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24 May 2013
Catastrophe risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide has released its first probabilistic bushfire model for Australia and updated its local tropical cyclone and earthquake models.
The AIR Bushfire Model for Australia captures the effects of bushfires on insured properties on the mainland and in Tasmania.
To determine the occurrence and severity of bushfires, the model considers fire ignition, frequency and location, available vegetation to act as fuel, weather including seasonal conditions and wind characteristics, topography (the ground surface features that can affect winds) and fire suppression efforts.
Jayanta Guin, Senior VP of Research and Modelling at AIR Worldwide, says many populated areas in Australia have conditions that are ideal for feeding fires.
“Australia has suffered significant losses from such events – including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, which caused insured losses of more than $1.3 billion,” she said.
The bushfire model, which AIR says has been through an extensive peer review process, filters around 10,000 ignitions that occur in Australia every year down to those that are likely to cause property loss. This is around 12, based on historical averages.
It simulates fires in the locations where they are most likely to occur, models the tendency of fires to occur in clusters and supports a wide range of construction types commonly found in Australia.
AIR Worldwide has also updated all components of its Australian tropical cyclone and earthquake models.
The updated models now account for regional differences in construction practices, as well as building code evolution and enforcement. Both models also feature property and business interruption losses to complex industrial facilities.
“AIR’s current suite of Australia models represents the results of a multi-year research effort aimed at serving the evolving risk management needs of the worldwide and Australian insurance industries,” Dr Guin said.
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