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    Willis Re Releases Groundbreaking Flood Models for Latin America

    London, UK, October 06, 2010 -Willis Re, the reinsurance arm of global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), has extended its lead in Latin American flood risk with the release of detailed risk estimates and large event scenarios for key cities including São Paulo, Santiago and Bogotá. The models, developed by the Willis Research Network (WRN), will help clients to optimize their related portfolios and manage their downsides for flood risk. Going forward, the tools might also be used to consider the potential impact of climate change.

    Incorporating multiple sources of flood risk and based on advanced modelling techniques and analysis undertaken by WRN member Ambiental, the flood models provide South American insurance and reinsurance firms, as well as local governmental organizations, with new information that helps to identify and manage their exposure to flash floods caused by heavy rains and riverine overflow. Related results will be available for individual companies as well as the market as a whole and will have implications on planning, reinsurance and risk mitigation.

    Dr. Justin Butler, Managing Director, Ambiental said: “The CAT modelling companies haven’t yet focused on Latin America and the lack of tools has made it extremely difficult for insurers to evaluate flood risk. We’ve now gone some way to solving the problem with simple prototype flood models which can be expanded as more data is collected.”

    The news was presented to the market at the Geneva Association's 2nd Climate Change and Insurance meeting held in São Paulo on September 27 by Dr. Juan England, Deputy Managing Director, Willis Re and leader of the reinsurance broker’s catastrophe risk modelling in Latin America.

    Gero Michel, Managing Director, WRN, said: “Flood risk forms a core part of the Willis Research Network’s natural catastrophe research. Combining our high flood modelling expertise with an in-depth understanding of the local market in South America will make this project a success. We foresee that related models will not only help clients to manage their exposure to these risks, but will also aid in maximizing their performance through more informed underwriting and by managing smart reinsurance coverage.”

    Margo Black, CEO Willis Re, Brazil commented, “Urban flood risk is an acute concern for Latin American re/insurers who have been challenged by growing losses and the lack of models to guide risk management. This work, driven by the WRN, will help our clients to manage their risk and downside accurately and we look forward to making it available to the market.”

    About the Willis Research Network:

    The Willis Research Network (WRN), funded and supported by Willis Re, the reinsurance arm of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, is the world’s largest collaboration between academia and the insurance industry. The research supported by the WRN is focused on evaluating the frequency, severity and impact of major catastrophes — from flooding to hurricanes and earthquakes — with the aim of helping society at local and global levels manage these risks and share the costs of these events via public and private sector approaches. To achieve this mission, the WRN has teamed up with more than 40 leading universities and scientific institutions across a full range of disciplines, from atmospheric science and climate statistics, to geography, hydrology and seismology, to assess the impacts on the environment via engineering, exposure analysis and Geographic Information Systems. More information can be found at www.willisresearchnetwork.com.

    About Willis:

    Willis Group Holdings plc 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 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

    About Ambiental:

    Ambiental (www.ambiental.co.uk) is a leading UK-based flood risk assessment consultancy and data provider. It operates internationally, helping insurers, property developers and risk managers to better understand and communicate flood risk and other natural perils in response to growing legislative, commercial, and environmental drivers. Products include ultra high detail flood risk data, flood maps, risk maps, perils data and reports. Ambiental® and FlowrouteTM are registered trademarks of Ambiental Technical Solutions Limited.


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