AIR Updates Earthquake Model for Japan

AIR Worldwide also validated damage functions for all four earthquake perils (shake, tsunami, liquefaction, fire following) against individual claims from the Great Tohoku quake and found wood construction is more vulnerable than previously considered.

AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe modeling firm, announced it has updated its Earthquake Model for Japan to include insights gained from the Great Tohoku earthquake of March 2011. The document takes into account losses due to tsunamis, liquefaction, ground shaking, and fire -- the four earthquake perils.

"AIR seismologists undertook an intensive re-examination of information from various sources, including physical and statistical models that calculate how the Tohoku rupture affected stress accumulation on nearby faults," said Dr. Jayanta Guin, senior vice president of research and modeling at the company. "The Tohoku event had important implications for our understanding of seismic risk in Japan and has also highlighted the importance of explicitly modeling earthquake-associated perils like tsunami and liquefaction. Going far beyond simply revising rupture occurrence probabilities in the existing model, AIR's updated model reflects a new understanding of the complex network of plate boundaries and crustal faults that underlie the Japanese archipelago."

AIR validated separate damage functions across all lines of business, including personal accident, marine hull and cargo, and complex industrial facilities, for the four perils, and the data revealed wood construction is be more vulnerable than previously considered, according to the company, which reports most residential structures in Japan still are made of wood. The updated model is available in AIR's Touchstone™, CLASIC/2™, and CATRADER® platforms.

"The Tohoku earthquake triggered new research in the seismological community, which AIR has closely followed," Guin said. "This update incorporates those new findings into a robust, scientifically sound, and extensively validated model, providing clients with a forward-looking view of earthquake risk assessment in Japan."

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