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Article | WTW Research Network Newsletter

The Willis Research Network Brochure 2017: Science of Managing Extremes

February 25, 2020

The Willis Research Network is an award-winning collaboration supporting and influencing science to improve the understanding and quantification of risk, with the aim to improve the resilience of our clients and society as a whole.
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In 2006, the re/insurance sector was picking itself up after the unprecedented hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The industry was facing intense questions and challenges from heightened analytical and regulatory demands of natural catastrophe risk. In response, Willis Re, working with academic and industry leaders, created the Willis Research Network. The goal was to integrate public science and re/insurance communities, capabilities and facilities, to scale up and enhance our collective ability to understand, evaluate and manage these extremes, and to provide independent and credible scientific expertise to improve risk decision making across the industry.

It began with fellowships at seven U.K. universities and has since grown to programs and projects across more than fifty science institutions worldwide, working with our re/insurance clients and partners to confront the full spectrum of modeling challenges of this domain. The challenge was to combine high end research, evidenced by hundreds of peer reviewed publications over the years, with practical application and impact for our clients and the wider industry to support secure, resilient and efficient insurance markets.

We have brought just some of these stories together in this ten year anniversary brochure. It is a small sample, and we wish we could have added more, but it provides a set of great examples of how science and industry can work together to drive forward understanding, meet their own needs and make the world a safer place to protect lives, livelihoods and shelter.

For all of us involved, the other benefit has been the rich network of productive and inspiring relationships, some of which are now ten years old. We are also rewarded by the many professional careers that the WRN has propelled during this time, for an emerging generation of talent, now integrated across industry and academia.

Our first ten years is an important milestone and a welcome opportunity to acknowledge and thank all those who have been part of this unique journey over the years: academic members, industry partners and Willis Towers Watson colleagues, past and present, for all their immense support and significant contributions. We are looking forward to our next ten years, building upon our experience and evolving with new demands and environments.

Weather and Climate

  • Cyclone damage potential
  • European windstorm clustering
  • European hail model
  • Applying seasonal forecasts
  • Severe convective storms in the U.S.
  • Windstorm footprints


  • Extreme rainfall
  • Physical flood modelling
  • Tropical cyclone inland flooding


  • Volcanic hazards
  • Earthquake worst case scenarios
  • Japanese tsunami
  • Middle East earthquake model


  • Quantification of risk
  • TRIA reauthorization
  • Casualty catastrophe analytics
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