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Free online offering hopes to bolster catastrophe modelling understanding


September 5, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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What has been described as the first free and neutral open online catastrophe modelling course was launched today to help those working in climate change and disaster loss mitigation, academia and insurance better understand the use of models in nat-Cat risk management.

The offering out of London is “the first massive open online course (MOOC) on the use of models in natural catastrophe risk management,” reports Oasis Loss Modelling Framework (LMF), a U.K.-based, not-for-profit company that promotes links across the global community interested in Cat modelling from academia, business and government.

Created by the Oasis LMF – which is owned by its members from the insurance and reinsurance industry – the MOOC is sponsored by Climate-KIC and the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC).

Used by (re)insurers worldwide to manage their exposures to financial loss, Cat models “are now developing into tools for the management of climate change-related phenomenon and other severe events,” Oasis LMF points out.

Related: Provincial, local governments should consider mandatory hurricane interpretation training: ICLR report

“By opening up catastrophe risk modelling to a wide audience, this MOOC is part of a broad effort to enhance the ability of communities to understand risk and protect themselves against severe climate-related and natural hazards,” Malte Schneider, director of metrics and finance for Climate-KIC, says in the Oasis LMF statement.

“The course will democratize access to decision-making by building the capabilities of new users,” Schneider suggests.

The MOOC is available free via the website http://www.oasismooc.org. Employing videos and supporting material, with quizzes for self-testing, issues covered in the course include the following:

  • Hazards: earthquake, tropical cyclone (hurricane and typhoon), extratropical storm clusters and flood;
  • Vulnerability: the response of built structures to extreme hazards; and
  • Financial impact: how hazard data and vulnerability data are used for calculating economic or insured loss.

Related: Government of Canada creates expert panel on climate change adaptation

The course provides a basic grounding on Cat modelling “for people in insurance and related industries, but it also has a much wider value,” Oasis LMF CEO Dickie Whitaker points out.

“It will be useful for anyone, academics, regulators, corporations and governments, who wants a better understanding of natural catastrophes,” Whitaker continues.

“NERC welcomes the MOOC and the potential it offers to the research community when considering how to contribute to the development of catastrophe models as tools to help the insurance industry and wider society improve their understanding of natural hazard risk,” suggests Sophie Laurie, NERC’s associate director of innovation and translation.