Newark, Calif. - January 31, 2013 Last week, research resumed on the highly virulent H5N1 avian influenza viruses after a year-long ban. With the controversial lifting of the moratorium, researchers will now try to increase the transmissibility or virulence of H5N1 to help prepare vaccines and other medical treatments in case of a pandemic. According to analysis from RMS' infectious disease model, however, pursuing this 'gain of function' research increases the chance of a man-made H5N1 pandemic. While the probability of such an event occurring remains low, insurance companies need to ensure they have enough capital to manage the risk.
"Laboratory experimentation remains controversial because of the possibility of creating a super flu that might not have occurred naturally. The H5N1 influenza virus is highly virulent and rapidly mutating, and its evolution, through either natural or laboratory means, could pose the most significant pandemic threat of the modern era," commented Dr. Maura Sullivan, senior director of LifeRisks at RMS.
To help inform the debate, RMS, which specializes in the quantification of extreme risk for the insurance and financial services industries, has used its infectious disease model to simulate scenarios for pandemics that could result from the escape of a virus from a research laboratory. It estimates that there is a small but significant likelihood of an escaped lab pathogen triggering a global pandemic. Commenting on the implications for insurers, Dr. Andrew Coburn, senior vice president of LifeRisks at RMS, said: "In the long run, if this research results in good vaccines, then it could reduce pandemic risk by 30%, but in the short term the research itself poses an increased risk. For risk managers looking to stress test their Solvency II capital requirements, RMS' model indicates that an additional 5% in capital may be required to compensate for a possible man-made pandemic occurring as a result of the lifting of the research ban."
In nature, H5N1 has infected over 600 people globally, typically via direct contact with an infected bird, and killed around 60% of those infected. According to RMS' analysis, a H5N1 virus that is as transmissible as the 1918 Spanish flu could result in tens of millions of deaths worldwide. Transmissible viruses produced in the laboratory are not yet as deadly as avian flu in the wild, but the new round of research is aimed at achieving this.
H5N1 influenza research currently requires biosafety level three laboratories rather than the maximum security level four. Researchers are resisting upgrading to level four because they argue that it will slow research progress. Historical laboratory-acquired infections demonstrate that biosafety measures occasionally fail, and if a pandemic were to occur from a laboratory escape, there is a wide range of potential outcomes.
"We need to ensure an appropriate level of laboratory safety to balance the increased risk with the public health benefit," said Dr. Sullivan. "The research community alone should not be solely responsible for regulating practices that could significantly increase infectious disease mortality risk for all. Even a mild epidemic with limited mortality can have catastrophic economic impacts."
The potential severity of a global pandemic makes it imperative that a full risk assessment is carried out, including the possible threats and benefits of allowing future research, to ensure that research is well-controlled and carried out under the appropriate security levels.
Newark, Calif. – May 7, 2021 – At its annual Exceedance conference this week, RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, demonstrated the benefits (re)insurance customers are experiencing by moving to RMS Risk Modeler™, the cloud-based risk modeling application running on the RMS open cloud platform, Risk Intelligence™. Risk Modeler, a next-generation cloud-based modeling application, is designed to meet the complex needs of risk analysts and cat modelers at scale. Risk Modeler enables real-time risk analytics and unified, high-performance execution of RiskLink models and High-Definition (HD) simulation models. Designed with a deep understanding of customer requirements and leveraging the latest technological innovations, Risk Modeler easily integrates with other on-premise applications as well as other cloud applications through open APIs and export services, giving customers greater flexibility and choice. This week at Exceedance, the industry has heard from RMS customers about the advantages they are gaining by adopting Risk Modeler to help manage their risk portfolios. Gallagher Re, Price Forbes & Partners Ltd, and Unipol spoke during the conference keynotes about their experiences with Risk Modeler to date. Howden Group also shared their insights on the benefits of Risk Modeler. Neil Bramley, analytics executive, Gallagher Re, “Gallagher was keen to take advantage of the SaaS Solution, pushing the technology harder and faster, leveraging the benefits and scale of secure cloud computing to ultimately create tangible advantage and upsides for our clients. Risk Modeler helped us grow our analytical capability tremendously and our usage stats are through the roof compared to last year, with the added benefit of zero downtime whenever our divisions are looking to access new functionality and solutions.” Gian Luca De Marchi, group chief risk officer, Unipol Gruppo S.p.A., “Risk modeling through the Risk Modeler application allows us to run portfolio analyses and to support risk management assessments for risk profiling, risk monitoring, capital allocation, and optimal risk transfer. Now, the RMS models could help us in moving to an internal model, reducing the gap between economic capital and regulatory capital, and provide robust support in meeting regulatory requirements in particular in relation to stress tests.” David Flandro, managing director, Head of HX Analytics, Howden Group, “Risk Modeler together with RMS’s trusted science is an important part of our analytics ecosystem that helps Howden provide a differentiated service to our clients and partners. The SaaS delivery and API-based development framework is well positioned to help service our digital-first vision with distinction.” Alexander Hanks, executive director, head of actuarial & analytics, Price Forbes & Partners Ltd, “We worked with RMS as early adopters, making full use of Risk Modeler’s API first development approach to fully integrate modeling with our own cloud tools, switching off RiskLink and RiskBrowser in the process. Gone are the days of manually working with spreadsheets, copying and pasting and relying on manually re-running modeling of jobs. The automation work has taken manual time-consuming tasks away and we're able to spend much more time on interpreting modeling results and providing deeper insights to our clients.” Speaking at the conference, RMS CEO, Karen White, said, “When RMS launched Risk Modeler 2.0 in 2020, more customers started on their cloud migration with us. We are seeing more momentum in the industry for digital first strategies. Today, insurers, reinsurers, and brokers from every major global geographic region are on the RMS platform. Leveraging leading models, technology, and the cloud to gain greater risk insights helps them to avoid surprises, confidently deploy more capital, and potentially develop new products and new business models.”
Newark, Calif. – May 6, 2021 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, announced new innovations to ExposureIQ™ on the Risk Intelligence platform, including real-time catastrophe event visualizations and more powerful reporting. RMS also unveiled new capabilities to allow cross-portfolio accumulations across reinsurance and insurance workflows. ExposureIQ is an innovative, cloud-based exposure management application designed to help portfolio managers gain deeper insights into their books, scaling to millions of locations, enabling easy discovery of hotspots, diversification, and portfolio re-balancing. The application provides access to exposure information which leverages events and footprints from RMS Event Response and RMS’s unique HWind real-time forecasting capabilities, to help gain a quicker and more accurate assessment of potential losses before, during, and after an event. Real-time analysis and insight into portfolios allow for alignment with a company’s risk appetite, exposing threats and opportunities within their portfolio. The latest ExposureIQ release provides powerful reporting with an in-app dashboard that allows portfolio analysis across the most critical building criteria, allowing customers to understand how varying geocoding resolutions impact results as well as understanding which building occupancies and construction types are driving their losses. This advanced reporting functionality speeds up analysis and empowers portfolio managers to make faster, better-informed decisions. ExposureIQ is now the only application in the market to provide near real-time event visualization through a powerful new mapping module that integrates RMS Event Response and RMS HWind data. There’s no longer a need for customers to download and upload data to their system. Customers can now automatically access the latest event data, visualize events against exposures, and run accumulations – all within the application on a near real-time basis. At its annual Exceedance Conference, RMS demonstrated how ExposureIQ will expand on these capabilities to allow customers to run accumulations across both their insurance and reinsurance books of business. It will enable users to easily build structures that represent business hierarchies in an intuitive way. For the first time, customers will be able to run accumulations across portfolios and across cedents all in one application and leverage the RMS rich data catalog derived from our market-leading model science. Speaking at the annual RMS Exceedance conference, RMS executive vice president, product, Cihan Biyikoglu, said: “Exposure management is one of the most important aspects in terms of overall business profitability and keeping business risk appetite in check. Real-time exposure information such as wind forecasting from RMS Event Response gives customers the insights and control they need during critical points before, during, and after an event. The inclusion of cross-portfolio and cross-cedant accumulation in this release takes portfolio analytics to an unprecedented level. RMS understands the importance of making decisions based on quality data and insights. ExposureIQ brings together excellence in modeling with the flexibility, scale, and performance of the cloud to enable companies to develop a comprehensive view of their portfolio, optimize workflows, generate quality insights, and improve profitability.”
Newark, Calif. – May 5, 2021 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, today announces new models. Speaking at the annual RMS Exceedance conference, Mohsen Rahnama Ph.D., chief risk modeling officer and executive vice president, said: “Risk is increasingly complex and connected. RMS is focused on providing the highest quality and most transparent, robust catastrophe models to the industry in this environment. With the new inland flood models and global flood hazard maps, we address an important set of regions where flood is the most important peril, and now cover 100 percent of flood premiums written worldwide. The significant update to the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models incorporates the latest science, and applies the learnings from 2017 onward.” Global Flood Coverage Key flood models and maps announced today at Exceedance 2021 include: A new inland flood model for China will be available in June 2021, concurrently on both RiskLink Version 21.0 and Risk Modeler, the RMS cloud platform for model execution and analytics. New inland flood models for New Zealand and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia) are available in the second half of 2021. Global flood hazard maps for over 200 countries will also be available in the second half of 2021. With this significant expansion, the RMS Global Flood Solution Suite now offers unmatched high-resolution flood model coverage and a unified approach to manage all global flood risk. These models and maps cover 100 percent of global property gross written premiums for flood. North Atlantic Hurricane Significant updates to the industry-leading North Atlantic Hurricane (NAHU) Models were also announced. The North Atlantic Hurricane Models Version 21.0 now include medium-term event rates, lessons learned from the 2017-2020 hurricane seasons, and a new alternative view of vulnerability for Florida Residential Lines. Importantly, RMS incorporated an alternative view of risk accounting for the Florida Building Code 25 percent Roof Replacement Rule, which was expanded from the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) to cover the entire state of Florida in the 2017 Florida Building Code. These key updates empower customers to make more informed rate setting decisions. Additional 2021 RMS Models RMS Canada Wildfire Model has been added to the RMS North America Wildfire Models Suite and is available now. Canada Wildfire has coast-to-coast coverage for Canada. Consistent with the RMS U.S. Wildfire Model, the Canada model incorporates ignition and spread of wildfires, ember footprints, smoke footprints and urban conflagration, as well as the financial model that include hours and distance clauses for representation of policy terms. RMS Cyber Solutions Version 5.1, available now, incorporates a new dashboard for underwriters providing powerful cyber underwriting analytics and rich data covering cyber incidents and threats. RiskLink Version 21.0 RiskLink 21.0 will be available June 2021. All RiskLink models will be available concurrently on both RiskLink and Risk Modeler.