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AIR Worldwide Releases Major Update to European Wind Risk Model

The addition of additional wind speed observations, claims data from recent storms and engineering studies that reflect the impact of building codes and practices on building vulnerability combine to result in a "step enhancement" in modeling European wind risk, according to the vendor.

AIR Worldwide has released a major update to its Extratropical Cyclone Model for Europe. The vendor reports that virtually every component of the model has been enhanced through the incorporation of significant quantities of wind speed observations and claims data from recent storms, coupled with state-of-the-art modeling techniques. The update also incorporates the results of engineering studies that capture the effects of the regional building codes and construction practices on building vulnerability, according to AIR, which claims in a news release that these enhancements represent a step advance in modeling European wind risk.

"AIR pioneered the application of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) technology to realistically capture the complex structure of these storms that lead to more accurate surface winds, and now has more than 10 years of experience using NWP to model this peril," comments Dr. Jayanta Guin, senior vice president of research and modeling, AIR Worldwide. "AIR's fourth generation pan-European ETC model incorporates more physically realistic simulations of individual storms and explicitly models storm clustering to provide more credible occurrence and aggregate loss estimates."

AIR updated its catalog of simulated storms to better reflect the clustering of storms as they occur within a season, according to the vendor. AIR says its scientists employed an innovative "block bootstrapping" technique that employs historical data to generate more realistic simulated storm patterns than traditional approaches employed to model storm occurrence. As a result, the AIR model better captures the cumulative effects of multiple storms occurring in succession or concurrently over the same region, while more accurately modeling the impact of smaller individual storms, AIR claims.

AIR asserts that another significant enhancement to the model's hazard module is the use of an advanced technique to translate wind speeds aloft to the surface. This process uses the latest land use land cover (LULC) data and high resolution terrain maps combined with actual statistics from hundreds of local wind stations to yield realistic, high resolution modeled winds at the surface, where they may result in damage to insured properties, the vendor explains. These updates provide the model with a much higher degree of fidelity than can be attained using conventional approaches, particularly in coastal and mountain regions prevalent in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, according to AIR.

Based on extensive research, engineering studies, and post-disaster survey and claims data analysis, AIR engineers have developed damage functions for 30 different construction classes and nearly 50 occupancy classes, the vendor says. The damage functions account for building characteristics such as height and reflect regional differences in building codes and construction practices.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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