AIR's NWP-based European Extratropical Cyclone Model Used to Assess Risk to European Exposures
BOSTON, June 15, 2004 AIR Worldwide Corporation (AIR) today announced it has performed the risk modeling and analysis in support of a private placement by Helix 04 Limited, a Bermuda special-purpose exempted company. The five-year, $100 million transaction provides catastrophe cover to Converium Ltd. for potential losses from European windstorm, U.S. earthquake, U.S. and Caribbean hurricane and Japanese earthquake. Aon Capital Markets underwrote the transaction and placed the notes. Helix follows on from but is broader than Trinom, a catastrophe bond launched in 2001 that was also modeled by AIR.
By means of a counterparty contract the transaction provides Converium Ltd.'s Bermuda branch with protection against the occurrence of second and subsequent events in four peril regions. A significant amount of these exposures are in Europe, a region subject to severe winter windstorms, more technically referred to as extratropical cyclones. Helix's European windstorm risk was analyzed using AIR's European Extratropical Cyclone model. The model incorporates the latest advances in AIR's Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) capabilities, a forecasting methodology used by all major meteorological agencies around the world.
"AIR's NWP-based model operates at the highest degree of resolution possible in analyzing windstorm risk for European exposures. NWP constructs a more realistic picture of European windstorm evolution than statistical models and more accurately depicts the time-dependent, three-dimensional structure of the winds associated with these storms," said S. Ming Lee, senior vice president at AIR Worldwide. "The model's combination of NWP and country-specific damage functions provides increased accuracy in modeled losses."
Trinom and Helix are the first risk-linked securities to be modeled using NWP, which incorporates comprehensive environmental physics and sophisticated computational techniques to simulate a full range of atmospheric phenomena. AIR's implementation of NWP captures multiple high-pressure ridges, low-pressure troughs, fronts, and strong jet-stream winds that interact to produce the most damaging winds within European windstorms.
AIR's engineering team combined on-site analysis with loss data from actual storms to develop the damage estimation component of the AIR European Extratropical Cyclone model. Variations in historical storm experience have prompted different construction techniques and building practices across the region. AIR engineers have taken these variations into account, developing separate damage functions for each modeled country and, where appropriate, for different regions within countries.
Helix marks the first time AIR's Japan earthquake and Caribbean hurricane models have been used to assess risk for catastrophe bonds. Other models used in the analysis included AIR's U.S. hurricane and earthquake models. Analyses were conducted using AIR's CLASIC/2TM and CATRADER® software applications.
About AIR Worldwide Corporation
AIR Worldwide Corporation (AIR) is a leading risk modeling company helping clients manage the financial impact of catastrophes and weather. Utilizing the latest science and technology, AIR models natural catastrophes in more than 40 countries and the risk from terrorism in the United States. Other areas of expertise include site-specific seismic engineering analysis, catastrophe bonds and property replacement cost valuation. A member of the ISO family of companies, AIR was founded in 1987 to provide its insurance, reinsurance, corporate and government clients a complete line of risk modeling software and consulting services that produce consistent and reliable results. Headquartered in Boston, AIR has additional offices in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.air-worldwide.com.
Mike Gannon (AIR)