RMS releases US wildfire HD model

RMS has released its US Wildfire High Definition Model, designed to address the pressing need for more granular analytics of wildfire risk across the 48 contiguous American states.

Until now, the industry has relied on inadequate zoning and mapping products to evaluate wildfire risk. Recent cat events have highlighted many deficiencies in these tools, including the failure to account for structural vulnerabilities, the inability to highlight areas susceptible to urban conflagrations, the coarse resolution and the lack of probabilistic insight.

The RMS US Wildfire HD Model captures the full impact of wildfire at high resolution to enable an advanced understanding of the complex behaviours that characterise fire spread, ember accumulation and smoke dispersion. Simulating over 18 million wildfires across the contiguous US, the new model supports a comprehensive approach to underwriting and portfolio management.

“The past five years have demonstrated that the industry needs better ways to manage their wildfire risk comprehensively: for underwriting, for reinsurance purchasing, and for capital management,” said senior director of product management at RMS, Chris Folkman.

“After three consecutive seasons with major cat events, it’s clear that wildfire needs to be treated more like a peak peril and less like a simple matter of attritional loss. Wildfire risk has a steep gradient, where different houses in the same neighbourhood can have drastically different risk profiles. We’re confident our analytics can equip property writers to price, underwrite, and deploy capital with precision – for any contiguous US location.”

Since 2014, devastating wildfires have led to more than US$30bn in claims and five of the 10 most destructive wildfires ever have occurred in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

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