AIR Worldwide Expands Commitment to Wildfire Risk Management with Wildfire Model for the United States
BOSTON, August 13, 2018 — Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) announced that it has released an updated Wildfire Model for the United States. The model is designed to provide a comprehensive view of the risk of wildfire to property within the 13 westernmost conterminous states. The event-based modeling approach accounts for the variability in weather in the current climate regime and its impact on fire behavior, enabling the model to simulate correlated countrywide wildfire activity. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.
“AIR is committed to offering the most advanced tools for assessing potential insured losses from wildfire throughout the insurance and risk transfer value chain,” said Dr. Jayanta Guin, executive vice president, AIR Worldwide. “With the updates introduced in this model, AIR is building on our experience in modeling wildfires by introducing a fresh approach to estimating the hazard on both local and national levels and accounting for the full range of vulnerabilities in residential, commercial, and industrial lines of business.”
The model features a catalog of fire clusters and a historical event set that features 17 events, including the 2017 Tubbs/Atlas and Thomas fires in California. Each cluster consists of fires ignited within 150 miles of one another over a period of seven days. AIR uses historical fire data to characterize fire behavior in different ecological regions of North America, known as ecoprovinces, and uses unique spread models based on recent scientific approaches to create stochastic fires for each of these regions.
“With residential and commercial development continuing to increase in areas prone to wildfire risk, the model explicitly accounts for this increased penetration into the WUI [wildland-urban interface],” said Tammy Viggato, senior scientist, AIR Worldwide. “Approximately one-third of the U.S. population currently lives in the WUI in the United States, where most wildfire-related losses occur, and this figure continues to grow rapidly. To address the increasing risk, the model realistically captures fire behavior as it moves from rural areas to the suburbs and, under extreme conditions, into more urban areas.”
This enhanced wildfire model probabilistically simulates how fires spread into areas based on wind speed and direction, availability of fuels, terrain, and likelihood of suppression. It explicitly accounts for the different ways fires spread, including fire branding and spotting. The model calculates flame length at each time step, which is directly correlated with the intensity of the fire and thus is used to estimate the severity of its damage. Based on these criteria, in conjunction with constantly evolving wind conditions and suppression efforts, the model can determine how and where the fire may progress across the landscape.
The wildfire model also accounts for risk characteristics specific to wildfire-defensible space and NFPA’s Firewise USA® communities.
The Wildfire Model for the United States is currently available in the Touchstone®, Touchstone Re™, and CATRADER® catastrophe risk management systems.
About AIR Worldwide
AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient to extreme events. In 1987, AIR Worldwide founded the catastrophe modeling industry and today models the risk from natural catastrophes, terrorism, pandemics, casualty catastrophes, and cyber incidents. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR’s advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, longevity modeling, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston, with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.air-worldwide.com.