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Willis Research Network Wins Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize

Staff Writer | November 30, 2016

The Willis Research Network was named the 2016 winner of the Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize in the category of Natural Hazards.

The winning paper, written by Dr. Ben Youngman and David Stephenson of the University of Exeter, “A Geostatistical Extreme-value Framework for Fast Simulation of Natural Hazard Events” was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, and presents a statistical method for simulating natural hazard events. The method combines extreme value theory and geostatistics to produce a model that reliably captures extremes of a natural hazard process over space.

The judging panel, comprising experts from academia and insurance, praised the analysis and research of the entry and said the paper added directly to insurers’ knowledge. As highlighted by the judges, the need to understand and evaluate risk is a key area of interest for insurers, and they felt that the work presented was potentially useful for benchmarking and validation, and could increase the understanding of risk.

Lloyd’s is the world’s specialist insurance market with a history of risk management spanning more than 300 hundred years. The Science of Risk prize was launched in 2010 to stimulate cutting edge thinking into the latest emerging risks facing business. It rewards the best academic research in risk management. The 2016 awards focused on two categories, natural hazards and systems modelling, accepting entries with specific focus on relevance to the insurance industry a key judging criterion.

“It’s been great working with Willis Towers Watson on this project, and for our research and statistics, to be recognized by receiving the Lloyd’s prize,” says Youngman, lead author and Willis Research Network Fellow. “We now hope that our work proves useful in various aspects of reinsurance.”

This is the second recognition for the Willis Research Network at the Lloyd’s Science of Risk awards, following success in 2012 supporting research undertaken at the University of Bristol, which provided a blueprint for a new generation of flood models.

Geoff Saville, Willis Research Network Atmospheric Hub leader, says, “We, at Willis Towers Watson, are pleased to see industry recognition for this work. The research projects supported by the Willis Research Network are designed to be at the same time innovative, academically interesting, and applicable to real-world insurance activities—and this paper certainly fits the bill.”


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