Risk Prediction Initiative 2.0 Hosts RMS Conference

Falk Niehörster

At the intersection of oceanographic science and the (re)insurance industry stands the Risk Prediction Initiative (RPI), founded in 1995 by a group of local Bermudian insurers and reinsurers and BIOS.

Over the past 16 years, RPI has formed an extensive network of world-renowned climate scientists–including Program Manager since 1995, Dr. Rick Murnane–who have used their expertise in areas such as climate change, ocean currents, and ocean-atmosphere interactions (to name a few) to more accurately estimate the frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes, including tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Combined with more than a decade of experience regarding the needs of the (re)insurance industry, RPI stands as one of the major players in science-based risk prediction for the (re)insurance industry.

During that time, however, the (re)insurance industry has changed greatly, as has the science that informs RPI’s products and services. Dr. Falk Niehörster, mathematician and climate modeler, is tasked with breathing new life into RPI. As the full-time, Bermuda-based Project Manager of the new and improved RPI–or RPI2.0–Dr. Niehörster is committed to rolling out a new business model that more effectively translates science into smarter business decisions for its members.

Dr. Niehörster hails from the London School of Economics where he contributed to the Munich Re Project and worked at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment chaired by Lord Nichols Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics and Climate Change. His expertise in providing reliable information for risk management, adaptation, and mitigation dovetail with his background in system theory and decision making under (deep) uncertainty to provide unparalleled insight into risk prediction and extreme events.

As Project Manager, Dr. Niehörster is careful to emphasize the fundamental differences between RPI2.0 and the original RPI. Prime among these is that, while RPI2.0 continues to fund basic research on the impacts of climate change on catastrophe risk, it is refocusing its efforts on seasonal to five-year (medium term) timeframes, thereby providing its members with a strategic horizon that can be more successfully utilized in (re)insurance applications and decision-making processes.

Dr. Niehörster emphasizes that his role in RPI2.0 is to help establish the Risk Prediction Initiative as a risk clearinghouse for the (re)insurance industry on the island, as well as to strengthen the Bermuda (re)insurance market by showing leadership in science-based catastrophic risk prediction and management. He also notes that RPI2.0 aims to become the independent expert to provide advice for the (re)insurance industry on how to use and interpret diverse commercial risk models.

To this end, RPI2.0 and BIOS hosted a workshop for RPI2.0 members on the medium-term outlook for the frequency of hurricane landfalls in the RMS v11.0 risk model on March 21st and 22nd. The workshop featured RMS scientists presenting details on medium-term landfall frequencies in the new RMS v11.0 model. An invited panel of independent world-class scientists then had the opportunity to discuss the implications of the RMS approach, with the goal of elucidating new avenues for research to be addressed by RPI2.0-funded research projects.

For more information on how to become a member organization of RPI2.0, the benefits of joining, or for details on the March workshop, please contact Dr. Falk Niehörster at falk.niehoerster@bios.edu.