation tool extract data with high accuracy. 

e. Quality control measures

Verify the documents and look for missing information, duplicate entries, and errors. 

Fill in the unavailable information, correct data values, remove redundant entries, and ensure the completeness and consistency of the data. These preparation processes help you to streamline the data extraction from flood certificates. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Data Extraction from Flood Certificates

Inaccurate data extraction from flood certificates may result in financial losses and reputational damage for insurance companies. Hence, choosing the right data extraction tool to capture data accurately and in a minimal amount of time is important. 

The technology employed is the first factor to look for in an automation tool. Though basic technologies like OCR extract data, they cannot adapt to the unstructured format of flood certificates. Moreover, employees need to create templates for changing templates and layouts. 

AI-powered intelligent and automated data extraction software like Docsumo learns and adapts to varying formats of flood certificates using self-learning capabilities. This helps it to extract data with a 99%+ accuracy rate.

After the technology is used, look for parameters such as

  • User adoption 
  • Pricing model
  • Role-based access 
  • Cloud storage 
  • Security and Compliance 
  • Downloadable formats 

Assess these factors individually and finalize the data extraction tool that suits your business needs. Now, let's use Docsumo to understand how it streamlines the data extraction processes: 

1. Sign up on the Docsumo Platform

Go to Docsumo's website and click ‘Start a 14-day free trial’. Provide details such as name, phone number, work email address, and document type, and click ‘Submit’. You can now process 50 flood certificates for free within 14 days. 

2. Upload and organize documents

Go to ‘Document Type,’ select ‘Flood Certificates,’ then click ‘Upload’ to ingest flood certificates from your computer. You can also enable auto-import and let Docsumo intake documents from Email and Zapier. 

3. Edit the fields

Docsumo pre-processes the documents automatically to remove noise and adjust skew, contrast, and density. After completing the pre-processing steps, it first extracts key-value pairs from flood certificates. 

Some common key-value pairs that Docsumo extracts from flood certificates are,

  • Borrower’s name 
  • Borrower's address 
  • Phone number 
  • Loan identifier
  • Date of determination 
  • Lender’s name 

Docsumo then extracts line items from tables using advanced neural networks and natural language processing algorithms. These include the amount of flood insurance required, flood zones, federal flood insurance availability, the life of loan determination, and more. 

Docsumo’s pre-trained API models extract all these fields automatically from your flood certificates. However, you can edit the entries by clicking ‘Add or remove’ to customize data extraction according to your requirements. 

4. Data validation 

After data extraction, Docsumo validates the extracted data against existing databases. It compares the documents to find errors, inconsistencies, and mismatched entries. 

5. Reviewing and download

Though Docsumo validates the extracted data automatically, it's crucial to verify the data manually during this trial process. It trains the system to extract data with a higher accuracy rate for subsequent documents. 

Download the extracted data in your preferred formats, such as JSON, to use data for further analysis. 

6. Automating data extraction for large document sets

Once you understand how Docsumo works, you can start processing flood certificates in batches. Docsumo allows businesses to process multiple documents at once to improve their efficiency. 

Some benefits of automating flood certificate document processing workflow using Docsumo are,

  • Efficiency improved by 10X 
  • Operational costs reduced by 60-70% 
  • Fewer errors 
  • Compliance with GDPR and SOC-2 

The best way to understand Docsumo's automation is through a case study. Here's how Docsumo helped Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. (Real estate investment trust and lender) automate insurance compliance using smart data extraction APIs. 

The challenges Arbor faced before using Docsumo are, 

  • Manually extracting data from flood certificates 
  • Extracting data from a single document took nearly 30 minutes, and the error rate was 20% 
  • No validation was done on the extracted data 
  • Double manual entry 

After Docsumo's solution,

  • API-based direct integration of flood certificates onto Docsumo 
  • Docsumo adapted to varying fonts, layouts, image quality, tables, and resolution to extract data with 95%+ accuracy 
  • A rule-based validation method that applied correction algorithms to review data
  • Integration into downstream software applications for further analysis 

The result? 

  • 10X faster processing of documents
  • 95% touchless processing rate 
  • 99% data accuracy rate 

Want to learn more? Click here to read the complete case study. 

7. Integration into workflow

Integrate the extracted data with different software applications for further processing. The data flows seamlessly with fewer errors and minimal human effort.  

Best Practices for Managing Extracted Data from Flood Certificates

Here are some practical tips to store and manage your data efficiently: 

a. Secure data 

  • Access controls: Share data access based on the employee’s need to use data for further analysis and decision-making processes. To avoid data leakages, you can also implement multi-factor authentication and monitor data access regularly.  
  • Using strong passwords: Short, weak, generic, and easy-to-guess passwords are an advantage for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized data access. Hence, enforce strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to make guessing difficult. Change your passwords often.
  • Back up your data: Back up regularly so you can access it even if it gets deleted or corrupted accidentally—store multiple copies in the cloud, external storage devices, and physical documents to be safe. 
  • Data encryption: Encrypt your files using keys before uploading them onto the cloud. This provides a double layer of security, as only users with the particular decryption keys can access the files. 
  • Educate employees: Cybersecurity measures can only be successful if your employees are well-educated about potential threats. Highlight the importance of following data security protocols and educate them on phishing attacks, social engineering techniques, malware infections, and brute-force attacks. 

b. Data accuracy and management 

  • Data validation: Data validation improves the accuracy of the extracted data massively. Validate the extracted data with available benchmarks and records and rectify errors and inconsistencies. 
  • Integration with existing systems: Integrate the extracted data with your industry-specific software applications and workflows. Use APIs or data integration platforms for seamless data transfer and reduced errors. 
  • Continuous improvement: Monitor and review data management practices regularly to improve efficiency. Get feedback from employees, managers, and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and create necessary strategies to further enhance data security and quality. 

Follow these practices to manage data effectively and finalize business operations with conviction. 

Enhancing Flood Certification Processes through Effective Data Extraction

Automating data extraction from flood certificates helps investment businesses and lenders speed up the loan processing time and save as much as 60-70% on costs. However, the trickiest part lies in choosing the right data conversion tool. 

Docsumo stands out as the ideal solution in the market. It combines OCR with machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to automatically extract data from varying formats, layouts, and templates. Moreover, it understands technical terminologies and different languages better than humans. 

As a result, it extracts with a 99%+ accuracy rate and 100% automation. Docsumo can improve your business's efficiency by 10X and serve more customers. 

Sign up for a free trial of Docsumo and start processing flood certificates in 30-60 seconds. 


1. How can I ensure the accuracy of extracted data from flood certificates?

Training employees about the terminologies and technical terms of flood certificates ensures accuracy. After data extraction, validate the data manually and find errors to increase accuracy. 

2. Can the data extraction process for flood certificates be fully automated?

Yes. With advanced data extraction tools like Docsumo, you can fully automate the data extraction process. From ingesting flood certificates to integration, it demands minimal human effort. 

3. What should I do if the extracted data from a flood certificate needs to be corrected?

If you're using an automation tool and the extracted data is incorrect, review and correct the errors manually. This will train the system to capture data accurately next time. 

4. How we avoid challenges in data extraction processes from flood certificates?

Investing in a top data conversion tool like Docsumo can help you eliminate challenges such as layout variability, increased time, errors, and costs.

5. Can I extract data from multiple flood certificates at once? 

Yes, using Docsumo, you can process multiple flood certificates at once and still extract data with a 99% accuracy rate. 

Suggested Case Study
Automating Portfolio Management for Westland Real Estate Group
The portfolio includes 14,000 units across all divisions across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Inland Empire.
Thank you! You will shortly receive an email
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Written by
Ritu John

Ritu is a seasoned writer and digital content creator with a passion for exploring the intersection of innovation and human experience. As a writer, her work spans various domains, making content relatable and understandable for a wide audience.

Is document processing becoming a hindrance to your business growth?
Join Docsumo for recent Doc AI trends and automation tips. Docsumo is the Document AI partner to the leading lenders and insurers in the US.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.