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Thursday 14 October 2010
Author: Russell Group

There is a growing recognition across the London Market of the value of ever more sophisticated catastrophe models delegates from 60 companies have been told.

The International Underwriting Association’s (IUA) annual catastrophe modelling conference which drew 115 delegates which heard from the IUA’s Chief Executive that there was clear evidence that catastrophe models were no longer seen as simply a nice to have for underwriters.

Chairing the conference Dave Matcham said “The business value of catastrophe modellers is clearly recognised by London Market firms and the skills they demonstrate can be utilised in a number of different ways. For example, it only took ten minutes of the IUA conference for Solvency II to be mentioned and this remained a recurring issue.

“I believe more and more companies are now appreciating the scope of modelling techniques to be applied not only to assessing catastrophe risks, but also other lines of business and other aspects of our industry.”

Speaking at the conference, Robert Stevenson, Head of Insurance Operations for Kiln, described how catastrophe modelling had developed as a profession.

“It is a career now,” he said. “It was not when I started out, it was a bit of machine you kept on the side, but it has flourished. It is now a fantastic career to be in and you can really add value to the company.

“It enables people to be an integral part of their business. If you go to work and feel you are adding something, then that makes going to work much more engaging.”

Among the issues covered at the conference were a review of the 2010 windstorm season to date and the lessons learned from the 2010 Chile earthquake. A discussion on post catastrophe loss examined how the cost of claims can inflate following a significant market loss, due in part to increased demand for finite material and resources for reconstruction.

There were also presentations on the effects of sea level rises and scenario versus probabilistic approaches to modelling. Speakers included specialists from Oxford University, the UK Met Office, Lloyd’s, the engineering firm ARUPas well as a range of insurers and reinsurers.