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FM Global E-Enables Testing

P&C insurer will improve research collection and analysis.

Enabling electronic collection, storage, processing and analysis of data for more accurate research and product development results is part of the impetus behind commercial and industrial property insurer FM Global's (West Gloucester, RI) plan to build a $70 million technology center.

The center is to be completed by the fall of 2003 and will include facilities to conduct loss prevention research. It will be equipped with controlled burn rooms that can replicate warehouse fires and test factors such as the impact of flames spread and fire growth. Also, the center's natural hazards laboratory will duplicate different weather extremes.

The center will be built along side the company's existing FM Global test center, which was built in 1967 and currently monitors testing conditions through "individual output curves on paper," says Franco Tamanini, principal research scientist, FM Global. The methods used in FM Global's current test center "are not as illustrative as those enabled by software."

According to Tamanini, the insurer plans to monitor testing conditions in the new facility with a two-dimensional graphic view for more accurate analysis. Data such as heat fluxes and changes in velocity will be monitored electronically.

Currently, the insurer is in the early stages of the software procurement phase for the new facility. It is seeking flexible solutions able to display "large masses of information graphically," says Tamanini.

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