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NEWARK, Calif. - October 23, 2014  According to a new report by RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk management firm, the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa has the potential to be the most deadly infectious disease event since the 1918 flu pandemic.

The current outbreak will continue to worsen while the deployment of resources is ramped up to meet the caseload. According to RMS modeling, until a tipping point is reached where the number of new daily cases declines rather than increases, the severity of the outbreak will continue to multiply, with the total number of new cases approximately doubling each month.

“Controlling the spread of this Ebola outbreak is more a question of logistics than virology,” said Dominic Smith, pandemic risk expert and senior manager of LifeRisks at RMS. “The fight against the Ebola epidemic is a race against a moving target; more resources are required as the number of cases increases.”

RMS modeling suggests that, based on current response efforts, the tipping point will not be reached until January 2015. Modeling further reveals a 55 percent chance that by the end of November, at least 1,000 new cases of Ebola will develop daily, and as many as 1,400 per day in a worst-case scenario. There have been more than 9,000 cases reported in total to date.

Adding to the devastation of the Ebola outbreak, overwhelmed medical systems in West Africa have less resources to respond to other diseases and the mortality rate of malaria and yellow fever is on the rise. Malaria deaths are likely to continue rising as the seasonal height of malaria transmission is reached next month.

RMS modeled the future paths of cases and deaths from the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which were combined with a probabilistic assessment of various international medical and military response scenarios to estimate the timing of the tipping point where cases are controlled such that the disease tapers off. 

If effective resources are deployed at a rate that outstrips the pace of increase in new cases, a tipping point can be reached where the number of new daily cases reaches a maximum, allowing response measures to kick in and prevent new infections at a rate that causes the epidemic to subside.

“The way to stop this outbreak is simple in principle and has been demonstrated in Nigeria and in specific cities in the affected region: reduce contacts with infected people by more than half,” said Smith. “The scale and pace of the international response will define how long it takes to reach the tipping point.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, even in the absence of treatments and vaccines, the epidemic would be brought under control and eventually come to an end if approximately 70 to 75 percent of cases are in medical care or treatment units, or in environments where there is a reduced risk of disease transmission.

In a realistic scenario based on current response efforts, RMS analysis projects the tipping point will be reached at the end of January 2015, with the outbreak subsiding by June 2015.

When modeling a disease, RMS first looks at the reported virulence and the transmissibility of the pathogen responsible for causing Ebola. This virus is extremely deadly, with an estimated case fatality rate of 69 to 73 percent. This range of estimates for transmissibility, as measured by R0, is between 1.5 and 2.2, which means on average an infected individual will transmit the virus to approximately two other people in a susceptible population.

RMS then takes into account mitigating criteria, including medical and non-medical interventions. In its modeling, RMS evaluated the current response resources in place in impacted countries, further resources already pledged and a range of estimates of potential additional resources that will be deployed. For each country, RMS used these factors to formulate five scenarios, ranging from very optimistic to very pessimistic, and their associated probabilities.

The number of beds for Ebola treatment currently in use is far below what is needed to reverse the outbreak in any of the three effected countries. To reach the tipping point sooner, faster ramp up of mitigating efforts is essential, but subsequently, fewer total beds and resources in general will be required.

For example, in order to reach the tipping point in Sierra Leone, the current number of beds in use needs to be approximately tripled by the end of November to halt the outbreak with the smallest total number of cases and at the lowest overall cost. If that fails, the number will need to increase to six times today’s number by the end of December to halt the outbreak.

A large degree of reliance will be placed on beds being rolled out in Ebola treatment centers (ETCs), which cost $5.7 million to set up and run a fifty-bed center for one month. Ebola community care units (ECUs) staffed by rapidly trained non-experts rather than medical workers are being set up in some areas, but there is larger uncertainty surrounding their effectiveness.

Treatments might help reduce the case fatality rate, but are very unlikely to have a significant role in halting the spread of the Ebola epidemic. An Ebola vaccine might be available in time to shorten the epidemic, but will not be produced in sufficient quantities to have an active role in halting the spread of the epidemic in the next few months.

RMS does not expect this outbreak of Ebola to become a significant mortality threat in other parts of the world. It is possible that it could spread to neighboring countries in West Africa. This risk can be reduced by appropriate screening of people leaving the impacted region and could be contained with rapid implementation of effective control measures.

In the situation where there are potentially 10,000 new cases per week in West Africa, there will be more cases exported into other countries. This is possible via two routes:

  • Foreign workers combating the spread of the virus are likely to be repatriated to their home countries. Currently the United States, United Kingdom, France and Cuba have delivered personnel in significant numbers. RMS does not consider this to be a probable source of escalation as such cases will be monitored and isolated by the public health systems already in place in those countries. 
  • Infected people travelling to other regions unchecked could transmit Ebola outside of West Africa. However, the capability of most countries to trace contacts is higher than in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and stronger travel control measures could be implemented if case numbers exceeded a prudent limit.

RMS will be updating the model with new numbers every few weeks, projecting the course of the event in near real-time.

 

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RMS Estimates that Total Insured Losses from the 2020 Western U.S. Wildfires Will Be Between US$7bn – US$13bn

Newark, CA – December 15, 2020 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates insured losses from the record-breaking western U.S. wildfires this season will be between US$7.0 and US$13.0 billion. These losses reflect estimates as of December 1, 2020 and represent an update from the previously estimated losses from fires up to September 20, 2020. The ignition of the highly damaging Glass Fire and additional spread of the CZU and LNU Complex Fires represent the most notable activity in California since September 20. RMS insured losses represent estimates from major wildfires in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado at December 1, 2020: Region Insured Losses (USD $ bn) as of 1 December, 2020 Northern California Oregon and Washington Colorado 5.0 - 9.0 1.0 - 3.0 Up to 1.0 The RMS estimate includes losses from property damage, including evacuation and smoke damage, business interruption (BI), and additional living expenses (ALE) across residential, commercial, and industrial lines. Smoke and evacuation are expected to be significant contributors to losses for the wildfires this season, contributing about 20 percent of losses in California and Colorado and about 35 percent in Oregon and Washington. The estimate also accounts for notable post-event loss amplification (PLA) from property damage (25 to 30 percent) and business interruption/ALE (up to 100 percent or greater). The RMS loss estimate is based on detailed modeling of fire spread, ember accumulations, and smoke dispersion of the fires utilizing the U.S. Wildfire High-Definition (HD) Model, part of the North America Wildfire HD Model suite, released in February, 2019. The model covers the entire contiguous U.S. and explicitly simulates ember and smoke to support detailed analysis of the impact of a wildfire beyond historical fire perimeters. The model’s findings were supported by Damage Inspection Specialist (DINS) damage surveys for California Fires, published damage reports from federal and respective state agencies for the Oregon, Washington, and Colorado fires, and the RMS U.S. Wildfire Industry Exposure Database. Michael Young, Vice President, Product Management said: “2020 represents the most destructive fire season on record, in terms of burn area in California. Since August, 69 major fires that exceeded 1,000 burned acres each, have burned so far. Five of the six largest ever California wildfires have occurred in 2020, with over 4.4 million acres burned in total to date. While fires earlier in the season were dominated by ignitions sparked by the intense lightning storm in August, extreme wind-driven fires dominated the last few months. A similar phenomenon resulted in record-breaking fires in Oregon as well this season, with over 20 major fires driven by extreme winds, burning more than 1.2 million acres so far. In October, Colorado experienced its three largest destructive fires with more than 24 major fires burning 850,000 acres in total. Rajkiran Vojjala, Vice President, Model Development said: “This wildfire season reaffirms the growing catastrophic nature of this peril. Wildfire risk is clearly evolving, not only in California, but also in other states, as we observed in Oregon and Colorado. While changing climate patterns have significantly influenced the record-breaking fires this season, several other factors also profoundly affected the ignition potential and expected losses from these events in different ways. Most notable amongst them are the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) measures undertaken by utilities, preparedness and response of firefighters in Northern California despite COVID-19 challenges, and recent legislative actions governing wildfire claims settlement such as the California Senate Bill 872. RMS is currently engaged with various stakeholders in evaluating these factors and understanding their impact on the emerging risk profile of this peril as part of its wildfire modeling agenda.”   END The technology and data used in providing this information is based on the scientific data, mathematical and empirical models, and encoded experience of scientists and specialists. As with any model of physical systems, particularly those with low frequencies of occurrence and potentially high severity outcomes, the actual losses from catastrophic events may differ from the results of simulation analyses. RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RMS (OR ITS PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, OR OTHER AFFILIATED COMPANIES) BE LIABLE FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF.

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RMS Collaborates with Willis Re and Securian Financial on Launching the First Indemnity-Based Mortality Catastrophe Bond

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November 04, 2020
RMS Estimates that Total Onshore U.S. Insured Losses from Hurricane Zeta Will Be Between US$3bn – US$5bn

Newark, CA – November 4, 2020 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates total onshore U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Zeta to be between US$3 and US$5 bn. The estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) of between US$200m and US$300m. U.S. insured loss estimates for Hurricane Zeta (US$ bn): Wind + Surge NFIP Total 2.8 - 4.7 0.2 -0.3 3.0 - 5.0 This estimate includes wind and storm surge losses across the impacted states, including Louisiana and Mississippi, based on analysis of RMS ensemble footprints in Version 18.1 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Model. RMS ensemble footprints are reconstructions of Zeta’s hazards that capture the uncertainties surrounding observed winds and storm surge. Losses associated with inland flooding are expected to be negligible, due to Zeta’s fast forward speed post-landfall, which kept high rainfall totals to isolated areas. 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Thus, we expect a smaller loss reduction factor compared to the Delta and Laura events, largely attributed to structures in the overlapping region that sustained some, but not total damage from Sally, followed by additional damage from Zeta,” said Jeff Waters, Senior Product Manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.  Losses reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business, along with post-event loss amplification (PLA) and non-modeled sources of loss. RMS expects most insured losses will be from residential lines. “Power outages and treefall-driven impacts were two key factors in Zeta. The storm’s fast forward speed brought damaging winds well inland, particularly in areas with an abundance of trees, including metro Atlanta. This, combined with already saturated soil conditions, led to one of the most significant power outages of the season. Some fallen trees also directly damaged buildings and vehicles. We expect these factors to amplify insured losses.” said Rajkiran Vojjala, Vice President, Model Development.  The estimate also includes losses to the NFIP in the range of US$200 million to US$300 million. NFIP losses were derived using the RMS view of NFIP exposure based on 2019 policy-in-force data published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Version 18.1 North Atlantic Hurricane Models. In Mexico, RMS estimates insured losses from Zeta to be minimal. However, consistent with previous impactful tropical cyclone events this season, overall insured losses constitute a fraction of the total economic losses, particularly in Mexico which has significantly lower rates of insurance take-up compared to the U.S. Additionally, RMS estimates insured losses to offshore platforms, rigs, and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico to not exceed US$500m from wind and wave-driven damages. While platforms in the Central Gulf of Mexico are built with higher deck heights to negotiate wave hazard, Zeta exposed a significant number of state lease platforms to high winds and waves along the Louisiana coast. Offshore losses are based on the October 2020 vintage of the RMS Offshore Platform Industry Exposure Database. Zeta made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At landfall, Zeta produced sustained winds of 110 mph (177 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. Informed by a suite of real-time observational data sources, RMS HWind products estimated comparable winds at landfall. Consistent with several previous events this season, the landfall location and timing were well forecast by the HWind forecasting products more than 72 hours before landfall. “Despite encountering cooler waters and strong wind shear in its approach, Zeta managed to intensify before making landfall in Louisiana, nearly achieving major hurricane status. The storm’s fast forward motion–common for events that occur later in the season–reduced material water-driven impacts along the Gulf coast. However, that rapid movement brought hurricane-force winds well inland before Zeta finally weakened. In this unprecedented 2020 season, Zeta is another reminder that the season is far from over,” said Pete Dailey, Vice President, Model Development. Hurricane Zeta was the twenty-seventh named storm of the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season, the eleventh hurricane, and the sixth U.S. landfalling hurricane of this extremely active season. 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RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RMS (OR ITS PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, OR OTHER AFFILIATED COMPANIES) BE LIABLE FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF.

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About RMS

Risk Management Solutions, Inc. (RMS) shapes the world’s view of risk for insurers, reinsurers, financial services organizations, and the public sector. We empower organizations to evaluate and manage global risk from natural and man-made catastrophes, including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, climate change, cyber, and pandemics.

RMS helped pioneer the catastrophe risk industry, and continues to lead in innovation by offering unmatched science, technology, and 300+ catastrophe risk models. Leaders across multiple industries can address the risks of tomorrow with RMS Risk Intelligence™ (RI), our open, unified cloud platform for global risk, which enables them to tap into RMS HD models, rich data layers, intuitive applications, and APIs.

Further supporting the industry's transition to modern risk management, RMS spearheaded the Risk Data Open Standard (RDOS), a new modern open standard data schema designed to be an extensible, flexible, and future-proof asset within modeling/analysis systems.

RMS is a trusted solutions partner, enabling effective risk management for better business decision-making across risk identification and selection, mitigation, underwriting, and portfolio management.

Visit RMS.com to learn more and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Matthew Longbottom

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+44 20 7444 7706 prteam@rms.com

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+1 551 226 1604 prteam@rms.com
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