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22 Sep 17 07:59

On Thursday September 14, I had the pleasure to be part of a one day seminar on the OASIS loss modelling framework hosted by the Swiss Re Institute in Zurich. This came hot on the heels of OASIS’ own first 2-day conference held in London the week before, which covered a variety of topical discussions in catastrophe risk modelling.

If you are not familiar with it, Oasis LMF is an industry driven catastrophe risk modelling platform and community, with an open -source loss simulation engine at its core. Catastrophe model providers connect hazard and vulnerability components to this kernel, and users can get results from a variety of cat models from many different developers. Multiple companies are now successfully implementing Oasis for a variety of different uses and reasons.

However, it’s not just about the platform. A community of cat model users and developers is springing up around Oasis, with a keen focus on transparency. Many of the topics around catastrophe models discussed at the conferences were not new – the core topics continue to be model validation, calibration, uncertainty and transparency. These topics have been talked about for years - and progress has been made – however the very fact that these were voted as the most important to cover by Oasis members shows that more is needed.

Through the combination of population and wealth growth, as well as the influence of climate change, the landscape of catastrophe risk is changing. More awareness than ever before is needed into the core assumptions in models, sensitivity of results to those key assumptions and the impact of alternative assumptions or parameterisations on loss results.

One of the presenters, Dr. Will Gardner - founder of Australian cat risk modelling company Combus, used the analogy of “Trim pots” – trimmer potentiometers in old analogue TV sets - for the array of dials that can be tuned to calibrate the end results. Often one of two of these model trim-pots will have a big impact on final loss results. However, they are still not always transparent to end users.

Additionally, we need new inputs from the academic community so we can better understand the impact climate change is having already on event frequency and intensity, as highlighted in this recent editorial in Nature. There is an increasing role for climate modelling to play in cat model validation and development as discussed in a dedicated workshop at the London conference, which can be shaped by expert cat model users within the community along with model developers.

I think (hope?) few would disagree with my sentiments. However, more needs to be done in a practical way. I hope to see catastrophe model users and developers increasingly come together to form working groups and forums in the same way as we see in other professions such as the actuarial community. Oasis provides a forum and a platform, but it needs cat model users to lead and for researchers and modellers to provide new answers. If you are interested in these topics, please join in here.


Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Drought, Earthquakes, Floods/storms


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