Aon Benfield announced that it has signed an exclusive partnership with the University of Cologne – a leading research centre with a long record of wind storms diagnostics, extreme weather modeling and impact assessment – to advance research into European windstorms. The University of Cologne is the latest institution to join Aon Benfield Research, the academic and industry research collaboration.
Windstorm activity is one of the main catastrophe hazards in Europe and events such as Kyrill in 2007 cause widespread damage and pose a serious threat to re/insurers’ balance sheets. Aon Benfield’s focus on redefining client value has fuelled the company’s drive to gather more scientific data to enable detailed analysis of the impact of extreme windstorms on re/insurers’ European portfolios. A better understanding of potential losses means re/insurers can make more informed decisions on their reinsurance purchase.
The partnership will combine meteorological and climatological expertise from the University of Cologne with a technical insurance application from Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe modeling center of excellence within Aon Benfield’s Analytics team.
The partnership is focusing on the following areas:
– introduction of output data generated by global climate models to extend the analysis period beyond the typical 50 years of meteorological records;
– winter storms, the key hazard for most of western and central Europe, and in addition summer / hail storms where some countries in central and eastern Europe also face exposure;
– how the losses of western, central and eastern regions correlate and impact the available capacity of reinsurance cover.
John Moore, International head of Aon Benfield’s Analytics team, commented: “Windstorms are a major driver of reinsurance purchases so this partnership is all about giving our clients access to the latest research and data in order to generate the most comprehensive loss estimations. The University of Cologne has an excellent reputation in this sector and together we’re redefining the approach to calculating windstorm risks by making it more scientifically robust.”
Dr. Joaquim Pinto, senior researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology from the University of Cologne, said: “Research on windstorm occurrence, their development and impacts have been the main focuses of our team. It is a pleasure to accept Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting invitation to coordinate efforts and combine state-of-the art scientific knowledge with risk modelling expertise.”
Adam Podlaha, head of Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting International team, added: “Insurers are increasingly requiring approaches that span more than one territory to reflect their portfolios. As such we’re investing more in this business critical area and, in particular, to strengthen the physical basis of our catastrophe models that assess European weather-related losses. Our partnership with Cologne University combines the experience of our firm’s expertise in probabilistic loss modelling with the scientific skills of a leading institution in European weather and climatology research. This brings a new dimension to the world of catastrophe modelling and reinforces our unique capabilities as the world’s premier reinsurance intermediary.”