Sponsors and collaborators from governments, insurance/reinsurance sectors, catastrophe modelers and insurance brokers gathered on November 29 for this year’s Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Partners Workshop to share the impact of GEM and its products and services to their programs and business practices.
OpenQuake – a public standard for seismic hazard and risk assessment
Daniela Di Bucci, presenting on behalf of the Scientific Advisory Unit of the Department of Civil Protection (INGV) – a public sponsor since 2009, said that the use of GEM OpenQuake software for Civil Protection purposes in Italy is a well-established practice in the seismic risk assessment field. In similar fashion, Canada represented by Phil Hill of Natural Resources Canada, uses GEM OpenQuake models to assess seismic risk and to inform disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning in British Columbia as well as for updating their National Seismic Hazard model of 2015.
GNS Science New Zealand representative Kelvin Berryman, who has participated in GEM key events since 2006 – the year the GEM idea was born – acknowledged that GEM has much more to offer now than before, citing GEM’s successful development of a 21st century seismic risk assessment software – OpenQuake, and addressing the challenges of global database standards for risk assessment.
GFZ/Germany representative Graeme Weatherill quoted the application of OQ in Central Asia (EMCA) and for the Dead Sea region. He further added that OQ forms an integral part of GFZ/UNESCO training courses on seismic hazard and risk.
BGS/UK’s John Rees stated widespread use of OQ and GEM products across UK institutions. In Nepal, NSET representative Surya Shrestha shared that they have successfully used GEM's RPS-resilience performance scorecard method to educate local communities in disaster risk reduction planning at municipal level. NSET also used OpenQuake for national hazard and risk modeling.
Closing the protection gap: GEM and private sector partnerships
Leading insurers and reinsurers of the world, Hannover Re and Zurich, echoed the same perspective. More than the software benefits, Hannover Re representative Jörg Steffensen points out that Hannover Re’s partnership with GEM, which now spans almost a decade, has expanded in-house expertise on earthquake risk and strengthened their overall internal and external risk management processes, contributing to better client services.
Zurich’s Claudio Boettcher underscored that working with GEM is not only good for humanity but for business as well. Zurich is one of the first key private sponsors that boldly invested significant funds for GEM’s work programs on seismic hazard and risk assessment in order to develop more understanding of earthquake impacts and to promote better management of the risk.
FM Global’s Hosam Ali introduced their work on using OQ for China and improving the software in general. OYO Corporation’s Nobuhiko Toyama described their use of OQ for client services, including OQ training and translating the manual into Japanese to reach more stakeholders. E
DF’s Gloria Senfaute commented that OQ qualifies as the best choice when moving to probabilistic models for NPP regulation.
Openness and transparency
Insurance brokers Aon-Benfield, Guy Carpenter and Willis Towers Watson (GEM work program 1 sponsor) all agreed that GEM’s approach to risk assessment and model development is trail blazing and a game-changer because of OQ’s transparency and replicability. Adam Podlaha, Head of Aon-Benfield’s Impact Forecasting, adds that the GEM brand carries a lot of weight because of its scientific credibility.
Capping the 1-day event, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) urged GEM to bring collective experience to address the challenges that UNISDR have to navigate over the next 20 years in understanding inter-dependencies in the risk landscape.
Marc Gordon, representing UNISDR at the event, appealed to GEM to become a central part of determining how to move forward in bringing expertise, data and knowledge together to guide international risk management policy.
The GEM Partners Workshop is held twice a year with the objective of bringing partners together to gather feedback on GEM products, services and activities.