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On the 10th of April 2018, a good crowd of Zurich region ISCM members met at the bar "Le Philosophe", cozily located on a small courtyard in Zurich's historic old town. So any particular topic we were philosophizing about…?
The answer: Yes and No. First and foremost the event offered a casual way for ISCM members to meet, chat and network. It was great to see a couple of new faces among the crowd of many well-known colleagues. The small bar was packed and judging from the noise level, there were myriads of things to discuss. Apart from people catching up on personal matters, one could overhear a number of (cat) industry specific topics: mergers & acquisitions, general cost pressure, the 2017 cat events, ILS and cat bond capital, machine learning for risk assessment, … who knows, it may well be that one or the other of these topics will land on the agenda of the upcoming ISCM Zurich half-day conference in September 2018.
The casual get-together for drinks would not have been possible without the voluntary commitment of the organizing team (Annemarie Buettner, Michael Gloor, Lysiane Mayoraz, Simona Esposito, Peter Zimmerli) as well as the ISCM Board support – many thanks! We will continue to try to foster exchange and support the development of the cat risk management community in Zurich and beyond.
Peter Zimmerli, Swiss Re
Letter to the House of Representatives On behalf of the Casualty Practice Council of the American Academy of Actuaries - nFIP Issues
I think this is a good, well-written letter focused on objectively looking at the NFIP issues that really need to be addressed at a legislative level, particularly the impact on property owners, the role of government and industry, and the local economy in many parts of the US.
Bob Miccolis, FCAS, MAAA, FCA
Chair, Leadership Advisory Council
The CAS Institute (iCAS)
Personal contact info:
Mobile/Cell: +1 610.745.5126
Successful September ISCM conference in Zurich/Switzerland - "Are we over-engineering nat cat models?"
Do you sometimes struggle with the vast number of options in today's natural catastrophe models? Do you feel that that they are getting ever more complex? If so, you're not alone, as our second ISCM conference in Zurich "Are we over-engineering nat cat models?" showed.
This year, the event was hosted by Partner Re at their premises on Zurich's lake shore. A crowd of close to 100 re/insurance professionals from the greater Zurich area attended in anticipation of controversial discussions between all relevant stakeholders: insurers, reinsurers (including non-traditional capital markets players), brokers, modelling companies and associated organisations all shared their views on this hot topic.
Erik Ruettener and Manuel Prechtl from conference host Partner Re launched the afternoon event with their welcome address and opening remarks. Then the heat turned up perceptibly, as Beach Associate's Rick Thomas– not known for holding back with clear statements – took the stage to present his view on why cat models (or at least parts of them) were indeed over-engineered. He was followed by an equally adept presentation from RMS's Robert Muir-Wood, outlining thoughts on where cat models do have leeway for further improvements.
These opening statements successfully laid the grounds for the subsequent panel discussion. The ISCM Zurich event organising committee had secured a diverse set of senior leaders with a total cat risk experience of well over a 100 years: Milan Simic from AIR, Joerg Steffensen from Hannover Re, Matthew Eagle from Guy Carpenter, Sibylle Steimen from Allianz and Eduard Held from PERILS. Paul Della-Marta brilliantly mastered the tough job of keeping the discussion on track, as well as ensuring lively participation from the audience. And what was the overall sentiment on the question of over-engineered nat cat models at the end of this afternoon? Well, it was a tie… the spontaneous poll taken after the panel finished showed an almost equal split into a pro and a con camp. Closing remarks by Kirsten Mitchell-Wallace of Scor and Peter Zimmerli of Swiss Re rounded off an interesting exchange amongst nat cat professionals.
As well as enjoying the content of the conference, participants appreciated the opportunity to network. The coffee break in the middle of the afternoon was eagerly utilised by all to refresh old connections and build new ones. And even after the event closed and evening started to set in, a large bunch of cat experts continued to mingle on the premises of Partner Re. And a dare-devil remainder of the group went on to test food & wine quality in a near-by restaurant, but this will have to remain a story for another day!
The organisation of such an event, as always, would not be possible without the help of a number of people contributing with great dedication. The core organising committee consisting of Peter Zimmerli, Manuel Prechtl and Kirsten Mitchell-Wallace, is grateful for the dedication shown by Lysiane Mayoraz and Stefan Rimkus from Scor, Paul Della-Marta, Anne-Sophie Scheidegger and Irene Staedeli from Partner Re, Dominik Renggli from Swiss Re and Maria Frontoso from RMS. A great thank you also goes to all speakers that accepted our invitation and especially those who had to travel some distance to Zurich.
Last but not least: After Scor in 2016 and Partner Re in 2017, calendars can already be marked for 2018 – Swiss Re committed to host next year's ISCM Zurich event in its newly inaugurated building across the lake on the 20th of September 2018. Stay tuned for more on this!
The Zurich ISCM events have always relied on the infrastructure provided by a hosting company – this year it was Partner Re. Key faces behind the flawless organisation within Partner Re were (from left to right) Paul Della-Marta, Erik Ruettener and Manuel Prechtl.
People are wondering where the actual versus modeled lossfor Maria may eventually wind up. The answer to that question depends on the often ignored and missing fifth box of modeling – what I refer to as Modeling Chaos. Cat models are a mix of science, engineering, experience and judgement. Modeling building coverages have a strong foundations in science, engineering and experience. As we move further away from the traditional building coverages the models gradually move along with it introducing more professional judgement and with it more loss uncertainty in the analysis.
Models do an excellent job of evaluating wind, earthquake, or flood risk when considered as a standalone structure insulated from other surrounding influences. However catastrophe events do not exclude other influences. Natural phenomena typically impact large areas introducing many new hazard elements and competing recovery needs which are invisible to most of today's models. The interaction between the modeled risk(s) and it's surrounding influences can be quite extreme, variable, and chaotic. As such it is difficult to calculate and model. Some may be included by a general loss amplification adjustment but the majority of the surrounding influences are too variable by event or location and not considered. These should be within a missing and not fully comprehended fifth box of models that accounts for the chaos surrounding an event. A fifth important box that needs to be included with the hazard, vulnerability, encoding and financial modeling boxes of today.
Models are learning models and with each new event we begin to act on things that we suspected were deficient in our prior thinking. Three major chaotic components that are not fully considered when modeling extreme events and need to be are how the human, infrastructure, interplay between mutiple hazards, and the competing elements influence the eventual insured and economic losses.
Human elements included preparedness, reaction, decision priorities, socio-economic resiliency, psychological, and other responses that can decrease or increase recovery costs. This would also include the potential for any post event political (regulatory and statutory) decisions.
The quality and availability of a sound supporting infrastructure. This would include how extensive the supporting infrastructure can be, how well built it is, are there multiple means for moving resources in and out of the impacted area, how quickly can the infrastructure be repaired and most importantly how geographically accessible is the affected community by other means? Islands such as Puerto Rico are more isolated than other areas of the US and this makes it more difficult to undertake widespread infrastructure recovery. The lack of working infrastructure impedes our ability to rebuild the infrastructure the areas it serves. Examples of other the major areas that may be difficult to rebuild quickly due to geographical challenges include Long Island and NYC, Miami (peninsula), and San Francisco. Longer recovery times mean larger losses.
Competing Elements. This includes during and after the event. During an event the debris and building components of one structure could become damaging projectiles to other surrounding structures that otherwise would not have been damaged. Too many times an up to code building was damaged by the debris from a neighboring building. If a model does not have information about these surrounding structures then how can a model account for the additional exposure?.. it can't After an event affected entities compete against each other for resources, material and labor, pushing up rebuilding costs and times. The greater and more congested, hard to get to, and conflicting the number of competeing entities seeking resources are then the more expensive and time consuming it will be to rebuild.
As an industry our first concern is to help those impacted by hurricane Maria. We hope that people can get back to their normal lives as soon as possible. As someone who has looked at natural catastrophes for decades I also see Maria as another lesson to all of us just how important the influence that this fifth box has on the actual versus modeled losses. It could be significant or less than anticipated by some. Nevertheless the fifth box, Modeling Chaos, needs to be accounted for when considering capacity,modeling, and underwriting results. To ignore this box challenges our understanding of the true economic and insured risk that we face. I am eager to see how the human, infrastructure, and competing elements of the fifth box differed in the industry's modeling of Maria.
TITLE: Reinsurance Modeling and Exposure Assistant
DEPARTMENT: Actuarial (Columbus, OH office location)
POSITION OBJECTIVE: Assist in Catastrophe Modeling and Risk Management activities of the AAIC Columbus assumed business portfolio
REPORTS TO: Reinsurance Modeling and Exposure Analyst
DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES:
On September 15, 2016, the ISCM held its inaugural Education Seminar at the Fitch learning Center in downtown New York City. The following are scenes from the event that drew over 50 participants from the insurance and reinsurance industry.
Session presentations can be found in the Members Only Download Page.
Special thanks to:
The Seminar Presenters: Katie Carter, Dan Dick, Nick DiMuzio, Roger Grenier, David Keeton, James Waller, Amy Wixon
The Education Committee: Dan Dick, Nick DiMuzio, David Keeton, David McCommas, Minchong Mao, Imelda Powers, Amy Wixon
The first ISCM Zurich event that has taken place for several years was in mid-September, and the subject provoked some interesting discussion: “The Protection Gap: a marketing slogan or a development need?”. In the Q&A style of our panel discussion, here’s an overview of the event:
What was the conclusion? Is the Protection Gap a marketing slogan or a development need?
The overall conclusion from our presenters, Margareta Wahlström (former head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) and Daniel Hofmann (Geneva Association) is that there is a definite development need. Through his presentation (posted in the members’ area on this site), Daniel demonstrated how insurance works to stabilize the economy after disaster strikes.
Our panel, which consisted of leaders from across the insurance industry, agreed with our presenters. Michael Roth, from Munich Re, commented that he would argue that the ‘Protection Gap’ is both a marketing slogan and a development need, and we should not shy away from this. One or two members of the audience challenged the consensus and suggested it is a marketing slogan, particularly due to the lack of trust of the insurance industry by consumers.
The event was about encouraging practical actions. What guidance was given to catastrophe managers from the speakers?
1. Take an interest in influencing policy and innovation. Cat management knowledge is needed to develop robust frameworks
Margareta Wahlström commented that, from an outsider’s perspective, the insurance industry is conservative, traditional and change happens only when triggered by external events. What innovative ideas are already out there and could be developed further?
Daniel Hofmann outlined different methods:
What did the panelists see as the ‘next big thing’?
1. Resilience bonds
2. Convergence of the public and private sector
There are many initiatives that the private sector can provide to public sector challenges, including resilience bonds as discussed above
3. Risk models covering the globe
What initiatives should we look out for?
There are two initiatives which were mentioned:
Is an ISCM event going to happen again in Zurich?
We hope this will become a regular (annual?) event for the Zurich community to get together and discuss a topic which benefits from a wider perspective. From initial feedback, attendees are keen to have a topic which leads on from the ‘Protection Gap’. We would like to rotate the organisers to share the ownership of the event - more organisers always welcome!
*** For Daniel Hoffman's Presentation - Please See the Members Only Download Page ***
On December 1, 2015, International Society of Catastrophe Managers (ISCM) hosted its first webinar in collaboration with the Aquarium of the Pacific, the City of Long Beach, and California technology company ImageCat, on the topic of climate change and its impacts on coastal cities. The hour- long webinar was titled “Building Resilient Communities – Model for the City of Long Beach, California.” The webinar brought together members of the scientific community on climate change research, addressed the challenges of the coastal City of Long Beach, and presented some industry information on climate change data and its potential use for decision making, both in the public and private sectors including insurance and reinsurance.
Presenters included Dr. Jerry Schubel (President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific), David Ashman (City of Long Beach), and Shubharoop Ghosh (Vice President of Data Services, ImageCat). As the first presenter, David Ashman gave an overview of the City’s emergency response goals and management cycle, as well as preparedness planning. He highlighted the City’s planning for coastal hazards, including the focus on mitigation, collaboration and resilient organizations. Dr. Jerry Schubel covered a broad global perspective on coastal cities at risk and shared his findings and observations about the major threats to Long Beach. Dr. Schubel presented scenarios of predicted inundation impacts for coastal areas of Long Beach. He concluded by offering some guidelines for becoming resilient and being prepared to manage the impacts of climate change. Shubharoop Ghosh presented the final segment of the webinar, discussing several datasets and technologies that help to monitor and assess the risk from climate change. Data on elevation and coastline are key in understanding the climate change hazard, particularly sea level rise. Technologies such as remote sensing help quantify exposure and enable governments to rapidly respond to catastrophic events such as floods.
There were several questions posed to the speakers in the question and answer session, ranging from the involvement of private insurance in risk transfer of city’s buildings to the relative risk of climate change and earthquake for Long Beach. In conclusion, Nick DiMuzio, ISCM Secretary, extended his thanks to the attendees, the speakers, and the Aquarium of the Pacific for hosting the session.
ISCM Members are able to download the presentation here.
Shubharoop Ghosh and Jerry Schubel
Stay tuned for the event story ...
Team Winners: Iain Davie - QBE Re, Stephen Martin - Brit Insurance, Rob Stevenson - Apollo Underwriting
Participants: Patrick Daniell (Aon Benfield), Federico Waisman (Ariel Re), Alastair Norris (RMS), Rob Stevenson (Apollo Underwriting), Iain Davie (QBE Re), Stephen Martin (Brit), Mark Christenson (ACE), Simon Webber (QBE Re), Giovanni Garcia (AIR), David Hollister (Markel), Nick Farley (Beaufort Group), Harry White (AIR), Luke Howard (Endurance), Keith Leung (JLT Re), James Digby (Advent Group), Chris Marsham (Navigators), Will Mayes (RMS), Phillip Murfett (Brit)
Longest drive Winner - Alastair Norris, RMS and the closest to the pin winner - Keith Leung, JLT Re
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