Willis Resilience Issue 05
Summary: Solutions for a risky world
Post Magazine - A bright new age for forecasting
Summary: Professor Pier Luigi Vidale, Senior Academic, Willis Research Network talks about the possibilities of the new Met Office supercomputer capacities for the insurance industry
Extratropical Cyclones Lothar and Martin
Summary: Between the 26th and the 29th December of 1999, two significant storms, Lothar and Martin, affected large parts of Europe in rapid succession causing about €8.3 billion of insured losses. The windstorms were the most severe since 1990 and arrived after windstorm Anatol had already hit hard Denmark three weeks earlier.
Seasonal Climate Impact Prediction
Author(s): James Done
Summary: We couldn’t possibly have anticipated Hurricane Sandy in advance of the season, or could we? Seasonal climate forecasts have been produced routinely for many years yet their uptake by the industry has been slow. Given that insurers and reinsurers live and die by high-impact weather and climate events why is this?
Next Generation Research and Innovation Networks
Author(s): The LEGO Foundation
Summary: REPORT: To inspire a network on learning through play This case report inspires us to think about a new space for supporting a community of engaged actors who are passionate about children, learning and creativity, and who believe that educational systems are pivotal to making real and sustainable changes
Data-Driven Business Models: Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data
Author(s): Monica Bulger, Greg Taylor, Ralph Schroeder
Summary: This report draws on interviews with 28 business leaders and stakeholder representatives from the UK and US in order to answer the following questions: • How is (big) data being used; what is a ‘big data business model’? • What are the main obstacles to exploitation of big data in the economy? • What can and should be done to mitigate these challenges and ensure that the opportunities provided by big data are realised?
Upper tail dependence in rainfall extremes: would we know it if we saw it?
Author(s): Francesco Serinaldi, András Bárdossy, Chris G. Kilsby
Field(s): Upper tail dependence Extreme events Binary correlation Binary entropy Rainfall Peak over threshold analysis Collective spatial risk
Summary: The simultaneous occurrence of extreme events, such as simultaneous storms and floods at different locations, has a serious impact on risk assessment and mitigation strategies. The joint occurrence of extreme events can be measured by the so-called upper tail dependence (UTD) coefficient λ U.
Dismissing return periods!
Author(s): Francesco Serinaldi
Field(s): Return period Nonstationary frequency analysis Multivariate frequency analysis Copulas Risk of failure Design values Design life
Summary: The concept of return period in stationary univariate frequency analysis is prone to misconceptions and misuses that are well known but still widespread...
Groundwater fluxes in a shallow seasonal wetland pond: The effect of bathymetric uncertainty on predicted water and solute balances
Author(s): Mark A. Trigg, Peter G. Cook, Philip Brunner
Summary: The successful management of groundwater dependent shallow seasonal wetlands requires a sound understanding of groundwater fluxes. However, such fluxes are hard to quantify. Water volume and solute mass balance models can be used in order to derive an estimate of groundwater fluxes within such systems. This approach is particularly attractive, as it can be undertaken using measurable environmental variables, such as; rainfall, evaporation, pond level and salinity. Groundwater fluxes estimated from such an approach are subject to uncertainty in the measured variables as well as in the process representation and in parameters within the model. However, the shallow nature of seasonal wetland ponds means water volume and surface area can change rapidly and non-linearly with depth, requiring an accurate representation of the wetland pond bathymetry. Unfortunately, detailed bathymetry is rarely available and simplifying assumptions regarding the bathymetry have to be made. However, the implications of these assumptions are typically not quantified.
Forecast cooling of the Atlantic subpolar gyre and associated impacts
Author(s): Hermanson et al.
Field(s): Climate dynamics, Impacts of global change
Summary: Decadal variability in the North Atlantic and its subpolar gyre (SPG) has been shown to be predictable in climate models initialized with the concurrent ocean state. Numerous impacts over ocean and land have also been identified.
Integrating Natural Disaster Risks & Resilience into the Financial System
Author(s): Rowan Douglas
Field(s): Willis Research Network
Summary: Integrating disaster risk and resilience into the financial system provides the structural and proportionate means of saving millions of lives and livelihoods in the coming decades and protecting US$ billions in homes, assets and property in a cost effective and rational way when weighed against competing priorities.
The impact of uncertain precipitation data on insurance loss estimates using a flood catastrophe model
Author(s): C. C. Sampson, T. J. Fewtrell, F. O’Loughlin, F. Pappenberger, P. B. Bates, J. E. Freer, and H. L. Cloke
Field(s): Climate Change, Atmospheric science
Summary: Catastrophe risk models used by the insurance industry are likely subject to significant uncertainty, but due to their proprietary nature and strict licensing conditions they are not available for experimentation. In addition, even if such experiments were conducted, these would not be repeatable by other researchers because commercial confidentiality issues prevent the details of proprietary catastrophe model structures from being described in public domain documents. However, such experimentation is urgently required to improve decision making in both insurance and reinsurance markets.
A new physically based stochastic event catalog for hail in Europe
Author(s): H. J. Punge • K. M. Bedka • M. Kunz • A. Werner
Field(s): Hail ! Climatology ! Overshooting top ! Europe
Summary: Hailstorms represent one of the major sources of damage and insurance loss to residential, commercial, and agricultural assets in several parts of Central Europe. However, there is little knowledge of hail risk across Europe beyond local historical damage reports due to the relative rarity of severe hail events and the lack of uniform detection methods. Here we present a new stochastic catalog of hailstorms for Europe.
The poleward migration of the location of tropical cyclone maximum intensity
Author(s): James P. Kossin, Kerry A. Emanuel, & Gabriel A. Vecchi
Field(s): Climate Change, Atmospheric science
Summary: Attempts to monitor changes in tropical cyclone activity have been hampered by inconsistencies in global data sets, such as measures of frequency, storm duration and intensity. Jim Kossin and colleagues by-pass this long-standing problem by instead focusing on the latitude at which tropical cyclones reached their lifetime maximum intensity, a far more robust measurement. They find that during the past 30 years the position of peak intensity has migrated steadily poleward, at a rate of about 60 km per decade. This shift appears to be associated with changes in vertical wind shear and potential intensity, which the authors suggest may be associated with recent increases in the width of the tropical belt associated with global warming.
The Impact on Workers' Compensation Insurance Markets of Allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Expire
Author(s): Michael Dworsky, Lloyd Dixon
Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law provides a government reinsurance backstop in the case of a terrorist attack by providing mechanisms for avoiding an immediate drawdown of capital for insured losses or possibly covering the most extreme losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again reconsidering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.
Development of the Global Width Database for Large Rivers
Author(s): Dai Yamazaki, Fiachra O’Loughlin, Mark A. Trigg, Zachary F. Miller, Tamlin M. Pavelsky, and Paul D. Bates
Summary: River width is a fundamental parameter of river hydrodynamic simulations, but no global-scale river width database based on observed water bodies has yet been developed. Here we present a new algorithm that automatically calculates river width from satellite-based water masks and flow direction maps.
Skillful long-range prediction of European and North American winters
Author(s): Scaife et al.
Field(s): Climate dynamics, Climate variability, Coupled models of the climate system, Global climate models
Summary: Until recently, long-range forecast systems showed only modest levels of skill in predicting surface winter climate around the Atlantic Basin and associated fluctuations in the North Atlantic Oscillation at seasonal lead times. Here we use a new forecast system to assess seasonal predictability of winter North Atlantic climate
The Impact on Federal Spending of Allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Expire
Author(s): Tom LaTourrette, Noreen Clancy
Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law creates an incentive for a functioning private terrorism insurance market by providing a government reinsurance backstop for catastrophic terrorist attack losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.
Technology: Fight floods on a global scale
Author(s): Guy J.-P. Schumann, Paul D. Bates, Jeffrey C. Neal & Konstantinos M. Andreadis
Summary: Bristol and NASA issue call for international co-operation on global-scale flood model
National Security Perspectives on Terrorism Risk Insurance in the United States
Author(s): Henry H. Willis, Omar Al-Shahery
Field(s): Community Resilience, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Of 2002, Terrorism Risk Management, United State
Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law provides a government reinsurance backstop in the case of a terrorist attack by providing mechanisms for avoiding an immediate drawdown of capital for insured losses or possibly covering the most extreme losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again reconsidering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets. This policy brief examines the potential national security implications of allowing TRIA to expire. Examining the history of terrorism in the United States since the passage of TRIA and reviewing counterterrorism studies, the authors find that terrorism remains a real national security threat, but one that is very difficult for insurers to model the risk of. They also find that terrorism risk insurance can contribute to making communities more resilient to terrorism events, so, to the extent that terrorism insurance is more available with TRIA than without it, renewing the legislation would contribute to improved national security.