Earth shakes as Willis Research Network (WRN) teams up with EUCENTRE,
Pavia to extend seismic team
LONDON, 11 June 2008 –
The Willis Research Network (WRN), part of Willis Group
Holdings Limited (NYSE:WSH), today announced that the EUCENTRE in Pavia has
joined its network to enhance the quality of the earthquake research and modelling it
offers to the international re-insurance industry. The EUCENTRE, Europe’s largest
earthquake research facility, incorporates the renowned ROSE School of
postgraduate seismic research and engineering at the University of Pavia.
Dr Rui Pinho becomes a Senior Academic within the WRN. Dr Pinho is Head of the
Seismic Risk Section of EUCENTRE and Assistant Professor of Structural Design in
the Department of Structural Mechanics at the University of Pavia. Dr Pinho’s main
research interests include the evaluation of earthquake risk at urban or regional
scale and the development of advanced analytical tools for analysis of structures
subjected to seismic action. He will be joined by other members of the EUCENTRE
and ROSE School Faculty, including Dr Helen Crowley, to refine new techniques for
use in earthquake catastrophe models.
The Pavia team will also be supported by Willis-funded PhD students jointly
supervised by Dr Pinho and Professor Julian Bommer of WRN member, Imperial
At the WRN Seismic Group meeting held in Pavia to mark the EUCENTRE’s entry
into the Network, Dr Pinho presented new research into the 1908 Messina
earthquake, Europe’s most powerful earthquake in recorded history. One hundred
years after the event, Dr Pinho showed how a similar event today could result in
25,000 fatalities and widespread economic losses and social breakdown.
The EUCENTRE features the most powerful earthquake simulator, or “shaking table”
in Europe and the WRN meeting coincided with the EUCENTRE performing a
shaking table test of a multi-storey building as part of its ongoing experimental
research programme aimed at verifying the efficiency and reliability of the Italian
rules for seismic assessment.
Professor Pinho said, “The EUCENTRE and ROSE School is delighted to join the
Willis Research Network, and to have the chance of not only working closely with the
top academics and researchers in the field of earthquake risk estimation, but also of
gaining direct insight into the needs of the industry. The latter will help us to
focus our research endeavours in those areas where there is a greater need for
innovative solutions and results, something that is already instilling higher motivation
and drive in our researchers."
Rowan Douglas, Chairman of the WRN, added “Pavia is becoming a powerhouse of
seismic research at a global scale. What Professor Michele Calvi, Director of the
EUCENTRE, Dr Pinho and the rest of the team are building here is quite
extraordinary. We are delighted that their energy and influence is now a part of the
WRN and that it can be applied to challenges seismic risk assessment for the
international insurance industry.”
Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering
professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource
consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the
world. Willis has more than 300 offices in some 100 countries, with a global team of
approximately 16,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional
information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.