When AIR introduced its U.S. Earthquake Model to the insurance industry in 1990, it was the only such model to feature an integrated catalog for the entire contiguous U.S. An earthquake-induced fire loss (fire-following) model was added a year later. Today, the number of modeled countries has grown to include most of the Americas, the Mediterranean region, and at-risk countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Sophisticated Treatment of Seismic Hazard
AIR's earthquake models represent the most advanced understanding of seismic risk and exposure vulnerability in each modeled region. Uncertainty is quantified and incorporated throughout the modeling process, creating fully probabilistic estimates of financial loss. In May 2008, the AIR China Earthquake Model provided loss estimates for the devastating M8.0 Wenchuan earthquake within 24 hours of the event. By supplementing historical catalogs with GPS data that measure the relative movement of the Earth's crust, AIR's model was able to capture a more complete view of the seismic hazard in the region, accounting for the possibility of an M7.0+ earthquake on a fault that other modelers had considered inactive.
Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis
In 2009, AIR engineers introduced nonlinear dynamic analysis (NDA) into the vulnerability modeling framework of the AIR Earthquake Model for the United States. In NDA, a detailed virtual representation of the building is shaken with dozens of actual ground motion records. This produces a robust time-domain deformation history at each story that accurately captures nonlinear post-elastic behavior. NDA is the state-of-the-art methodology for predicting building response to ground motion and produces more reliable results with significantly less uncertainty than previous analysis procedures.
Unfortunately, earthquakes do not only affect buildings. Because these events can cause severe building damage over hundreds of square miles, large numbers of people can be injured or killed, particularly during working hours. Workers' compensation losses can constitute a significant portion of total insured losses. To assess and manage this risk, AIR provided the first workers' compensation loss model for earthquake risk in 2002.
AIR scientists remain actively engaged with the wider scientific community, both in the U.S. and in the countries for which AIR offers models. Our seismologists and engineers have received numerous grants from organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, and participated in the development of the 2008 update to the USGS Seismic Hazard Maps.
AIR currently offers earthquake models for:
- United States
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- St. Maarten
- St. Martin
- Trinidad and Tobago
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Listed below are additional materials of interest to companies exposed to earthquake risk: