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Press Release

WTW Research Network announces new mathematical modelling collaboration with the London Mathematical Laboratory

February 14, 2024

New agreement will inform the use of mathematical modelling for insurance, to help mitigate natural catastrophe risk

LONDON, February 14, 2024 — WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, today announced a new collaboration between its WTW Research Network and the London Mathematical Laboratory to better inform decision-making through catastrophe models. The lead academic partner for the research, Professor Erica Thompson, is a global leader in the application of mathematical models to support real-world decisions.

Professor Thompson is known for her research* into understanding how models are created and used, focused on establishing criteria to strengthen their effectiveness. The London Mathematical Laboratory is partnering with WTW to apply this innovative research and insights to natural catastrophe models, which are used extensively in the insurance sector. This collaboration is especially crucial in a market environment where the reliance on models for quantifying climate-related risks is intensifying. Her expertise will be instrumental in helping WTW’s clients better understand the catastrophe models they are using for decision-making in a dynamic risk landscape.

Professor Thompson has a unique focus on the technical, commercial and regulatory pressures behind model creation. While WTW’s competitors explore model outcomes, examining the decisions made during model development and calibration is less common. This novel perspective can provide insights into the often opaque process of how models that influence business strategies are created and evaluated.

Cameron Rye, Head of Modelling Research and Innovation, WTW Research Network, said “Catastrophe models have been used by insurers for 30 years to inform insurance pricing and risk management. When there is a gap between what models tell us and what we observe in the real-world, it often prompts criticism of the models. But if we focus on how models are built and evaluated, could this lead to better decision-making? Professor Thompson’s research will help catastrophe and climate modelers at WTW better understand the strengths and limits of our modeling tools, and ultimately allow us to give better advice to our clients”.

Professor Erica Thompson, said “Model evaluation is a key task both for model-builders and for model users, and the bottom line for model evaluation is not whether it happens to do well on arbitrary performance metrics but whether it actually helps to inform better decisions. I’m excited about working with WTW to look at how to understand the quality and usefulness of models used for insurance decision-making and how to ensure that we get the most out of these advanced tools.“

*Prof. Thompson’s recent book, Escape from Model Land, was described by the Wall Street Journal as a “contemplative, densely encapsulated summary” on the role of mathematical models in modern society.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

About London Mathematical Laboratory (LML)

LML is an institute for scientific research based in West London. We provide a space to think about problems deeply. We’re interested in ideas that matter but are difficult to study elsewhere. We challenge boundaries between scientific fields and between science, art, and other human endeavours. We have active research programmes in ergodicity economics, informing decisions with models, and data science for social good. Find out more at London Mathematical Laboratory.

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