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NEWARK, CA – February 14, 2019 – RMS®, the world’s leading risk modeling and analytics firm, announces the release of the RMS U.S. Wildfire High Definition (HD) Model, the most comprehensive solution available for addressing wildfire risk across the Contiguous United States (48 States). Since 2014, devastating wildfires have unleashed more than USD $30 billion in claims and five of the 10 most destructive wildfires ever have occurred in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Severe wildfires have become more prevalent and recent events have demonstrated the critical need for more advanced tools, more granular analytics, and broader geographic coverage in today’s risk modeling solutions.
Until now, the industry has relied on inadequate zoning and mapping products to evaluate wildfire risk. Recent cat events have highlighted many deficiencies in these tools, including the failure to account for structural vulnerabilities, the inability to highlight areas susceptible to urban conflagrations, the coarse resolution, and the lack of probabilistic insight.
The RMS U.S. Wildfire HD Model, part of the RMS Wildfire HD Model Suite, captures the full impact of wildfire at high resolution to enable an unprecedented understanding of the complex behaviors that characterize fire spread, ember accumulation, and smoke dispersion. Simulating over 18 million wildfires across the contiguous U.S., the U.S. Wildfire Model enables users to have more granular and comprehensive approach to underwriting and portfolio management.
“The past five years have demonstrated that the industry needs better ways to manage their wildfire risk comprehensively: for underwriting, for reinsurance purchasing, and for capital management, ” said Chris Folkman, Senior Director of Product Management at RMS, “After three consecutive seasons with major cat events, it’s clear that wildfire needs to be treated more like a peak peril and less like a simple matter of attritional loss. Wildfire risk has a steep gradient, where different houses in the same neighborhood can have drastically different risk profiles. We’re confident our analytics can equip property writers to price, underwrite, and deploy capital with precision – for any Contiguous U.S. location.”
To build the model, RMS partnered with top insurers, mitigation experts, and government agencies to ensure that the model’s data, calibration, and scope addresses market gaps. This includes hundreds of millions of dollars of granular claims data informing the calibration of 13 site-level adjustment features, as well as explicit simulation of ember travel that goes beyond traditional fuel-cased fire techniques.
Anne D. Cope, Ph.D., P.E., Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Chief Engineer said, “IBHS is proud to have partnered with RMS in their development of a wildfire solution that includes relevant risk factors like explicit ember modeling while also capturing the latest data from the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons. The RMS Wildfire model is an important tool towards ensuring that wildfire risk can be confidently understood across the (re)insurance industry.”
Anneliese Jivan, President of The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (“FAIR”) Plan stated, "With the increasing number of severe wildfires in the U.S., understanding the impact of fire mitigation has never been more important. We're hopeful that our collaboration with RMS in the development of their wildfire model will enable better industry data collection practices and a more active focus on home fire safety."
To learn more about the RMS approach to wildfire risk management, click here.
NEWARK, CA – February 23, 2023 – Moody’s RMS®, the leading global catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, estimates economic losses from the moment magnitude (Mw) Mw7.8 and Mw7.5 earthquakes that struck southern Turkey on Monday, February 6 are likely to exceed US$25 billion (TL₺471 billion), and the total insured loss is likely to exceed US$5 billion (TL₺94 billion). These loss estimates reflect the impact of the earthquakes in Turkey only; losses in Syria are not included. The insured losses include those to private insurers as well as to the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP). The loss estimates are based on an analysis of the earthquake sequence using Moody’s RMS Europe Earthquake Models and reflect damage to property and contents, and business interruption, across residential, commercial, and industrial lines in Turkey. These estimates do not include post-event loss amplification or losses to non-modeled exposures such as transport and utility infrastructure. On Monday, February 6, an Mw7.8 earthquake struck east of the Turkish city of Nurdaği, triggering a strong earthquake sequence. This included an Mw7.5 earthquake that struck south-southeast of Ekinözü, Turkey. These earthquakes occurred in southern Turkey near the northern border with Syria, causing widespread and severe damage across Turkey and northern Syria, with shaking felt as far away as Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, and the State of Palestine. The events ruptured multiple faults across the broad East Anatolia fault zone. The region is recognized as having a high earthquake hazard, with multiple earthquakes of Mw7.0 or greater since the nineteenth century. Nilesh Shome, Vice President of Earthquake Model Development at Moody’s RMS said: “The earthquakes ruptured geometrically complex faults with multiple branches and were part of an active sequence that included over 400 events of Mw4 or greater. It is very unusual for an earthquake to trigger another event of such a magnitude as the Mw7.5 earthquake. The two largest earthquakes generated significant ground motions, and many areas were impacted by both events.” The devastation was widespread. According to the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change, 11 provinces were severely affected by the earthquakes, and the damage was worst in Gaziantep, Hatay, and Kahramanmaraş. As of February 22, over 335,000 buildings are reported to have been damaged. A unique contributor to the overall loss is that most of the economic losses due to shaking can be attributed to structures with severe damage that have either already collapsed or will require demolition. Observations from early damage reports issued by the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change, and Turkish research reconnaissance indicate a systemic lack of adherence to seismic provisions, including government ‘amnesty’ programs that have allowed continued occupancy of structures that do not meet seismic design requirements. Ongoing research will aim to understand the full extent of these code lapses, together with any future code updates and enforcement mechanisms that could arise from this event. Moody's RMS anticipates that any tightening of the codes or more stringent enforcement will likely increase repair and rebuild times, especially as the number of destroyed structures is so extensive. The damage reports to date suggest that mid- and high-rise buildings contribute significantly to the overall event loss. The road to recovery in Turkey will take several years due to the scale of the damage, and complex macroeconomic conditions that existed prior to the events, including significant inflation, will hamper the reconstruction and add to the overall costs. Laura Barksby, Product Manager, Moody’s RMS, concluded: “The events highlighted the devastation that can arise when large magnitude events coincide with vulnerable building stock. We continue to learn from each significant earthquake, and the events in Turkey act as a wake-up call for other earthquake-prone regions, particularly concerning the true quality of the building stock.” END The technology and data used in providing this information are 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. MOODY’S RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS, AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT 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 MOODY’S 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.  Source: https://www.csb.gov.tr/  Source: Middle East Technical University Preliminary Reconnaissance Report on February 6, 2023  Source: Construction Amnesty
NEWARK, CA – 21 February 2023 – Ocean Reinsurance has signed a new agreement with Moody’s RMS®, the leading global catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, to help develop and expand client opportunities through the use of the Risk Modeler™ and ExposureIQ™ applications, both running on the Moody’s RMS Intelligent Risk Platform™. Carlos Chamorro, CEO, Ocean Re, said: “As we continue to grow in our core Latin American markets, as well as increase our presence across Asia and Europe, we felt it was important to enhance the support we can offer our clients by offering strategic views of risk combined with insights and analytics to strengthen accumulation and portfolio management.” Guillermo Eslava, incoming CEO (and current Managing Director) of Ocean Re, said: “RMS will be the right ally to continue Ocean Re’s profitable expansion of its operations by providing additional strength to our underwriting analysis in an evolving climate environment. Building additional underwriting tools will strengthen Ocean Re’s market position while supporting the development of innovative solutions for our clients.” Designed using our deep knowledge and understanding of customer needs, and leveraging the latest technological innovations, the Risk Modeler application easily integrates with other on-premises applications as well as other cloud applications through open application programming interfaces (APIs) and export services, giving customers greater flexibility and choice. ExposureIQ is an exposure management application that makes organization-wide risk exposure management and event response faster and more accurate for better-informed decision-making. Michael Richitelli, Global Head of Sales, Moody’s RMS added: “With more than 16 years of experience, Ocean Re has a solid reputation across Latin America and beyond. Better insights from roll-ups across both insurance and reinsurance portfolios, combined with robust financial models mean that complex reinsurance structures can be viewed and analyzed with far greater speed and accuracy. We are delighted to be working with Ocean Re at this exciting time as they embark on their future business milestones.” ENDS About Ocean Re Ocean International Reinsurance Company Limited (Ocean Re), since 2014 has obtained and held an AM Best Financial Strength Rating of “A-” and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” with a stable outlook. Ocean Re is a multi-line P&C and L&H carrier that currently serves over 137 countries and with a physical presence in five countries. It has achieved a GWP of US$414 million by the end of 2022 with a combined ratio of 88.2%.
NEWARK, CA – January 25, 2023 – Moody’s RMS®, the leading global catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, estimates total U.S. economic losses from the recent California flooding at US$5-7 billion. This estimate reflects inland flood impacts for the U.S. and includes damage to infrastructure. The insured losses are anticipated to be between US$0.5-1.5 billion, including losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the private flood market. The overall economic loss estimate is based on an event reconstruction using the Moody’s RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model and reflects property damage, contents, and business interruption, across residential, commercial, industrial, automobile and infrastructure assets. A series of extratropical cyclones starting December 26, 2022, impacted the West Coast of the U.S, which resulted in heavy rainfall, overtopped rivers, flash floods, levee breaches, mudslides, fallen trees, debris flow, and heavy snow at high altitudes, together with some wind damage. The rainfall associated with these extratropical cyclones was exacerbated by a band of high atmospheric water vapor, also known as an ‘atmospheric river’. The rainfall intensity in California was so extreme that several locations in central California set new three-week rainfall records and certain locations received their annual average rainfall totals in less than one month. This led to widespread flash floods and river overtopping, for example, water depths in the San Lorenzo River upstream of Santa Cruz rose by more than 16 feet (4.87 meters) in less than eight hours. This was the highest recorded water depth for the San Lorenzo River since records began some 85 years ago. Infrastructure damage, which is accounted for within the economic loss estimates, was extensive. State highways and local roads bore the brunt of the damage due to a combination of flooding and mudslides. Trees previously stressed by dry conditions were uprooted due to high water velocities, saturated soils and heavy winds, which also caused damage to power networks, as well as to cars and properties. The continuous rainfall and compound impacts from riverine-groundwater-coastal interactions also resulted in prolonged flooding for certain urban coastal areas of California. Furthermore, the continuous drought preceding these extratropical cyclones events adds an extra dimension of complexity for reservoir operators and residents. It is important to highlight that 2022 was the second driest year in over 128 years for certain areas (e.g., Santa Cruz) and was categorized under ‘extreme drought’ according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. Although there has been a significant increase in the water levels of major reservoirs and snowpack, it remains unlikely that California is out of the drought, especially when it comes to aquifer replenishment, given the last three years of extreme drought and excessive groundwater withdrawals. These storms generated high-intensity rainfall resulting in a high proportion of rainfall running off into the ocean, whereas aquifers generally recharge gradually from less intense rainfall systems and snow melt. “To put this event in historical perspective with the 1862 ARkStorm, although some impacted areas are similar, the ARkStorm produced much more severe precipitation, for example, 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) of precipitation in San Francisco compared to ~ 15 inches (38 centimeters) from this event. Another important mitigating factor for this event is the presence of flood defenses, which were mostly absent in 1862,” said Mohsen Rahnama, Chief Risk Modeling Officer, Moody’s RMS. A relatively small proportion of the economic damage is expected to be covered by insurance. The number of households in California with flood insurance stands at less than two percent – a figure that has been steadily declining. As of August 2022, there were only 193,281 residential National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies in place, representing a decline of around five percent as compared to 2021. These low flood insurance take-up rates are attributed to the fact that only homeowners holding a government-backed loan who live in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are mandated to obtain a flood insurance policy. But these SFHA boundary ‘flood zones’ do not always reflect the current flood risk, are backward-looking, and are infrequently revised. Other factors impacting flood insurance take-up rates include, but are not limited to, affordability, the misconception that flood is covered under a standard homeowners’ policy, and a lack of understanding of the associated incurred cost from flooding. Firas Saleh, Director, Product Management, Moody’s RMS, concluded: “Extreme drought leads to soil compaction which means less infiltration and more runoff, hence less aquifer recharge and higher risk of flooding. Nowhere is safe from flooding in California today. If we’ve learned anything from this extreme rainfall and subsequent damage, it’s that even perceived low-risk flood zones are still flood zones. If it rains, it can overflow.”