RMS Releases First High Res Earthquake Model For Ins. Risk in Israel

July 15, 2003

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) nnounced the release of the RMS Israel Earthquake model. This model is the first to offer both high resolution and aggregate analysis capabilities for insurance and reinsurance risk management. The model combines comprehensive information on earthquake hazard with detailed analysis of Israeli building vulnerability to quantify potential earthquake losses.

To develop estimates of earthquake hazard in Israel, RMS worked closely with Israeli experts including the Geophysical Institute of Israel to compile a record of historical events spanning more than 2000 years. This catalog, combined with scientific research on active faults, provides the basis for understanding both the geographic distribution of earthquakes and their probabilities. Geotechnical data was also compiled for the entire country at postal code resolution.

The Dead Sea Rift fault system is the most important contributor to earthquake risk in Israel, running from north to south along the eastern edge of the country. The Jordan Valley segment of the Dead Sea Rift is particularly relevant because of its proximity to major cities and the high probability of generating a major earthquake.

“Based on what we know from the historical catalog, the Jordan Valley Fault generates earthquakes of magnitudes as high as 7 approximately every 1,000 years,” said Dr. Fouad Bendimerad, vice president of RMS. “The last major earthquake on this segment occurred in 1033, increasing the current probability of a major event.”

The most recent damaging event in Israel was a magnitude 7.1 offshore event in 1995 that occurred 70 km south of the city of Elat. While this event provides some relevant data on building damage and ground motion, it was located far to the south of Israel’s main populated regions. To make up for the scarcity of damage experience, RMS worked with Israeli experts to compile detailed information on construction characteristics, building code implementation, and vulnerability relationships. The vulnerability relationships were validated using damage data from the 1995 event, supplemented by data from earthquakes in countries with similar construction characteristics.

RMS will hold a seminar about the new Israel Earthquake model at the London Underwriting Centre on July 24 for members of the insurance industry. Advance registration is required. For more information on the seminar, www.rms.com.

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