Willis in Thames Flood Study

Risk experts from the Willis Research Network will work with The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK Government’s agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, on a joint PhD program to assess flood risks on the Thames

The funding for the “Thames Gateway Flood Risk” project began in October. The supervision for the PhD program will be jointly shared between Dr. Diane Horn, of the School of Geography at Birkbeck College, and insurance risk experts from Willis Analytics.

Willis noted that the “award was given for an industrial CASE (Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) studentship, which can be on any topic within the engineering and physical sciences. This particular PhD will focus on providing improved quantification of possible frequency and severity of insured flood losses in the Thames Gateway.”

The decision comes after the devastating floods in parts of the UK in June, which, Willis noted, has made “this field of research is highly relevant in today’s uncertain environment.”

In addition concerns about flooding and the management of flood risk in the Thames Gateway have increased in recent years, Willis indicated, “due to the location of insured assets in flood risk areas and the possibility of increasing losses. In particular, the insurance industry requires detailed information as to the impact of catastrophic floods, potential risk to the Thames Gateway and how planning strategies will affect future insurance vulnerability.”

Matthew Foote, Research Director, Willis Research Network explained: “The research project represents an innovative approach to applying analytical techniques for insurance risk assessment to the specific issues of future flooding in the Thames Gateway. By linking this research to the internationally renowned flood expertise of the Willis Research Network, we hope it will complement work being undertaken by national agencies and provide a specific focus on quantifying risk in an area of significant economic importance to the UK.”

Dr Horn called the project “an ideal case study site, as it is geographically contained, with a clear and defined risk and the potential for large losses in the future. According to the Government’s Communities Plan, 160,000 new homes will be built in the Thames Gateway area by 2016 and this research will help to inform current approaches to flood risk management.”

Source: Willis – www.willis.com