September 29th, 2011

European Earthquake Models

Posted at 1:00 AM ET


AIR updated its pan-European earthquake model in July 2011 to cover many new countries beyond core earthquake-prone countries in the region. In the event of an earthquake, the new model saw increased probability of magnitude 7 or larger events in most core countries (Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, Israel and Italy). There was also a general reduction in average annual event rates (although Turkey and Israel saw increases in magnitude 8 and above). The update also introduced a finer soil data resolution and an improvement in analysis resolution from 2-digit to 5-digit postal code for Turkey. Expanded vulnerability mapping for construction and occupancy and additional construction and occupancy mixes were also included in the new model.

RMS RiskLink v11

RMS also made significant changes to its European earthquake model with coverage expanded to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. As part of the release, RMS introduced a major upgrade to the event catalog and hazard model for Greece and Turkey, and increased the resolution of geotechnical hazard data. The update also enhanced regional vulnerability curves to differentiate structural resistance to quake by geography and revised the understanding of local building stock and building code changes. Finally, RMS included a loss amplification analysis option in the release and increased the take-up rate to reflect the current portfolio of the Turkey Catastrophe Insurance Pool.

Guy Carpenter Perspective on European Earthquake Model Changes

Pre-release documentation in the run up to AIR’s update was unusually limited. In fact, users were only advised that the update would include more countries, adopt a technique to obtain an optimal sample of 10,000-year simulation events and use kinematic modeling to provide information on the size and return period of shallow and crustal earthquakes. AIR users were therefore surprised by the loss changes shown in the documentation made public on the day of the software’s release. Given the lack of forewarning by AIR on the loss changes, users are playing catch-up to digest the factors leading to the results. This could slow its adoption for the 2012 renewal.

The scope of RMS’s release was more limited. The upgrade was announced in 2010, and users anticipated the changes to modeled losses in Greece and Turkey.

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