1st Catastrophe Knowledge Exchange: Are natcat models ready for 2020?

05 Jul 2016

Location: Rüschlikon/Zurich, Switzerland

About the event

  • The event was an opportunity to hear from speakers such as Robert Muir Wood from RMS, Milan Simic of AIR, Dickie Whitaker from Oasis, Mathias Graf of Zurich Insurance and Mark Weatherhead from Guy Carpenter

  • Participants took part in roundtable discussions with natcat modellers to discuss the challenges of existing natcat models and how to improve modelling capabilities

  • Model vendors and scientists were challenged on topics such as open source platforms, losses from catastrophic events, modelling portfolios versus single risks, and unmodelled perils


Uncertainty comes with the territory in the insurance business. Despite our best efforts to gather the right data and build the best models, uncertainty remains a large factor in risk modelling and assessment.

The inaugural Catastrophe Knowledge Exchange, hosted by the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue, sought to improve our understanding of catastrophe risks, highlight the challenges of existing natcat models and identify opportunities to strengthen our natcat modelling capabilities. 

In this highly interactive forum, participants exchanged ideas and challenged the conventional thinking about natcat modelling with the goal of improving our ability to predict the impact of catastrophes before they occur.



Monday 4 July 2016


Apero and Welcome Dinner


Tuesday 5 July 2016


Coffee and networking


Welcome address and opening remarks
Andreas Schraft, Head Cat Perils, Swiss Re


Keynote 1: Joining forces to improve the industry's understanding of catastrophe risks
Anselm Smolka, Senior Advisor and Ex-Secretary General, GEM Foundation


Interactive breakout sessions on opportunities for natcat modelling
1. Open source platforms
Dickie Whitaker, Chief Executive, Oasis Loss Modelling Framework

2. Making smart use of available data
Martin Spörri, Head Info Foundation & Smart Analytics, Swiss Re
Beat Aeberhardt, Head NatCat Tools, Swiss Re

3. How will insured risks change – what will we insure in the future?
Martin Bertogg, Head Property Treaty Globals EMEA, Swiss Re

4. Future improvements in location intelligence
Matthias Künzler, Head Natural Hazards, Mobiliar
Peter Hausmann, Head Cat Perils Europe Hub, Swiss Re

5. CBI/BI – where to go next?
Otto Kocsis, Global Head of Business Resilience Technical Center, Zurich Insurance




Repeat of earlier breakout sessions




Feedback round from morning breakout sessions


Keynote 2: An overview of losses from catastrophic events
Lucia Bevere, Senior Catastrophe Data Analyst, Swiss Re


Interactive breakout sessions on the challenges of existing natcat models

1. Modelling portfolios versus single risks - are cat models focused enough?
Milan Simic, PhD, Executive Vice President, AIR
Yörn Tatge, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, AIR

2. Common misperceptions of models: the uncertainty of tail risk
Mathias Graf, Head of Cat Research & Development, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd

3. The challenges of unmodelled perils
Robert Muir-Wood, Chief Research Officer, RMS

4. What current exposure data doesn't tell us
Mark Weatherhead, Managing Director, Head of Model Development, Guy Carpenter
Balz Grollimund, Head Earthquake, Cat Perils & Treaty Centre, Swiss Re

5. Event definitions – do wordings match models?
Rick Thomas, Executive Director, Willis Re
Caspar Honegger, Head Flood, Swiss Re




Repeat of earlier breakout sessions


Feedback round from afternoon breakout sessions


Wrap up and End
Andreas Schraft, Head Cat Perils, Swiss Re

This event may be photographed, filmed and/ or recorded. A summary of the event, pictures and/or a video of the event in which you may appear may be posted and made available on Swiss Re’s and the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue’s internal and external websites and in printed materials.



Photos by Valeriano Di Domenico



The first ever Catastrophe Knowledge Exchange, held at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue, brought the world's leading natcat modellers together to discuss how to improve their natcat modelling capabilities and to learn from each other. Some key themes emerged - read more about them by clicking on the links below:

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