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AIR updates severe thunderstorm storm model, adds crop hail model

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Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide has updated its severe thunderstorm model and released a crop hail model for the U.S.

The updated severe thunderstorm model enhances its hazard, engineering, and financial components, the Boston-based firm said Wednesday in a statement.

The improvements are based on new data and scientific research including damage data collected and analyzed by AIR scientists and engineers following major thunderstorm outbreaks in 2008, 2011 and 2013, approximately $3 billion in insurance claims and analysis of billions of dollars of claims data from AIR’s sister company, Lehi, Utah-based Xactware Solutions Inc., according to the statement.

“To effectively capture the risk that severe thunderstorms pose to insured properties across the United States, a catastrophe model should differentiate the risk to various assets by subperil (tornadoes, hailstorms, and straight-line winds) and by primary and secondary building characteristics,” Cagdas Kafali, assistant vice president and principal engineer at AIR Worldwide, said in the statement. “The AIR model explicitly accounts for not only primary building features, construction type, occupancy, number of stories, and year built but also many secondary features, such as hail-resistance category of the roof cover and other roof and building envelope characteristics.”

The crop hail model features crop-specific damage functions for corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice and barley and has been validated against loss estimates issued by the Overland Park, Kansas-based National Crop Insurance Services, data provided by crop insurers and published research, according to the statement.