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Article | WTW Research Network Newsletter

The Willis Research Network Brochure 2019: 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.
Risk & Analytics|Corporate Risk Tools and Technology
Climate Risk and Resilience|Geopolitical Risk|Climate and Resilience Hub

After a decade of relative calm, hurricanes revisited North America and the Caribbean with a vengeance over the last two storm seasons: Harvey, Irma, Maria in 2017, then Florence and Michael wrought unprecedented destruction in 2018, and as I write, a category 4 storm, Willa, bears down on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Elsewhere droughts brought macro-economic impacts in Argentina and Australia; extreme floods affected southern India; wildfires ravaged world-wide, Europe was reminded of heat stress, and a summer of extreme events which ended with Super Typhoon Jebi stretched even Japan’s high levels of resilience. The recent IPCC report on risks of 1.5 C global mean temperature rise has reiterated the impending and strategic threats faced by many regions, economies and communities, now, and in the coming decades.

Our review of the 12th year of the Willis Research Network includes some of our extensive work with academic partners on weather and climate risks that will lie at the heart of understanding and managing these growing challenges. 2019 will see a renewed international emphasis on adaption and resilience to physical climate risks - complementing mitigation and low carbon transition priorities - driven through processes such as the G20 FSB Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures and culminating at a special UN Summit with Heads of Government in September. The hard won lessons and capabilities of climate and risk modelling from the re/insurance sector and our evolving technical landscape will play a key role in informing and delivering on the policy and commercial responses that are required. The Willis Research Network, with the Risk Modelling Steering Group of the Insurance Development Forum, is operating at the very heart of these promising developments.

This digest also covers examples from wider areas of our research funding including earthquakes and tsunami, quantifying political risks and developing tractable frameworks for understanding and evaluating systemic risks, scenarios and interdependencies. We hope you enjoy the reading across this wide spectrum as much as we have enjoyed compiling it.

The Willis Research Network was founded in 2006 and it is a pleasure to be part of an initiative that has had a sustained impact over many years. Its success and reputation have been driven by long-term relationships and commitments based on a shared mission and mutual respect across public, private and academic sectors. It is a distinctive platform to confront the even larger and more complex risk challenges we will need to address in the future.

On behalf of my Willis Towers Watson colleagues our thanks to all our academic members and industry partners for their collective contributions over the last year and my own thanks to the Willis Research Network Steering Group and management team for their focus and efforts during 2018. We look forward to another significant year of research, collaboration and impact in 2019.

Weather and Climate Risks

  • Medium Range Hail and Tornado Forecasting, and Longer Term Trends
  • Modelling Tropical Cyclone Landfalling Rates
  • Understanding the Impacts of Storminess on the Fishing Industry

Flood Risks

  • A Flood Model Evaluation Framework
  • FUTURE-STORMS Collaboration

Earth Risks

  • Middle East and North Africa Earthquake Model
  • Destructive Megathrust Earthquakes in 3D
  • Sequential Earthquake and Tsunami Fragility of Buildings
  • Multi-Hazard Vulnerability Assessment of High-Rise Steel Structures

People Risks

  • Understanding and Quantifying Political Risk

Emerging Risks

  • Impact of Systemic Risks
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