• Developing global building exposure for disaster forecasting, mitigation, and response
Program Disasters Program
PI / Institution Ronald Eguchi / ImageCat, Inc.
Start Date August 22, 2014
End Date August 21, 2018
  • Summary

    CAT (Catastrophe) models overlay natural hazard physical parameters (e.g., ground motion, flood depth, wind speed) with building exposure data to assess probable loss, allowing insurance companies to price insurance. These models depend on GIS databases to characterize building exposure, but in emerging markets these data are a source of great uncertainty because they are typically incomplete and inaccurate. CAT modelers must infill missing information with crude default values that vary in quality from one region to another. Our Stage 1 feasibility assessment indicates that NASA EO data can provide a product that significantly increases the utility of CAT models in developing countries. The project team has reached out to leaders from the insurance industry and global risk management community, including Lloyd¿s of London, The World Bank, Guy Carpenter Reinsurance Broker, Mitsui Sumitomo Ltd, Catlin Insurance Ltd and the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, all of whom have committed to assessing the commercial viability of an EO-based Global Exposure Database (GED) by testing preliminary results in their decision-making workflows. Our current assessment of ARL is 3. Working with our partners in Stage 2, we will develop a GED with NASA EO data that will achieve ARL between 6 and 8, depending on integration requirements for the decision-making platform. CAT models with reliable exposure data provide a more comprehensive basis for pricing insurance and assessing risk that will a) help transform the way with which to measure, monitor and assess the vulnerability of communities globally, and b) provide the basis for insuring investments in developing economies thus stimulating responsible economic growth leading to a more disaster-resilient world. The GED is applicable to multiple hazards and represents the culmination of a 15-year effort by the project team to bring NASA EO data to the insurance industry, and has a high likelihood of success.