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AIR Worldwide releases updated U.S Wildfire Model

15th August 2018 - Author: Matt Sheehan

AIR Worldwide, the catastrophe risk modelling arm of Verisk Analytics, has released an updated Wildfire Model that provides a comprehensive view of the risk of wildfire to properties within the 13 westernmost conterminous U.S states.

wildfireThe updated model uses an event-based approach to account for the variability in weather in the current climate regime and its impact on fire behaviour, enabling it to simulate correlated countrywide wildfire activity.

It can determine how and where a fire may progress across a landscape based on probabilistic simulations of factors such as wind speed and direction, availability of fuels, terrain, and the likelihood of suppression, as well as fire brand and spotting, and flame length.

“AIR is committed to offering the most advanced tools for assessing potential insured losses from wildfire throughout the insurance and risk transfer value chain,” said Jayanta Guin, Executive Vice President at AIR Worldwide.

“With the updates introduced in this model, AIR is building on our experience in modeling wildfires by introducing a fresh approach to estimating the hazard on both local and national levels and accounting for the full range of vulnerabilities in residential, commercial, and industrial lines of business.”

AIR said the model will now feature a catalogue of fire clusters and a historical event set that features 17 events, including the 2017 Tubbs/Atlas and Thomas fires in California.

The firm also uses historical fire data to characterise fire behaviour in various ecological regions of North America, and uses spread models based on recent scientific approaches to create stochastic fires for each of these regions.

“With residential and commercial development continuing to increase in areas prone to wildfire risk, the model explicitly accounts for this increased penetration into the WUI [wildland-urban interface],” said Tammy Viggato, Senior Scientist at AIR Worldwide.

“Approximately one-third of the U.S. population currently lives in the WUI in the United States, where most wildfire-related losses occur, and this figure continues to grow rapidly,” she added. “To address the increasing risk, the model realistically captures fire behavior as it moves from rural areas to the suburbs and, under extreme conditions, into more urban areas.”

The U.S Wildfire Model is currently available in the Touchstone, Touchstone Re, and CATRADER catastrophe risk management systems.

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