18 December 2008

Eurotempest Ltd and Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), both UCL projects in the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre (ABUHRC) and The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and led by Professor Mark Saunders, are making waves in the Reinsurance Market.

Managed and supported by UCL Business PLC, Eurotempest has grown considerably in 2008 and TSR has already acquired 5 major insurance clients for a new software subscription service launched in August 2008.

Dr Mike Arnott, Senior Business Manager said “UCL Business has the contacts and commercial expertise to ensure the continued growth of both TSR and Eurotempest, we have attracted the attention of several major industry players, negotiated licensing agreements and continue to provide vital strategic leadership”.

Tropical Storm Risk (TSR)
TSR, 2006 winner of the British Insurance Award for Risk Management provides a leading resource for forecasting the risk from tropical storms worldwide. The research team has produced new software for mapping in real-time the past and forecast impacts of active tropical storms worldwide. These innovative models assist reinsurance companies in predicting and assessing the risk and potential damage to their portfolios from active tropical storms.

Professor Mark Saunders said “TSR has developed systems that can forecast the intensity of the coming hurricane season, display the path of tropical storms as they develop and move, and anticipate the likelihood of damage they may cause before and after they make landfall”.

Dr Mike Arnott continued “TSR consistently has an advantage in lead time. We can usually give an extra day’s notice over other systems”.

It is also easy to appreciate the humanitarian value of such a service. Governments can be alerted much earlier and procedures for evacuation and relief put in place sooner. For example, the TSR forecasts for cyclone Sidr which struck Bangladesh in November 2007 helped to save ‘thousands of lives’ through early evacuations.

Eurotempest Ltd
Eurotempest Ltd, is a commercial venture spun out with the help of UCL Business in 2007 using a unique piece of software which provides reinsurers and risk managers with forecasts for European windstorms and their localised potential wind damage to 2 digit postcode resolution. The software tool provides quantitative and probabilistic forecast for maximum wind gusts and potential wind damage, high precipitation and extreme temperatures across 26 European countries. Actively managed by UCL Business, The venture has attracted several high-profile insurance clients and by 2009 is it is expected that Eurotempest will be providing forecasts on for Reinsurers covering 1/3rd of UK homes.

Dr Mike Arnott, said “The greatest insurance losses are due to wind storms. Because the continent is so densely populated, even a mild storm can cause millions of dollars in damages. And, since weather zones vary enormously throughout Europe, the forecasts need to be as localized as possible. If we have an understanding of a client’s assets, we can develop a vulnerability curve that predicts its risk from a given event.”

He added “Prior to approaching Eurotempest, a company was being told to raise a huge amount of funding to cover losses following a big windstorm. We were able to advise – accurately – that only a tenth of that amount needed to be tied up. This capability can mean significant savings for the companies and more rapidly settled claims and repaired property for their customers.”

About the ABUHRC
The ABUHRC is dedicated to both strategic, curiosity-driven academic research into natural hazards and disaster reduction and to facilitating and encouraging the sharing of information and knowledge among stakeholders in these fields. Through the development of a range of intellectual products and services the Centre has established a reputation for being at the forefront of natural hazards and disaster prediction research.

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Further Information
For further information contact Dr Mike Arnott, Senior Business Manager, UCL Business PLC on 020 7679 9000, (m.arnott@uclb.com)