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Recent Events



Willis Research Network: an afternoon with Greg Holland


The Willis Research Network (WRN) held an afternoon of presentation and networking with Dr. Greg Holland, Director Emeritus of the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Holland has worked with Willis Towers Watson for many years via the Willis Research Network, focusing on tropical cyclone impact research, collaborating with our Willis Re Catastrophe Analytics teams closely, to develop new methods and data to help us maintain an up to date View of Risk for our clients.


In this session, Dr. Holland brought his wealth of experience and knowledge of weather and climate risk for an hour session covering recent research into tropical cyclones and climate change impacts, followed by a chance for questions and discussion.


Date and Time: May 29, 2019


Location: Willis Towers Watson Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.




2019 hurricane season


The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is one of the main factors affecting hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Currently, the ENSO is in a weak El Niño phase and many ENSO prediction models indicate a 50% to 70% chance of the El Niño lasting from June through October 2019.


With this year’s hurricane season fast approaching - along with rapidly changing climate conditions - predicting seasonal hurricanes becomes a timely and highly relevant topic for companies with insured risks in hurricane prone areas.


To address this change, Willis Re’s Catastrophe Analytics team hosted a one hour webinar on Wednesday,featuring James Done of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Our guest speaker reviewed the atmospheric conditions that influenced the 2018 hurricane season, the 2019 hurricane forecast and the conditions that can have an influence on 2019 North Atlantic hurricane activity.


In addition, New capabilities the Willis Re catastrophe analytics team has been working on related to utilizing the hurricane forecast to produce loss estimates was discussed.


Watch the webinar here


Date: June 05, 2019


Location: Webinar




Willis Research Network Earthquake Seminar


The Willis Research Network held an afternoon seminar featuring a number of research projects with our academic partners, where we demonstrated how this research has applicability to business decisions.
- Use of 3D simulation to reduce the uncertainty in loss estimates
- A Reinsurance, Capital and Regulatory challenge in the US and Canada: a $30bn to $300bn Pacific North-West / British Columbia range of industry probable maximum loss estimates – which to trust?
- The odd couple – aftershocks and clustering. How can we adjust or build models to account for these coupled events?


We presented potential benefits, and implications to reinsurance and capital requirements using recent events in Alaska, New Zealand and Mexico as examples. - Reducing gaps in model coverage and informing model validation. Willis Re’s use of Global Earthquake Model data. To address these and many other questions we had a list of world-renowned experts on earthquake risk joining us from the risk management industry and academia. Dr Ross Stein (Temblor), Dr. Marco Pagani (GEM), Dr. Myrto Papaspiliou (Willis Re), Dr. Crescenzo Petrone (Willis Re), Tim Edwards (Willis Re) and Grant Baxter (Willis Re) are amongst the speakers expected on the day. For further information please don’t hesitate to contact Setareh Mayel Afshar.


Date: May 09, 2019


Location: The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.




The Willis Research Network Autumn Seminar


The Willis Research Network (WRN) held an insightful afternoon featuring a number of research projects and academic partners. A range of themes were included such as the influence of climate variability and change on extreme weather, as well as an overview of new parametric insurance solutions relating to volcanic eruptions. The talks featured prominent academic experts who presented the findings from the latest research in their fields, along with the outputs of some of the WRN’s recent scientific collaborations. Each academic talk were followed by a representative from Willis Towers Watson to show current analytical projects and applications of the research for our clients across the insurance and reinsurance sectors.


Date: November 06, 2018


Location: The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.



Seminar themes


Climate modelling and NAO predictability

Presented by Prof. Adam Scaife (Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter)


Volcanic risk and the (re)insurance industry

Presented by Dr. Christopher Kilburn (UCL Hazard Centre, University College London)


Tropical cyclones and climate extremes today and in the future

Presented by Dr. Greg Holland (National Center for Atmospheric Research)




The Willis Research Network Spring Seminar Series


Date: April - May 2018.


Location:Academy Rooms, The Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.


The Willis Research Network (WRN) held a ‘Spring Seminar’ series featuring a number of research projects and partners across several weeks in April and May. Topics ranged from severe convective storms to corporate risk profiling. These talks presented the findings from some of the WRN’s latest scientific collaborations, alongside current analytical projects underway in Willis Re teams around the world, with an emphasis on the latest events impacting our industry.


Spring Seminar Sessions


April 18 – Hail Hazard Modelling


Our WRN partners at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have been working with Willis Re catastrophe analytics teams for many years on developing hail hazard event sets. Introduced by Hubert Bast, Head of Analytics and Model Development at Willis Re International, ongoing research focussed on European hail storms remains a key research stream. Dr. Michael Kunz and Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Punge will present their latest work on hail modelling, both in Europe and Australia.


May 02 – Sequential Hazard Vulnerability


Professor Tiziana Rossetto and Dr. Carmine Galasso from UCL EPICentre will present recent advances in physical vulnerability modelling of the built environment. The talk will discuss 1) the impact of earthquake duration on earthquake loss assessment; 2) the performance-based assessment of the built environment to sequential hazards, such as earthquake followed by tsunami; 3) the performance-based assessment of earthquake-induced structural fracture in high-rise steel buildings.


May 09 – Is There a Correlation Between Wind and Flood in UK?


Featuring collaborative work between the University of Exeter and Willis Re, Dr. Ben Youngman will link up with Dr. Ioana Dima-West, Head of Model Research and Evaluation, Willis Re International and Tim Edwards, Head of European Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re, to discuss their recent research into whether there is any correlation observed between extreme floods and severe windstorm events in the UK. They will consider how this correlation varies between empirical hazard and claims datasets and establish how the level of correlation changes where i.) the severity of the event changes and ii.) when the definition of the event is aligned to that of reinsurance contracts.


May 24 – Corporate Risk Profiling: Managing Your Risks


With opening comments from Jon Gascoigne, Senior Risk Advisor, Capital, Science and Policy Practice, Willis Towers Watson, and building on work at the Cambridge Judge Business School, Jessica Tsang, Research Assistant at the Centre for Risk Studies will provide an overview on the management of corporate risk, an area increasingly relevant as firms seek to recognise, assess and ultimately manage risk in today’s volatile world.




The Willis Research Network Autumn Seminar


Date: 1st November 2017.


Location: The Willis Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ..



Willis Towers Watson held an afternoon of insight and discussion with the Willis Research Network (WRN). The event, held in the London Lime Street Auditorium on November 1st, discussed trending topics on severe convective storms, tropical cyclones and inland flooding with a range of prominent and respected speakers in the fields of weather and climate risk. The event presented findings from some of the WRN’s latest scientific collaborations, alongside current analytical projects underway in Willis Re teams around the world, with an emphasis on the latest extreme weather events impacting our industry.


Slides of the seminar are now available :


  • Michael Tippett: ENSO and U.S. severe convective storm activity Presentation and Video.

  • James Done: Footprinting Global Tropical Cyclones Presentation and Video.

  • Jeffrey Czajkowski: Development of a deeper understanding of tropical cyclone flood insurance claims Presentation and Video.





The Willis Research Network: Seismic Risk Seminar


Date: 23rd February 2017


Location: The Willis Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.



Willis Towers Watson held an afternoon of insight and discussion with the Willis Research Network (WRN). The event, held in the London Lime Street Auditorium on February 23rd, discussed trending topics on Seismic Hazard and Risk, and highlighted opportunities for potential research directions that could trigger major advances and improve the way seismic hazard and risk is perceived, assessed and quantified in the Re/Insurance industry.


Slides and videos of the event are now available here


  • Ross Stein: Earthquakes converse by the transfer of stress: The strong evidence for short-distance, long period interactions: video link

  • Emily Brodsky:Earthquakes Triggered by Seismic Waves: video link

  • Tom Parsons: Dynamic earthquake triggering in the Global Aftershock Zone: video link

  • Kim Olsen: Seismic Hazard Analysis in a 3D World: video link


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