News Briefs: May-August 2021


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IDF Summit 2021

GEM joined its partners, the Insurance Development Forum for the inaugural IDF Summit 2021, held on June 7-8. The theme was Building resilience in a riskier world. Global leaders and hundreds of participants from around the world participated in the event. In case you missed it, you can still visit GEM’s dedicated booth @ Knowledge Hub

Governing Board meeting, June 2021

GEM would like to thank all the sponsors and partners for making the first virtual Governing Board meeting of 2021 a great success. The bi-annual meeting was attended by sponsors from public and private sponsors, as well associate and project partners. The meeting featured the usual (and highly appreciated) progress reports on GEM Secretariat activities, advances in the development of GEM products, including commercial risk models, and initial progress on the development of a new GEM Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2030.

European Commission and World Bank Dialogue - Economics for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness

The European Commission and World Bank held a Dialogue on June 7th for the release of reports providing an in-depth look at the economics for disaster, prevention and preparedness in Europe. GEM provided research and analytics support on earthquake risk, exposure and vulnerability. Vitor Silva represented GEM in the dialogue.

COMPDYN: 8th International Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

GEM’s Vitor Silva participated as a panelist in the round table on fragility curves for existing buildings: open challenges in their definition and use for seismic risk analyses. Vitor presented the Global Risk Assessment: mistakes from the past and promises for the future.

GEM at GAGE SAGE 2021 Community Science Workshop

GEM joined the virtual GAGE SAGE 2021 Community Science Workshop on August 16th. GEM’s Catalina Yepes shared GEM’s experiences on the challenges and strategies in training and local collaborations in the International Panel for the Americas.

GAGE, the Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geosciences, is a facility funded by the US National Science Foundation and NASA and operated by UNAVCO. SAGE is operated by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).

South Africa Model release

GEM has completed the development of its earthquake risk model for South Africa into the Oasis Loss Modelling Framework and the AIR Touchstone formats. The model will be available soon for licensing from the Nasdaq Risk Modelling for Catastrophes Service (contact Nasdaq) and the AIR Touchstone platforms (contact AIR). The risk model may be used to assess potential financial losses to commercial, industrial and residential buildings due to earthquake ground shaking.

GEM’s South Africa earthquake risk model was generated using the hazard model for South Africa developed by the South Africa Council for Geoscience as the national hazard model, and for input to South Africa building design regulations. The vulnerability and exposure models and data were developed by GEM and cover the residential, commercial and industrial building stock.

In the commercial models, OpenQuake is used to generate a stochastic set of hazard footprints (i.e., the spatial distribution of ground motion for each scenario event in the stochastic set). The suite of hazard footprints is translated into the Oasis or Touchstone formats, together with the building vulnerability curves to produce ground up losses, which are then fed into the financial module to compute (re)insured losses. Portfolio analyses may be conducted using industry standard occupancy classes.

The original OpenQuake (OQ) version of the South Africa model (hazard, vulnerability and exposure components) is available from GEM under a Creative Commons open license (CC BY-SA). See for licensing and access to the models and data, as well as model documentation. The OQ version provides a much more detailed view of hazard and risk than the commercial models, but provides risk in terms of ground-up losses (i.e., cost of direct physical damage), not insured losses.


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