By Peter Sousounis | February 19, 2015

AIR Worldwide recently joined The Risk Prediction Initiative 2.0 (RPI 2.0), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to focus academic research toward the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industry.

RPI was founded in 1995, but in 2012 it became the new and improved RPI 2.0 when it refocused its efforts from climate change time scales to seasonal-to-five-year (medium-term) time frames. In doing so it provided its members with a more useful strategic horizon for re/insurance applications and decision-making processes.

RPI 2.0 is housed within the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Science (BIOS), a world renowned ocean research institute founded in 1903.Being physically located in Bermuda, it is strategically close to the voices of the risk modeling industry. As a new member, AIR looks forward to the opportunity to support (and benefit from)research to better understand the risk from weather and climate-related hazards.

Members decide on key research areas and/or projects by consensus. Their selection is subject to approval by RPI 2.0, whose job is then to provide funding (from membership dues) to researchers in academia who have demonstrated their interest and competency by submitting proposals on exactly how they will tackle the projects.

In 2012, their first year of operation, RPI 2.0 contributed nearly USD $350,000 to study topics such as the Reanalysis of Eastern Pacific Hurricanes (National Hurricane Center), Climate Conditions Conducive to Tornado Activity (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the Impact of Climate Change on European Winter Storm Risk in the Future ( North Carolina State University), to name a few.

Often the funding is used to hire a graduate student to help with a project, which both helps cover the cost of their tuition and gives them valuable experience that helps them when seeking employment in the risk modeling or insurance industry. In 2013 this last benefit worked in AIR's favor when we hired a graduate student, in part because of the experience she gained from RPI 2.0.

The projects I mentioned earlier represent only a portion of the spectrum of weather hazards that are typically addressed in some form each year. Annual reports that give an overview of the funded and upcoming projects are available to everyone on the RPI website. But only members can see the detailed reports and access the data and specific results. And only members can attend the workshops that are organized by RPI to physically bring together the researchers and member companies to further discuss and better understand the results.

For more information, interested readers can visit or contact me directly.

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