Web-based Cat Risk Products to Be Promoted at Tampa Catastrophe Modeling Conference

Feb 17, 2009

National Underwriter--February 17, 2009

Summit, N.J.-based risk modeling firm Baseline Management Company Inc. announced today it has a new set of catastrophe models for hurricanes and earthquakes accessed as a service through the company’s hosted Web-based platform.

Baseline said the products were developed with Applied Research Associates Inc., Albuquerque (ARA) and URS Corp., San Francisco (URS), and incorporate extensively tested concepts and utilize peer-reviewed science and engineering.

Craig Ott, Baseline president and chief executive officer, said the Baseline United States Hurricane and Earthquake Models online platform has been designed as a “transformational innovation for the catastrophe modeling market.”

For more than a decade, he said, “the insurance and reinsurance industries have relied mostly on the models of three cat modeling firms. With this launch, we offer a uniquely collaborative approach to catastrophe modeling, enabled by state-of-the-art computing technology, which specifically addresses many of the concerns shared by users.

“These client issues include the desire for greater transparency to understand variation in model outputs, which in turn supports better decision-making about strategic pricing, risk management and risk transfer strategies.”

Baseline said its hurricane model integrates the hazard and vulnerability components of the ARA firm’s HURLOSS U.S. Hurricane model, which has been approved for rate-making by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology every year since 2000.

The company said HURLOSS has also been used for mitigation analysis and insurance rate differential modeling in Florida since 2001.

Baseline said its earthquake model leverages URS’s expertise in building codes and earthquake vulnerabilities, modeling site-specific building damage using URS’s CODA (Code-Oriented Damage Assessment) methodology.

Lawrence Twisdale, ARA executive vice president and chief technical officer, said, “We have used our HURLOSS hurricane model for research and consulting services since 1998. The opportunity of collaborating with Baseline to bring the model to market on their innovative platform has provided a significant step forward for our wind engineering business.”

William Graf, URS Corp. earthquake risk manager, said, “The Baseline platform provided the perfect fit for the URS Code-Oriented Damage Assessment earthquake vulnerability model, which adapts building vulnerability to the building code design for each location and year of construction.”

Baseline said its models differ from other catastrophe models in a number of fundamental ways:

  • A collaborative partnership approach that allows for the incorporation of all credible alternatives for hazard catalogs, vulnerability functions and loss models into the Baseline system to provide users with more robust tools.
  • Its Platform as a Service Model (PAAS) means users only need an Internet connection to logon to the Baseline Risk Platform. There is no system to integrate or software to install and maintain, and the platform’s architecture and cloud computing capabilities support large event sets (100,000 years of discrete events) and reduced processing times allowing more frequent, real-time portfolio reviews while eliminating the need for short-cuts that can skew results.
  • Hazard, vulnerability and insurance/reinsurance model components are designed as independent objects or “stand-alone” modules that can operate independently from one another but also be combined to provide alternative end-to-end risk models enabling easy introduction of alternative views on hazard-providing users a functionality allowing analysis of the sensitivity of their portfolios to different views on risk. It also permits easy model update and new model introduction.
  • The Baseline platform provides tools for extensive visualization of results through maps, satellite imaging, analytical graphics and exportable tables and incorporates search tools enabling users to explore both exposure and loss in great detail.
  • Models are based on the most credible scientific and engineering data available to provide reliable information about the structure and integrity of insured risks and how these risks would respond under a vast range of conditions.

Baseline said with its partners it has also developed The Baseline United States Industry Exposure Database, cataloging insured values and building stock for every U.S. ZIP code.

The firm said it would provide more information about its products at the Reinsurance Association of America’s four-day Catastrophe Modeling Conference, which kicks off today in Tampa, Florida.