Willis Re launches flood model for the MENA region

Willis Re has launched a new flood model which it claims is the first of its kind to be developed for the region for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Currently the model covers Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with further releases for Oman, Qatar and Egypt during the third and fourth quarter of 2021.

This model was developed through the collaboration of Willis Re’s in-house peril experts with leading flood specialists, KatRisk, and resources from the Willis Research Network (WRN). The latest flood hazard layers and loss aggregation methodologies are used to generate location level losses as well as portfolio outputs for a 50,000-year simulation period.

The main business applications of the MENA flood cat model include:

  • Structuring and pricing reinsurance layers for purchasing suitable protection
  • Assessing capital adequacy and responding to regulatory solvency requirements
  • Portfolio management and optimisation
  • Responding to rating agency requests

According to Willis Re, floods are relatively common in the MENA region. Damage from floods can come from pluvial and fluvial flooding, with fluvial flooding being more predictable due to proximity to river networks. Pluvial flooding is more unpredictable due to the arid desert environment which after intense rainfall may cause runoff and flash floods, particularly in urban areas where the soil is covered by impermeable man-made surfaces.

This arid environment, combined with Wadis (dry riverbeds), channels water after intense precipitation and causes unpredictable and localised flooding, with the potential to cause important economic and insured losses.

Willis Re added that such floods are likely to impact the lower return periods of the exceedance probability curve, therefore impacting (re)insurers profitability and making it more and more vital for (re)insurers to mitigate this profit volatility by modelling the risk.

Natalie van de Coolwijk, CEO, Middle East and Africa for Willis Re, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce the addition of the MENA flood model to our toolkit.  Continued commitment to our clients and the region requires us to enhance our capabilities relating to the more tangible and frequently observed perils.”

“These capabilities will only become more relevant as the landscape evolves and the effects of climate change become more apparent,” she added. “Building a more robust view of risk for perils such as flood means we can tailor fit-for-future reinsurance programmes for our clients and more scientifically quantify impact on claims and reinsurance costs.  Being able to give clients more comfort and certainty around reinsurance cover and costs is at the core of our purpose, ultimately contributing towards a better protected and more resilient insurance industry.”

Dr Tina Thomson, regional director and head of Catastrophe Analytics EMEA West-South for Willis Re commented: “The newly developed MENA Flood Model is Willis Re’s response to a (re)insurance industry ever more focused on the need to understand and fully manage risk, exposure, and climate change effects on business, even in geographical areas traditionally not serviced by commercially available cat models.”

For more detail please go to https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en-EG/Insights/2021/09/the-first-mena-flood-model-specific-to-the-region

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