Research Network Newsletter
No. 6 – Spring 2018
to the first Willis Research Newsletter (WRN) of 2018, our
quarterly update aimed at
providing insight and updates from our latest research and
The WRN is proud to be able to host
discussions and talks that help connect leading academic research
with industry experts. In this context, Our upcoming Spring
Seminar series, hosted over a number of weeks in April and May,
will be a great way to continue these links. As we look at key
areas of risk, natural catastrophe and climate extremes remain
key areas of research with events continuing to cause mass
destruction and loss. Spring seminars from partners at CEDIM on
European hail modelling; from UCL EPICentre looking at sequential hazard
vulnerability and with the
University of Exeter on correlations between extreme flood and severe
wind all promise to
offer new thoughts on topics that remain fundamental to our work. Alongside that, we also
acknowledge the pace of change in our industry today is truly
astonishing. Risks in areas such as technology and geopolitics
are some of the fastest growing influencers on connected global and
local economies. Our fourth seminar, from the University of Cambridge
Centre for Risk Studies, focusses on the management of corporate
risk in this
increasingly volatile world.
The WRN will also be attending the European
Geophysical Union (EGU)
April to talk about “bridging the gap
between science and practice”. The EGU brings together geoscientists
from across the globe to cover all
areas of natural hazard impacting
our industry and provides a forum where scientists can
interact with industry to discuss and develop understanding of risk.
As always, please
do feel free to send back any feedback or queries.
to Support Blue Economy
Urgency in understanding and sustaining the marine environment and
the services it provides
to coastal and island communities is
peaking due to pressures from over-fishing, plastics and other
pollution, as well as the ongoing risks due to climate change. A
recent announcement by Willis Towers Watson representatives at the World Ocean Summit, included the initiation of the Global Ecosystem Resilience
Facility which aims to provide new tools and frameworks for
developing sustainable and resilient development of the blue economy.
Covered in the industry press here and here, the team behind the
initiative are hoping to transfer risk management expertise to
communities and business that rely on marine ecosystems and provide
improved disaster recovery and preparedness through innovative
WRN is also supporting a project related to the blue economy through
PhD students at the University of
Exeter. The research looks at the links between storminess and the
behaviour of fishing fleets. Initially focussed on UK fisheries,
where this work can benefit from relatively rich data sets, it is
hoped that the findings from this project can be used in other parts
of the world to provide financial resilience to vulnerable fishing
fleets when storms strike.
Across the globe, extreme natural hazard events can have a devastating impact on societies and
economies. A growing body of literature in disaster risk
management has begun to recognise
the important connections between otherwise unrelated disaster
events. Work underway at the UCL EPICentre, a dynamic
multidisciplinary research centre that investigates risk to society,
the built and natural environment from natural hazards, is leading
our understanding of scenarios involving sequential hazards.
a performance-based assessment of the built environment to sequential
hazards, such as earthquake followed by
are leveraging unique testing facilities to simulate the impact of
tsunami on buildings and coastal defences. Likewise, the
performance-based assessment of earthquake-induced structural
fracture in high-rise steel buildings, is being considered in the
context damage accumulation due to wind-induced fatigue crack growth
in structural connections. Our Spring Seminar series will explore this
Extreme Hail Risk Modelling
research from WRN Fellows Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Punge and Dr. Michael Kunz at Karlsruhe Institute of
Technology (KIT) focusses on our hail modelling capabilities. After
successfully contributing to the
development of the European hail model, with continuing interactions on
new versions and updates, the fellows at KIT have been working with
our Willis Re catastrophe analytics team in Australia to provide
relative severe thunderstorm risk maps for the Willis Re Severe
Thunderstorm (STS) hazard model.
incorporates all perils associated with thunderstorms for every
address across Australia. By incorporating multiple datasets that can
represent thunderstorm related risks in different ways, including a
novel methodology involving satellite image processing (via a
collaboration between KIT and NASA) and analysis of Australian radar
data, the team in Australia have developed relative risk maps for the
whole of Australia at 5km spatial resolution that can be used to
advice clients of risks in different regions of the country.
the world becomes increasingly interconnected there is an
ever-growing need for companies to demonstrate effective management
of their corporate risk. To do this, an holistic view is needed
that combines traditional company-specific risk registers with a far
more comprehensive view of the external threat landscape.
Quantitative tools are needed to help support trade-off decision
making as companies look to put in a place a wide range of strategies
to improve their resilience to severe shocks.
Work at the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk
frameworks for recognising, assessing and managing the impacts of
systemic threats on the Global Economy. The research underway models 22 threat types, with
thousands of shock scenarios and a focus on translating event
scenarios to business impacts. The challenges to corporations
of changing global strategies and evolving risk management plans help
identify the most effective ways of improving risk resilience.
As part of their wider program of
work, the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies will bring together
leaders and decision makers for their 9th Risk Summit:
Risks Beyond Boundaries,
exploring risks that go to the heart of the diverse global networks
and systems we have today. Cambridge will also feature in our Spring Seminar series on
more information on any of the research mentioned above or other WRN
projects, please get in touch with our team.
Rosa Sobradelo – WRN Senior
Research Manager: For seismic and
Geoffrey Saville – WRN
Senior Research Manager:
For weather and climate related risks.
Stuart Calam – WRN
Programme Manager: For general
enquiries and getting involved.
Or you can contact the whole team
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