8. Brian the Robot and Meerkat toys

Dr John Hillier

The UK is impacted by various natural hazards such as flooding and strong winds (e.g., Storm Desmond in 2015), and insurance is important in our resilience to natural threats like this.

Providing insurance for natural hazards reliably, accurately and fairly is underpinned by robust, peer-reviewed environmental science. The flow of science into risk assessment models is, however, imperfect. This includes, but goes beyond, scientists not having a readily accessible list of precisely constructed business-relevant questions from insurers.

More fundamentally, there is currently a lack of a clear understanding of how, when or why science is, or could be, used by insurers. My 3-year fellowship with the UK government’s funding body for the environment (NERC) will work out practical ways to allow academia and insurers to collaboration better.

My ongoing scientific research into the meteorological and climatic processes driving interacting hazards (e.g. storms, floods, snow, drought) fits with a depth of hazard-risk work within the department: Drs Louise Slater, Dapeng Yu, Tom Matthews, and Prof. Rob Wilby.