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Swiss Re-GEM partnership aims to build insurance loss models using GEM’s OpenQuake and global databases


Oct 7, 2019

Global reinsurer Swiss Re has joined GEM as Advisor Sponsor. The sponsorship came on the heels of a successful pilot project with Swiss Re Institute and its Cat Perils unit to improve GEM’s hazard model for Italy using the OpenQuake engine for Swiss Re’s in-house model development. The project -- based on the SHARE European earthquake hazard model -- was successfully completed in September 2019 and set the basis for the Swiss Re sponsorship.

With this renewed collaboration, Swiss Re will continue to use GEM datasets on exposure and vulnerability for reference, and work on integrating the OQ engine together with GEM and publicly available OQ hazard models in their model development process.

"Swiss Re shares GEM's vision of a world more resilient to natural catastrophes and we're proud to support this truly global initiative. GEM provides state-of-the-art science and software tools and has become a valuable forum for open collaboration within the risk assessment community. By using the same open software for common tasks, the community can focus its efforts on analyzing and improving data and models. We believe that the pioneering work done by GEM will lead to a new era of collaboration and transparency on seismic hazard and risk assessment." Michael Ewald, Earthquake Perils Lead at Swiss Re Institute.

“An important part of GEM’s evolving journey is to turn GEM models into products useful for the insurance industry. With this collaboration, GEM will not only have the opportunity to develop products for the insurance sector but also demonstrate that it can be done in a mutually beneficial way,” John Schneider, Secretary General, on partnering with Swiss Re for insurance loss modelling.

A partnership built from past successes Swiss Re Foundation, a separate legal entity of Swiss Re Group, funded the South America Risk Assessment (SARA) project implemented collaboratively by GEM from 2013-2015. It focused mainly on risk assessment capacity development in South America. Local experts and stakeholders with GEM scientists and engineers carried out activities such as compilation of earthquake catalogues, creation of risk metrics and country risk profiles, and estimation of social vulnerability using GEM tools and products.

Recently, a successful pilot project for Italy to improve GEM’s hazard module using the OpenQuake engine for Swiss Re’s in-house model development was completed in September.

Way forward Swiss Re, Hannover Re and GEM are currently collaborating on a pilot project to implement national and regional GEM models in the OASIS loss modelling framework for risk quantification and a transparent approach in loss estimation using GEM models and tools. The goal is to bring the models up to industry standards and to have a market-ready model by Spring of 2020.

About Swiss Re Swiss Re Group is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, working to make the world more resilient.

Its distinct mission: Together, we apply fresh perspectives, knowledge and capital to anticipate and manage risk, in order to create smarter solutions for our clients, helping the world rebuild, renew and move forward. Today 75% of insurance risks – from natural catastrophes and climate change, to ageing populations and cybercrime – remain uninsured. Swiss Re aims to change that.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1863, the Swiss Re Group operates through a network of around 80 offices globally. Its approximately 14,500 employees provide a wide range of technical expertise, enabling the company to develop unique solutions and drive growth. Swiss Re is organised into three Business Units, each with a distinct strategy and set of objectives contributing to the Group’s overall mission.

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