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GEM’s next journey: Turning GEM models into products useful for the insurance industry


Jul 31, 2019

John Schneider (L), Malcolm Haylock, Luis Sousa, Michael Ewald and Dickie Whitaker during a panel discussion at Oasis-Swiss Re Conference, June 2019

The 4th Oasis Conference in conjunction with Swiss Re Institute

John Schneider, GEM Secretary General represented GEM at the 4th Oasis Conference held on June 12, 2019 at Swiss Re Next Auditorium, Zurich, Switzerland. The event, organized by Oasis and Swiss Re Institute brought together some of the world’s best natural catastrophe (natcat) risk experts and modelers.


The objective of the 1-day event was to learn more about the suite of available models, options to deploy Oasis, and how Oasis technology is developing. It also provided model providers an opportunity to demonstrate tools and models to participants. Discussions also focused on key issues in models, the need for transparency and the future of catastrophe risk modeling.


Three GEM collaborators presented how they have applied GEM models, tools and data to their respective risk modelling activities. Michael Ewald, Swiss Re (a project partner and now a Sponsor) demonstrated how GEM’s OpenQuake is being integrated into their earthquake modeling approach, in particular the OQ Hazard Module (stochastic earthquake catalogue and ground motion prediction equations, or GMPEs). Luis Sousa, AIR Worldwide (a founding Governor Sponsor) showed the history of GEM-AIR collaboration, showing examples of how GEM data  and model components have been used to inform the development of their own risk models in several areas around the world. Malcolm Haylock, Sunstone Risk Solutions, described his implementation of GEM’s OpenQuake model for Puerto Rico, a prototype that runs on the Oasis modeling platform Flamingo.


John presented GEM data, models and other products that are currently available i.e. global earthquake ground shaking loss to buildings and population that the insurance sector can immediately use. John also mentioned that financial loss models in OASIS, Touchtone and Elements would become available over the coming months. In addition to the financial loss models, he mentioned that over the next three years, the capability of OpenQuake would be extended to cover multi-perils, while tools and models would include time dependence, secondary perils and critical infrastructure - components that are vital in the insurance industry.


Daniel Martin Eckhart, Swiss Re Institute Advocate, in his summary of the event, mentioned on his blog John’s analogy of turning GEM models into products consumable by the industry:


In a way it was John Schneider who found the perfect image for this moment in time – the image of a potato! He shared the journey of GEM (Global Earthquake Model) with a simple visual that showed how it went from farming the land to harvesting to now producing the potato (aka models). Said John: "I view the potato as something that's useful. We produce the best organic potato and it's useful to many people." But, he pointed out, the potato is bland and its real value appears when it is turned into other things. "What we have now is great, but it is not what the insurance industry is used to consuming. The next part of the GEM journey is turning the potato into French fries." The fries then stand for models that are useful (consumable) for the whole industry.


Dickie Whitaker, OASIS Chief Operating Officer and Beat Aeberhardt closed the conference. Dickie highlighted the significant progress made, the increasing maturity of the Oasis code base and the sophistication of the work done over a short period of time.


For more details on the 4thOasis Conference, read Daniel Eckhart’s blog here.

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