‘EuroTempest’ Introduced to Forecast Potential Windstorm Damage

January 6, 2006

A team in the U.K. has produced a new wind damage prediction tool called EuroTempest, designed to provide local damage forecasts for European windstorms.

An announcement on the Lloyd’s Website (www.lloyds.com) notes that the new model represents a joint effort “by insurers, reinsurers, loss modelers and extreme weather forecasting experts from Benfield, Royal & SunAlliance, GE Insurance Solutions and the Meteorological Hazards & Seasonal Forecasting research team from the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London.”

The need for more accurate predictions became even more apparent following Windstorm Erwin, which hit Northern Europe from January 7-9 last year, causing $1.5 billion in damages, mainly in Denmark, Sweden and the U.K.

Lloyd’s explained that “European windstorms are severe extra-tropical cyclones which usually form in the North Atlantic during winter and track towards northwest Europe. After U.S. hurricanes, European winter windstorms rank as the next most expensive cause of global insured losses, with windstorms Daria (1990), Lothar (1999), Vivian (1990) and the October 1987 storm ranking 7th, 8th, 12th and 13th on the list of most costly global insurance losses since 1970, according to Swiss Re.”

Professor Mark Saunders, Technical Director of EuroTempest and Head of Meteorological Hazards & Seasonal Forecasting at Benfield Hazard Research Centre described the new model as “a warning service, providing insurers and reinsurers with advance forecasts up to five days before a windstorm to help them to predict potential wind damage and windstorm losses down to postcode level.”

“EuroTempest covers seven European countries: the U.K., Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands, which are among those most frequently affected by windstorm losses,” said Lloyd’s bulletin. “It also includes warnings for the severity and timing of high windspeeds in all other European countries, using windspeed and pressure forecasts from the U.K. Met Office’s numerical weather prediction models, combined with in-house research and modeling.”

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