Reinsurance News

AIR Worldwide updates earthquake risk model for New Zealand

21st June 2019 - Author: Matt Sheehan

AIR Worldwide, the catastrophe risk modelling firm owned by Verisk, has announced the release of its updated Earthquake Model for New Zealand, which incorporates the latest scientific research from the 2010-11 Canterbury and 2016 Kaikoura quakes.

The model also factors in research from other earthquakes around the world, and captures the effects of sub-perils such as ground shaking, liquefaction, landslide, tsunami, and fire.

“This model has been developed to meet the wide spectrum of earthquake risk management needs of the insurance industry and accounts for unique risks and policy conditions specific to New Zealand,” said Jayanta Guin, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer at AIR Worldwide.

“This includes the capability to use two seismicity models for the region,” he explained. “One is a time-independent model (TID) with no memory of past rupture history; the other is a time-dependent (TD) model that considers historical or prehistorical ruptures of specific faults.”

The Earthquake Model’s vulnerability module has also been substantially expanded to include more risk types, such as large industrial facilities, infrastructure, marine cargo, and construction.

Additionally, this is the first AIR earthquake model to support land damage, because land is covered under residential policies in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has a variety of faults and earthquake sources, which can produce different types of earthquakes,” said Andrew O’Donnell, Senior engineer and Model Manager at AIR Worldwide.

“These different earthquake types produce ground motion waves with different characteristics, so they often require their own unique ground motion models,” he continued.

“The selected ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) and their associated weights have been peer-reviewed by local seismologists to help ensure that AIR’s ground motion model incorporates the latest scientific research relevant to modeling ground motion attenuation in New Zealand and to confirm that the model agrees with the scientific consensus.”

AIR evaluated more than 635,000 insurance claims from various segments of the market in order to validate the performance of the model, as well as more than 1,000 reports, papers, publications, and data sets from historical seismic events.

The AIR Earthquake Model for New Zealand is currently available in the Touchstone, Touchstone Re, and CATRADER catastrophe risk management systems.

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