Press Release

Newly added induced seismicity module captures the effects of human activity

BOSTON, June 19, 2017 — Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide today announced the release of a significantly updated earthquake model for the United States. Updates include enhanced event generation, local intensity calculation, and damage estimation modules. Previously supported sub-perils (fire following, liquefaction, and sprinkler leakage) have undergone comprehensive updates, and the model adds two new sub-perils, tsunami and landslide, for a comprehensive view of risk. The updated model also offers an induced seismicity module to capture the effects of human activity on earthquake occurrence. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

“As science and technology advance, new research provides an up-to-date view of earthquakes and related sub-perils, and how those hazards interact with our world,” said Dr. Jayanta Guin, chief research officer at AIR Worldwide. “By incorporating these latest scientific findings into the updated earthquake model for the United States, AIR is offering the most comprehensive and innovative solution for managing seismic risk.”

AIR’s updated model is informed by the latest National Seismic Hazard Maps from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3), and suites of ground motion prediction equations including the Next Generation Attenuation (NGA-West 2) research.

The model also includes an integrated United States and Canada catalog of simulated events that reflects time-dependency in California and along the Cascadia subduction zone, to provide a unified view of risk to portfolios that span the two countries. The model’s induced seismicity module reflects the effects of human activity—especially wastewater injection associated with practices in the oil and natural gas industries—on seismicity rates in regions of the Central and Eastern U.S.

The AIR Earthquake Model for the U.S. features a much enhanced vulnerability module, which has undergone a series of extensive updates, as well as multiple rigorous peer reviews. Building vulnerability is modeled according to the evolution of a variety of building codes that regulate engineered buildings, residential homes, unreinforced masonry construction, and mobile homes, respectively. Code requirements on the ductility of engineered buildings is modeled explicitly for the first time.

“AIR’s overall vulnerability assessment framework is a reasonable approach to a very difficult problem—quantification of building damage due to earthquake ground motions for all of the many different types of buildings that exist in the United States,” said Dr. Charles Kircher, principal at Charles Kircher & Associates. “The framework is a sophisticated combination of several different state-of-the-art technologies that address regional differences and evolution of seismic codes and design practices in the assessment of building vulnerability.”

A new, probabilistic tsunami module is included in the earthquake model update. The tsunami model domain covers the West Coast of the contiguous United States (comprising California, Oregon, and Washington) and includes sources from the West Coast and Cascadia subduction zone to the Aleutian Trench offshore of Alaska. Additionally, damage caused by earthquake-triggered landslides is modeled countrywide for the first time. The model calculates landslide probability and ground displacement combining data on slope, soil strength, water saturation, and ground shaking intensity.

Dr. Guin continued, “The enhanced model provides a more granular and differentiated view of risk for underwriting purposes. Using advanced methodologies and today’s highest quality data available, including lessons learned from recent earthquakes, we have expansively updated the earthquake model for the United States to help insurers account for the full range of earthquake-triggered perils when assessing this complex risk.”

The AIR Earthquake Model for the United States is currently available in the CATRADER® Version 19 and Touchstone® 5.0 catastrophe risk management systems. In addition to new and updated models, Touchstone 5.0 features a variety of enhancements to support more streamlined multi-tasking, and new options for generating and working with loss results.

About AIR Worldwide

AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides catastrophe risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient. AIR founded the catastrophe modeling industry in 1987 and today models the risk from natural catastrophes, terrorism, cyber attacks, and pandemics globally. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR’s advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit



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