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11 July 2012 | PR 12/136

Creating catastrophe models to help prepare for new Euro regulations

Pictured from the left are Loughborough’s Dr John Hillier and Lei Wang, Andrew Hughes, Kate Royse and Andrew Kingdom from the BGS.

Catastrophe modelling specialist Dr John Hillier has been working with the British Geological Survey (BGS) to create a piece of open access software that could help the insurance industry meet new EU regulations.

The Loughborough University geography lecturer has teamed up with colleagues at the BGS on a proof of concept project for groundwater flooding that breaks new ground with OpenMI, a free online software interface that enables different tools and models to be linked together for catastrophe prediction.

The ‘plug and play’ catastrophe (CAT) model developed by Loughborough and the BGS is the first of its kind to be unveiled and has been produced for the ‘Experimental Zone’ of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Probability Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) project.

CAT models are stochastic, event-set based computer models that have been used by the insurance and reinsurance industry for the last 25 years to assess risk by estimating likely losses from extreme events.

From January 2013, new EU regulation Solvency II requires insurance firms to better understand assumptions upon which these calculations are made. Open MI could provide both industry and academia with a way of meeting these new regulations.

Dr Hillier explains: “Our plug and play prototype has shown it is possible to slot in and out different components to generate a range of calculations and identify areas driving uncertainty and risk.”

Dr Kate Royse of the BGS added: “This research gives me confidence OpenMI can be developed to help meet the new EU requirements and increase transparency of catastrophe modelling.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.L.Wing@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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