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:

Luxi Zhou

Dr. Luxi Zhou is an engineer in catastrophe fire modeling in Verisk’s research group. Previously, Luxi worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an atmospheric scientist, investigating the impacts of wildfires and agriculture burns on air quality, and the impact of air quality on solar energy production. Prior to EPA, Luxi worked at University of Helsinki as graduate research assistant modeling atmospheric chemistry and new particle formation. She earned a BS, MS, and PhD in physics from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

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Marc Marcella

Dr. Marc Marcella was a manager and principal scientist in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. With a background in numerical weather prediction and regional climate modeling using dynamical downscaling techniques of general circulation models, he worked on both meteorology and hydrology projects. He holds a PhD and an MS in hydrometeorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as a dual BS in atmospheric sciences and biological and environmental engineering from Cornell University. Mark left Verisk in 2022.

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Margot Doucet

Margot Doucet is a senior risk consultant for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. Based in the Munich office, she supports clients primarily in the reinsurance and broker segments and provides internal support for Verisk’s flood research team. Margot holds an MSc degree in environmental engineering from the Technical University of Munich​.

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Mark Hope

Mark Hope joined AIR in 2013 as an Atmospheric Scientist in our Research Department. Most recently, he was a graduate student working in the Computational Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked on the implementation and development of the SWAN+ADCIRC coastal circulation model. He worked in conjunction with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to develop the Texas Gulf Coast computational grid as well as a parametric study of storm surge risk for the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to this, Mark held a position as an intern at FM Global, where he studied effects of varying wave parameters in the SWAN wave model on coastal and inland water levels for Hurricane Ike. Mark has earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Marquette University and is completing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. (Note: Mark left AIR in 2015.)

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Mark Szretter

Mark Szretter is a senior manager of client relations in the business development group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. He is responsible for market outreach and client support across the region of Latin America. He supports clients in the insurance, reinsurance, and intermediary markets across Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. He has extensive experience working with companies to leverage data analytics and information systems to improve real-time management of complex business challenges. Mark holds an MBA and MS in information science from Boston University and a BA in Spanish and Latin-American studies from the University of Massachusetts.

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Matthew Gewing

Matthew Gewing was a Manager in the Consulting and Client Services group, supporting several primary insurance clients. Prior to joining AIR, Matthew held a position as a Meteorologist/Product Specialist with Trinity Consultants, Inc., an environmental consulting firm. He holds a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University, and has achieved the designation of Certified Extreme Event Modeler by completing the requirements of the AIR Institute Certified Extreme Event Modeler Program. Matthew is no longer with AIR.

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Megan Zimmerman

Dr. Megan Zimmerman is a senior scientist in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. She works on developing seismicity models, with a focus on the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. She was responsible for leading the development of the Verisk Earthquake Model for the Caribbean update and coordinates model development efforts across many groups at Verisk. Megan holds a PhD in geological science from the University of Florida, a BS in physics with a concentration in earth sciences from The College of New Jersey, and has completed the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) program.

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Mehrdad Mahdyiar

Dr. Mehrdad Mahdyiar is vice president and senior director of earthquake hazard in the research and modeling group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. He has more than 20 years of experience in seismology, engineering seismology, and numerical analysis. He has in-depth knowledge and experience in constructing regional seismicity models, ground motion analysis, and probabilistic seismic hazard analysis. His recent research includes studies on earthquake time-dependent rupture models and physical modeling of subduction zones for long-term slip rate determination. Mehrdad holds a PhD in geophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in civil engineering.

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Melanie Parker

Melanie Parker joined AIR in 2012 as a Scientist in our Research and Modeling Department. Prior to AIR, Melanie was a graduate student at Yale University where she earned both her Masters of Philosophy and Doctorate of Philosophy in Geology & Geophysics. Melanie is no longer with AIR.

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Meredith Kraner

Meredith Kraner is a scientist in the research and modeling group. Prior to Verisk, Meredith worked as a geophysicist for both Stony Brook University and the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno where she conducted research on the South Napa Earthquake and the San Andreas Fault in California. Meredith earned her BS in geology from Stony Brook University and MS in geophysics from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Michal Clavner

Dr. Michal Clavner is a scientist for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. Prior to working with Verisk, Michal was a graduate research assistant in the department of atmospheric science cloud processes group at Colorado State University and at the Earth Science Institute at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Michal earned her PhD in atmospheric science from Colorado State University, her MS in atmospheric science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her BS in geophysics and planetary sciences from Tel-Aviv University in Israel.

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Milan Simic

As executive vice president and managing director of global business development for Verisk’s insurance solutions (including the extreme event solutions team), Dr. Milan Simic is responsible for business development and strategic growth initiatives in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Milan has more than 30 years of experience in risk assessment, engineering consulting, teaching, and research. During his previous tenures as managing director of international and London operations for the extreme event solutions team, then known as AIR, he oversaw the company’s significant growth in those markets. He’s a Chartered Engineer through the UK Institution of Civil Engineers, a regular speaker at catastrophe-related conferences, and the author of numerous papers and articles on insurance loss assessment and soil-structure interaction. Milan holds a PhD in earthquake engineering from the University of Bristol an MSc in hydraulic structures from the University of Belgrade. He’s a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) High-Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes.

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Min Liu

Min Liu was a manager of client service in Verisk’s Beijing office. In this role, she worked closely with clients to effectively manage their risk workflows using Verisk software solutions, including performing catastrophe analyses, interpreting model results, providing software training, and optimizing use of Verisk’s models. Min has an MS from and a BS from Beijing Normal University. She has left Verisk.

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Nalan Senol Cabi

Nalan Senol Cabi joined AIR in 2012 as a Hydraulic Engineer in the Research and Modeling Department and is now a Senior Engineer. Most recently, she was employed at Symmes Maini & McKee Associates in Cambridge, MA as a Civil Engineer, where she performed stormwater management practices and hydrologic analysis. Nalan is involved with the nonprofit organization Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where she is the team leader of water technology group in a project in Tanzania and a mentor for the EWB-MIT chapter in a project in Uganda.

Nalan earned her second M.S. in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, and her first M.S. in Hydromechanics at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Nalan has also earned a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) license. (Note: Nalan left AIR in 2016.)

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Narges Dorratoltaj

Dr. Narges Dorratoltaj is a director for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team, leading the life and health modeling team. Narges has extensive experience in the modeling of infectious diseases from immunological, epidemiological, and economic perspectives through computational epidemiology and biology. Specifically, she worked on immunological modeling of HIV during treatment interruption, the economic impact of an influenza vaccine during pandemics, economic evaluation of disease outbreak, and mathematical modeling of longevity/mortality in different populations. Narges holds both a PhD and a MPH in biomedical and veterinary sciences from Virginia Tech and an MS in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California.

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Natalie Love

Natalie Love is a data services lead in Verisk’s London office. Her prior experience in supporting operations teams within the London Insurance market led to a natural progression at Verisk within data services.

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Naveen Venkat Aachi

Naveen Venkat Aachi joined AIR's Hyderabad office in March 2010 as a Senior Business Development Executive in the Client Services Group. He has an M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Toledo in Ohio. Prior to AIR, Naveen was associated with RMSI, Hyderabad as Project Manager Spatial Modeling Group and before that with the Office of Environmental Engineering, Caltrans, Oakland, CA as a Transportation Engineer. Naveen is no longer with AIR.

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Nicholas Brewer

Nicholas Brewer is a risk analyst for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team, responsible for contributing to regulatory submissions and handling regulatory client questions. He earned his BA from Bryant University.

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Nicolai Thum

Nicolai Thum was a Senior Research Associate in AIR's Munich office. Prior to joining AIR in 2010, Nicolai worked as a freelance consultant analyzing weather induced risks in gross sales. He holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from Oregon State University. Nicolai is no longer with AIR.

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Nita Madhav

Nita Madhav is a Senior Scientist in the Research and Modeling group, where she leads development of AIR's pandemic model. Prior to joining AIR in 2005, Nita worked in the Special Pathogens branch of the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She earned her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with Distinction, from Yale University, and her MSPH in Epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Her background is in the epidemiology of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, and the statistical modeling of disease spread. Note: Nita left AIR in 2015.

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Oscar Vergara

Dr. Oscar Vergara is assistant vice president in the business development group on the extreme event solutions team at Verisk. He is responsible for providing client support and services for the agricultural risk markets. He also oversees the current offerings of Verisk agricultural portfolio risk management products and services to global reinsurers, brokers, insurance companies, multilateral institutions, and governments. Oscar holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Mississippi State University.

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Pamela Eck

Pamela Eck is a senior risk consultant in Verisk’s Cyber Risk Modeling group. She focuses on the impact of silent cyber on commercial property. She holds an MS in atmospheric science from University at Albany, SUNY, and a BS in geoscience from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Research for her master’s degree involved using machine learning to evaluate lightning jumps as a predictor of severe weather in the Northeastern United States.

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Peter Baltatzidis

Peter Baltatzidis was a Senior Director in AIR's Product Management group. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Babson College. Peter is no longer with AIR.

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Peter Civitenga

Peter Civitenga was a Senior Account Executive within AIR’s Business Development group responsible for providing service and support to AIR clients within the insurance broker market. Before joining AIR he gained more than 15 years of experience in the software industry and the insurance/financial sector. Peter earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Peter is no longer with AIR.

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Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis was a senior vice president, responsible for developing and executing information technology initiatives that support the business operations for Verisk’s extreme event solutions team. He lead the team’s infrastructure, technical support, integration solution, and security groups, which are responsible for the maintenance and support of the team's hosted and desktop applications as well as custom integration with customers’ systems. Before taking on this role, Peter served as client service manager and technical support specialist/lead within the team, which he joined in 1999. In this role, he built out the client services group and created the extreme event solution team’s global technical support model. He holds a BS in business administration and finance from Northeastern University. Peter has completed the Verisk Leadership Institute program at the Harvard University Darden School of Business and is an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. He left Verisk in 2022.

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