Catastrophe Modeling

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Catastrophe Modeling
CatModeling is a rigorous probabilistic approach to the study of natural disasters, and their consequences. Recent trends have seen CatModeling applied beyond natural disasters, to rare events like financial crises, political unrest, and pandemics.

“Catastrophe Modeling” (or “CatModeling”) is a science born in the insurance sector to indicate a rigorous probabilistic approach to study natural disasters and their consequences. When insuring against rare events, it is not possible to base premiums on statistics of historical claims, which is how traditional actuarial science operates. Instead, accurate physics-based and mechanistic models integrate the limited available data, while accounting for the uncertainties. Recent trends see CatModeling applied beyond natural disasters, to infrequent events like epidemics, financial crises, and political unrest.
The insurance sector plays two crucial roles to support our communities (1) before disasters occur, it facilitates risk communication, providing immediate monetary value to retrofit and mitigation interventions, in the form of lower premiums or access to more policies, and (2) after disasters it is responsible for a growing share of the financial resources that fuel recovery.

The sector is experiencing strong growth, and our graduate students with competence in this field are aggressively pursued by the industry. Our team has worked on this topic since 2015, focusing on natural disasters and epidemics, and established a “CatModeling Coordination Network” centered at Lehigh.

Goals of the CatModeling Group
  1. Continue to advance world-class research on resilience of interdependent infrastructure systems against natural disasters.
  2. Continue to advance world-class research on CatModeling of epidemics.
  3. Expand the scientific conversation on insurance equity.
  4. Train the workforce of this exploding sector for which there is currently no degree program.

Research Focus Area
  • PRAISys (Probabilisic Resilience Assessment of Interdependent Systems)
    Addressing stochastic interdependencies among infrastructure systems in resilience analysis. Learn more >
  • Flood Hazards
    CatModeling for the estimation of loss caused by flood hazards. Learn more >
  • Epidemics
    A framework for predicting where and when an Ebola outbreak is likely to appear. Learn more >

Research Focus Group Members

Selected collaborators at other institutions
  • Jack Baker, Stanford University
  • Javier Buceta, Institute for Integrative Systems Bioloogy, Spain
  • Vasileios Christou, Fermat Capital Management
  • Diana Mitsova-Boneva, Florida Atlantic University
  • Jamie Padgett, Rice University
  • Keivan Ronkeddin, AIG General Insurance
  • Alka Sapat, Florida Atlantic University