In Focus contributors are distinguished subject matter specialists from AIR's multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers, actuaries and statisticians, software developers and business analysts. Our internationally respected experts come from many different backgrounds, with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, but they are all innovative thinkers at the leading edge of their chosen professions.

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Following are contributors for our blog:

Elliot Klein

Elliot Klein joined AIR in 2012 as a Scientist in our Research and Modeling Department. Prior to AIR, Elliot was a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno where he worked on the Global Geodetic Strain Rate Model, which is now major component of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). In addition, Elliot has a Ph.D. in Geodynamics from Stony Brook University. Elliot left AIR in 2018.

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Eric Dallal

Dr. Eric Dallal is a director for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. Prior to joining Verisk, Eric was a post-doctoral scholar at UCLA where he conducted research in the application of formal methods techniques to problems in the design and control of cyber-physical systems. Eric holds a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a specialization in control systems. He earned both his MS in electrical engineering and BS in computer engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. 

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Eric Robinson

Eric Robinson joined AIR in 2012 and was an Assistant Vice President in our Research and Modeling Department. Prior to AIR, Eric studied at Purdue University, where he designed, tested, and implemented a new technique for identifying severe weather events in modeling data using artificial neural networks. He also participated in the VORTEX2 field project as part of the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR) tornado pod deployment team. Eric has a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science. Eric left AIR in 2021.

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Eric Uhlhorn

Dr. Eric Uhlhorn is a principal scientist in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. Eric leads work on the hazard component of the U.S. hurricane model and is primarily involved in the development of a next generation hurricane wind field model. His previous work includes the observation and modeling of tropical cyclone surface winds and resulting upper-ocean temperature and current responses. Eric holds a PhD in meteorology and physical oceanography from the University of Miami, an MS in physical oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a BS in meteorology from Florida State University.

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Dr. Gerhard Zuba

Dr. Feng Wang was a principal scientist in our research group. Previously he worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, he held the part-time position as software developer at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCED), where he was responsible for developing a software module for using the next generation attenuation models in the broadband simulation platform of SCEC. Feng earned a BS in geophysics from the University of Science and Technology of China as well as a PhD in geophysics from the University of Southern California. He has left Verisk.

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Frank Sedlar

Frank Sedlar is an engineer in Verisk’s atmospheric perils and vulnerability group. Previously, Frank owned and operated Aeronaut LLC, which provided UAV mapping and surveying services in West Africa and Indonesia. Frank earned a BS and MS in civil engineering from the University of Michigan.ichigan.

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Gayatri Natarajan

Gayatri Natarajan is a vice president in the product management group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. She oversees the product development and new product initiatives for the team’s suite of products. Gayatri has delivered industry-leading models and analytics in Touchstone and leads key initiatives such as open platforms, and flexibility and transparency of models. She has 15 years of experience in product management bringing solutions to business needs in industries such as reinsurance, insurance, aviation, and healthcare. Gayatri holds a BS in electronics and communications engineering from Madras University in India and was awarded the silver medal for top rank in her university.

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Gerald Galgana

Dr. Gerald Galgana was a Scientist in AIR's Earthquake Research Group. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and his B.S. in Geodetic Engineering and Graduate Diploma in R&D Management from the University of the Philippines. He worked as a professional Geodetic Engineer and Remote Sensing Specialist in the Philippines and has published several articles on Seismotectonics and Volcanism. Dr. Galgana is no longer with AIR.

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Dr. Gerhard Zuba

Dr. Gerhard Zuba was Vice President and Senior Principal Scientist in AIR's Research and Modeling group. He was responsible for developing AIR's agricultural modeling framework and helped enhance the extratropical cyclone model's stochastic catalog to better reflect the temporal frequency and spatial distribution of typical storm patterns. Gerhard was active in climate research and a co-author of several peer-reviewed publications. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the Technical University in Vienna. Gerhard passed away in 2015.

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Gian Calvesbert

Gian Calvesbert joined AIR in 2014 as a Product Marketing Manager in our Marketing Department. Prior to working for AIR, Gian worked in the aerospace industry, analyzing and designing gas turbine engine components. Gian earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University's School of Engineering and Master degrees in both Business Administration and Science in Information Systems from the Boston University Graduate School of Management. Gian is no longer with AIR.

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Harry Whitel

Harry White is a manager in Verisk’s insurance-linked securities team and is responsible for working on the issuance of catastrophe bonds, as well as supporting Verisk's investor client base. Harry has worked on many 144a catastrophe bonds covering both the U.S. and Europe, and worked on SCOR’s Atlas Capital UK 2018 PLC—the first 144A catastrophe bond to be domiciled in the United Kingdom. Harry holds a BA in economics with honors from the University of Manchester.

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Heidi Carrell

Heidi Carrell is a senior editor in Verisk’s marketing and communications group. Previously, she worked for Harvard University in research coordinator and communications roles at the E.J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Heidi earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Fine Arts from the University of New Hampshire.

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Heidi Wang

Heidi Wang joined AIR's Consulting and Client Services Group in 2010. She moved to Business Development in 2012 and took the lead in agriculture modeling, especially in the Asian region. Heidi traveled to China on a regular basis to meet with clients and prospects in the region. She is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, and is also an active member of various industry activities and a frequent speaker at company conferences and Casualty Actuarial Society events. Heidi is no longer with AIR.

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Hemant Chowdhary

Dr. Hemant Chowdhary is an assistant vice president for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. He works primarily on the development of the Verisk Inland Flood Model for the United States. He holds a PhD in civil engineering with a specialization in water resources from Louisiana State University and an MS in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology.

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Hemanth Siriki

Dr. Hemanth Siriki is a senior engineer in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. His primary focus is on the development of vulnerability models across global domains alongside uncertainty quantification in risk modeling with a secondary focus on seismic hazard. Hemanth holds a PhD from California Institute of Technology in structural engineering with a concentration in Engineering Seismology and a BTech from IIT-Madras in structural engineering with a concentration in business administration.

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Iacopo Carnacina

Iacopo Carnacina joined AIR in 2011 as an Engineer in our Research Department. Previously he worked as a Research Assistant for the fluvial erosion of engineering structures at the University of Pisa. Iacopo has earned both an M.S and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy. Iacopo is no longer with AIR.

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Ivelin Zvezdov

Ivelin Zvezdov is an assistant vice president in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. He is a financial economist by training, with experience in quantitative analysis and risk management for insurance, reinsurance, and natural catastrophe modeling. In 2006 he joined Verisk as manager for statistical analysis and numerical models and has led the product development effort of Verisk’s Next Generation Modeling platform since 2013. He holds an MA in economics from St. Andrews University, UK, and an MPhil from the University of Oxford, UK.

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Jacqueline Chen

Dr. Jacqueline Chen is an assistant vice president for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. She works on multiple peril crop insurance models in different regions of the world, leads development of the Verisk Multiple Peril Crop Insurance Model for China, and is the model manager for the Verisk Multiple Peril Crop Insurance Model for Canada. Jacqueline holds a PhD and an MS in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago and a BS in astronomy and physics from Yale University.

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Jason Kutarnia

Jason Kutarnia joined AIR in 2015 as a Scientist in our Research Department. Prior to working with AIR, Jason was Officer in Charge of Cyber Security for the U.S. Army Southwest Asia Cyber Center where he conducted defensive cyber operations. Jason earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering from The University of Massachusetts Amherst, and both his Master of Science Degree and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from WPI. Jason is no longer with AIR.

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Jay Guin

Dr. Jay Guin is an executive vice president and chief research officer for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team, where he’s responsible for the strategic direction and management of the research and modeling group. Under his leadership, the group has developed a global suite of models for assessing and managing extreme risk from both natural and man-made perils, continually pushing the boundaries of the state-of-the-science. Jayanta also provides strategic input into the team’s future direction in conventional and emerging areas of growth. He oversees two emerging areas of Verisk’s business, casualty and cyber risks. Jayanta has 25 years of experience in probabilistic risk analysis for natural catastrophes worldwide. His previous roles at the company include senior vice president and vice president of research and modeling. In those capacities he grew and developed the research team, managed model development, liaised with product development, established external partnerships, and laid the foundations for Verisk’s next generation of catastrophe models. He’s well recognized in the insurance industry for his expertise in the financial risk posed by natural perils. His expertise includes a wide range of natural and man-made phenomenon across the risk spectrum that encompasses underwriting, financial modeling, and aggregation risk. He holds a PhD and an MS in civil engineering from the State University of New York, Buffalo, with a specialization in dynamic soil-structure interaction and computational mechanics. He also holds a BS in civil engineering from Jadavpur University in India.

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Jeff Amthor

Dr. Jeff Amthor is an assistant vice president in Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. He manages the development of Verisk’s wildfire risk models and agricultural risk models used by reinsurers, reinsurance brokers, and insurers in the U.S. and globally. Jeff has extensive research and modeling experience at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and within the U.S. National Laboratory system and was a lecturer at Yale University and a professor at the University of Sydney. He holds a PhD in plant ecophysiology from Yale and MS degrees from Texas A&M and Yale.

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Jeff Boyd

Jeff Boyd is a senior account executive for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team supporting the reinsurance and retrocession market. Jeff is responsible for providing reinsurance and ILS-sponsor clients with the tools necessary to foster sustainable growth and has participated in the successful issuance of more than 40 insurance-linked securities. Jeff holds a BA in political science and classical studies from Gettysburg College.

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Jiazhen Peng

Dr. Jiazhen Peng is a senior engineer in Verisk’s research group. Before joning Verisk Jiazheng was a graduate research assistant for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering/Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware, where he developed a two-stage stochastic game theoretic optimization model representing insurer-homeowner and insurance-retrofit interactions in managing natural disaster risk. Jiazhen earned a BS in automation from Southwest Jiaotong University, an MS in control theory and engineering from Tongji University, and a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Delaware.

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Joe Cleveland

Joe Cleveland is Director of Learning and Development. He joined AIR in 2006 as a Risk Analyst in the Consulting and Client Services Group. He has also worked in the Research team as a Senior Analyst in the Financial and Uncertainty Modeling group. He previously worked as an Accounts Payable Manager for Aramark. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Boston University, and a M.S. in Applied Statistics from Villanova University.

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John Binder

John Binder joined AIR in 2012 as a Segment Marketing Manager in our Marketing Department. His marketing segments include agriculture risk, cyber risk, and climate change risk. In addition, he is responsible for the European, Reinsurance, and Regulatory (including rating agencies and actuaries) marketing segments. Previously, John was founder and Chief Consultant of via Solutions, a marketing consulting firm that focused on transferring product marketing features to vertical industry solutions. John has earned his MBA from the University of California at Irvine, and M.S in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. (Note: John Binder left AIR in 2016.)

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