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Willis Re model targets risk of tsunami losses in Japan

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Reinsurance broker Willis Re said on Tuesday that it has released a model to help determine the risk of tsunami losses in Japan.

The company said that the Japan Tsunami Model combines tsunami loss information with earthquake shaking damage output to help Willis Re and its clients quantify and manage risk related to tsunamis.

“The tragedies of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and the tsunami that followed the Tokohu earthquake in 2011 plainly illustrated how damaging these catastrophes can be,” William Thompson, regional director for Willis Re Japan, said in a statement. “Japan earthquake risk has been rigorously investigated and modeled, but the complexity of modeling tsunamis has led to a significant gap in the industry’s ability to quantify risk for severe earthquake events.”

The Japan Tsunami Model was developed alongside the Willis Research Network, a partnership with public institutions and universities aimed at integrating science into reinsurance decision making, the company said.

Professor Fumihiko Imamura, director of Tohoku University’s International Research Institute of Disaster Science said he had been working in partnership with Willis Research Network since 2010.

“To date we have conducted research into a variety of related research fields, including tsunami data collection and tsunami simulation, as well as the development of tsunami hazard maps and vulnerability function,” Mr. Imamura said in the statement. “We hope that the outcome of this research will be able to foster greater tsunami risk management and disaster prevention in the future.”

Rowan Douglas, chairman of the Willis Research Network, said it was vital for the reinsurance industry to join with leading academics to meet the needs of the industry. “By combining academic excellence with in-house analytics and market expertise we have developed an independent model whilst also being in a unique position to analyze the new tools that are now emerging from model vendors,” Mr. Douglas said in the statement.