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AIR updates U.S. earthquake risk model, including tsunami risk


Risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide has launched an update to its United States earthquake risk model, with updates including to event generation, local intensity calculation, and damage estimation modules, as well as the addition of tsunami risks, and an induced seismicity module to model the effects of human activity on earthquake occurrence.

U.S. earthquake fault zones“As science and technology advance, new research provides an up-to-date view of earthquakes and related sub-perils, and how those hazards interact with our world.

“By incorporating these latest scientific findings into the updated earthquake model for the United States, AIR is offering the most comprehensive and innovative solution for managing seismic risk,” commented Dr. Jayanta Guin, chief research officer at AIR Worldwide.

The more comprehensive earthquake risk model will benefit reinsurance and ILS firms looking to analyse their portfolios of property risk, as well as sponsors of ILS deals such as catastrophe bonds looking to provide third-party analysis on their covered portfolios.

The updated earthquake risk model from AIR also includes comprehensive updates to the sub-perils of fire following, liquefaction, and sprinkler leakage, and the addition of two new sub-perils, tsunami and landslide, to provide a more comprehensive view of earthquake related risks across the U.S.

The model update uses the latest science, including the most up to date National Seismic Hazard Maps from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3), and suites of ground motion prediction equations including the Next Generation Attenuation (NGA-West 2) research.

Other updates include an integrated United States and Canada catalog of simulated events reflecting time-dependency in California and along the Cascadia subduction zone, offering a more holistic view of risk for insurance and reinsurance portfolios that span the two countries.

The new induced seismicity module offers insight into the effects of human activity-especially wastewater injection associated with practices in the oil and natural gas industries-on seismicity rates in regions of the Central and Eastern U.S.

There is also an enhanced vulnerability module, which has been extensively updates and undergone multiple peer reviews.

“AIR’s overall vulnerability assessment framework is a reasonable approach to a very difficult problem-quantification of building damage due to earthquake ground motions for all of the many different types of buildings that exist in the United States,” commented Dr. Charles Kircher, principal at Charles Kircher & Associates. “The framework is a sophisticated combination of several different state-of-the-art technologies that address regional differences and evolution of seismic codes and design practices in the assessment of building vulnerability.”

A new, probabilistic tsunami risk module has been incorporated in this update, covering the West Coast of the U.S and including sources from the West Coast and Cascadia subduction zone to the Aleutian Trench offshore of Alaska. Damage from earthquake-triggered landslides is also modeled countrywide for the first time in this update. The model calculates landslide probability and ground displacement combining data on slope, soil strength, water saturation, and ground shaking intensity.

Dr. Guin added; “The enhanced model provides a more granular and differentiated view of risk for underwriting purposes. Using advanced methodologies and today’s highest quality data available, including lessons learned from recent earthquakes, we have expansively updated the earthquake model for the United States to help insurers account for the full range of earthquake-triggered perils when assessing this complex risk.”

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