Category Archives: Risk Modeling

Earthquakes and Tall Buildings: Any Changes for Modeling?

A recent article entitled “A Seismic Change in Predicting How Earthquakes Will Shake Tall Buildings” that appeared in the New York Times on June 27, has generated some concern regarding the performance of tall buildings during earthquakes. The article cites statements made during the eleventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering — which several RMS earthquake engineering experts attended, stating that there are large changes being introduced to ground motion models. Ground motion models predict the intensity of ground shaking at a site.

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RMS: Working for the Good of the Game

On November 13, 2015, the multiple terrorist attacks on Paris began with a suicide bomb blast at the 81,000 capacity Stade de France soccer stadium, where France were playing Germany in an international friendly. Soccer is the world’s most popular game, and terrorism is the language of being noticed. When France hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1998, Algerian terrorists planned to attack the opening match in Marseille between England and Tunisia, and follow-up by attacking the U.S. soccer team in their Paris hotel. Fortunately, a mole inside the Algerian terrorist organization passed on intelligence to the French security service, and the plot was disrupted.

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Catastrophe Modeling: The Third Wave of Disruptive Technology

Catastrophe models, conceived in the 1970s and created at the end of the 1980s, have proved to be a “disruptive technology” in reshaping the catastrophe insurance and reinsurance sectors. The first wave of disruption saw the arrival of fresh capital, to found eight new “technical” Bermudan catastrophe reinsurers. The “Class of 1993” included Centre Cat Ltd., Global Capital Re, IPC Re, LaSalle Re, Mid-Ocean Re, Partner Re, Renaissance Re and Tempest Re. Using catastrophe models, these companies were able to set up shop and price hurricane and earthquake contracts without having decades of their own claims history. While only two of these companies survive as independent reinsurers, the legacy of the disruption of 1993 is Bermuda’s sustained dominance in global reinsurance.

A second wave of disruption starting in the mid-1990s saw the introduction of catastrophe bonds: a slow trickle at first but now a steady flow of new structures, as investors who knew nothing about catastrophic loss came to trust modeled risk estimates to establish the bond interest rates and default probabilities. Catastrophe bonds have subsequently undergone their own “Cambrian explosion” into a diverse set of insurance-linked securities (ILS) structures, including those in which the funds go back to supplement reinsurer’s capital. Again, this disruption in accessing novel sources of pension and investment fund capital would have been impossible without catastrophe loss models.

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EXPOSURE: Assigning a Return Period to 2017

This is a taster of an article published in the latest edition of EXPOSURE magazine. For the full article click here or visit the EXPOSURE website.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (HIM) tore through the Caribbean and U.S. in 2017, resulting in insured losses over US$80 billion. Twelve years after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma (KRW), EXPOSURE asks if the (re)insurance industry was better prepared for its next “terrible trio” and what lessons can be learned.

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Japan: No Risk (Management), No Reward

Yasunori Araga, managing director – RMS Japan

Christine Ziehmann, vice president – Model Product Management, RMS

On June 14, RMS Japan welcomed 119 insurance professionals to its fourth In:Site conference — a record total, high-up on the twenty-sixth floor of the Sanno Park Tower in Tokyo, with the RMS Japan headquarters also based in this building.

Yasunori Araga, managing director of RMS Japan opened the afternoon event, and introduced an agenda that was highly relevant to the core concerns of RMS clients, from domestic issues such as earthquake risk in Japan, to the flooding and related losses following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The agenda also explored the impact of modeling on one of the oldest lines of business — marine, and right through to one of the newest with cyber. The event attracted insurance professionals from multiple departments of insurance companies, such as reinsurance, risk management, property underwriting, casualty underwriting, marine underwriting, international and more.

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A Turning Tide?

Guest Blog: Jane Warring, senior counsel, Clyde & Co. U.S. LLP

A few weeks’ back I attended my first Exceedance. If you go to a new conference, you are never entirely sure what to expect. Suffice it to say though, it was like no industry event I have ever attended — and in a good way.

For one, I seemed to be the only lawyer in the village, which made a pleasant change. And they know how to party, the “EP” knocks the socks off your average “corporate reception”.

Above all, though, I was blown away by the sessions. I have spent almost 15 years litigating first-party property/coverage disputes at both the trial and appellate levels. So, I know a thing or two about the interplay between exposure, risk and coverage. But Exceedance was a whole new level of learning: information-rich content, transparent discussions, engaged delegates and high-quality speakers.

Like many attendees, I filed a trip report on my return to the office. I wanted to make sure my colleagues who lead our resilience work benefited from my learnings. This got me thinking. What were some of the top takeaways from #Exceedance18?

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Hurricane Season Outlook: Are We Heading for a Repeat of 2017?

With the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season underway, the (re)insurance industry is still reflecting on the events of last year. The 2017 season will be remembered as one of the most active, damaging, and costliest seasons on record, and specifically for the impacts of three storms: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

RMS followed its longstanding strategy of delivering thoughtful and thorough analysis of all available data sources when responding to the events of 2017, including the use of instrumentation and in-person RMS staff research and reconnaissance.

For Harvey, we provided insight into our event response with regular updates from across the organization and outlined how we deployed the new RMS® U.S. Inland Flood HD Model in real-time to support a pipeline of flood deliverables for our clients. And for Maria, the use of the latest modeling innovations, up-to-date exposure and vulnerability data supported by on the ground presence and local knowledge helped us to provide clients with a clearer picture of post-event losses across the islands impacted.

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EXPOSURE: Data Flow in a Digital Ecosystem

This is a taster of an article published in the latest edition of EXPOSURE magazine. For the full article click here or visit the EXPOSURE website.

There has been much industry focus on the value of digitization at the customer interface, but EXPOSURE magazine asks industry thought-leaders, what is its role in risk management and portfolio optimization? How can we help teams on the underwriting frontline?

For Louise Day, director of operations at the International Underwriting Association (IUA), a major issue is that much of the data generated across the industry is held remotely from the underwriter.

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Resilience 2018: Driven by Purpose

There is nothing quite like a “banging EP” to make me feel young again. But that wasn’t the only aspect of my most recent trip to Miami that brought out the millennial in me.

If you missed Exceedance 2018 a few weeks back, you probably also missed Resilience 2018. Embedded every year within Exceedance, RMS holds a space for policymakers and business leaders to collaborate to a very important end: ensuring local communities and regional economies are resilient to the shocks and stresses they face.

Much has been written about how millennials seek work that is meaningful (Schullery, 2013); work which solidifies their self-efficacy (Chalofsky + Cavallaro, 2013). I also blog about the relationship between aims and actions; between purpose and profit.

And there’s some truth in the generational stereotypes. After all, research suggests that impact investing continues to “skyrocket.”

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Mexico Hurricane: A Tale of Two Coastlines

It has been a brisk start to the Pacific Hurricane Season. Within the first two weeks of June, there have already been two hurricanes off the Pacific Coast of Mexico recording Cat 4 maximum sustained winds on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. On June 7, Hurricane Aletta, tracking far off the coast of southern Mexico, saw a period of rapid intensification with winds doubling to 140 miles per hour (220 km/h) within 24 hours before weakening and dissipating. The second named hurricane, Hurricane Bud had a similar intensification, going from 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) on June 10, to 132 miles per hour (212 km/h) some 24 hours later. Bud’s legacy now looks to be a weekend of heavy rain over the Baja California peninsula. For the North Atlantic Hurricane Season, the hurricane tally stays at zero.

So, lots of activity already in the Pacific, but overall, how different is storm activity on the Pacific compared to Mexico’s Atlantic Coast? RMS estimates that for Mexico, around 40 percent of the annual average loss from wind comes from the Pacific. To evaluate the complete hurricane risk for Mexico, the upcoming Version 18 release of the RMS® North Atlantic Hurricane Model will model both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

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