Willis Research Network Teams to Study Quakes with Italy’s EUCENTRE

June 17, 2008

The Willis Research Network (WRN), part of Willis Group Holdings Limited, announced that the EUCENTRE in Pavia has joined its network to enhance the quality of the earthquake research and modeling it offers to the international re-insurance industry.

Willis described EUCENTRE as “Europe’s largest earthquake research facility, ” which “incorporates the renowned ROSE School of postgraduate seismic research and engineering at the University of Pavia.”

Italy is becoming a focus for Willis’ disaster research. The international broker announced a partnership on Friday, June 13, with the University of Bologna to include the institution’s flood research as part of more a robust risk modeling offering for its clients (See IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2008/06/13/90944.htm).

“Dr. Rui Pinho becomes a Senior Academic within the WRN,” said the bulletin. He is the Head of the Seismic Risk Section of EUCENTRE and Assistant Professor of Structural Design in the Department of Structural Mechanics at the University of Pavia.

“Dr. Pinho’s main research interests include the evaluation of earthquake risk at urban or regional scale and the development of advanced analytical tools for analysis of structures subjected to seismic action,” said Willis. “He will be joined by other members of the EUCENTRE and ROSE School Faculty, including Dr Helen Crowley, to refine new techniques for use in earthquake catastrophe models.”

Willis also explained that the team in Pavia would be supported by “Willis-funded Ph.D. students jointly supervised by Dr Pinho and Professor Julian Bommer of WRN member, Imperial College London.

“At the WRN Seismic Group meeting held in Pavia to mark the EUCENTRE’s entry into the Network, Dr Pinho presented new research into the 1908 Messina earthquake, Europe’s most powerful earthquake in recorded history. One hundred years after the event, Dr Pinho showed how a similar event today could result in 25,000 fatalities and widespread economic losses and social breakdown.”

In addition Pavia’s EUCENTRE “features the most powerful earthquake simulator, or ‘shaking table’ in Europe and the WRN meeting coincided with the EUCENTRE performing a shaking table test of a multi-story building as part of its ongoing experimental research program aimed at verifying the efficiency and reliability of the Italian rules for seismic assessment.”

Rowan Douglas, Chairman of the WRN, noted that “Pavia is becoming a powerhouse of seismic research at a global scale. What Professor Michele Calvi, Director of the EUCENTRE, Dr Pinho and the rest of the team are building here is quite extraordinary. We are delighted that their energy and influence is now a part of the WRN and that it can be applied to challenges seismic risk assessment for the international insurance industry.”

Source: Willis Group Holdings – www.willis.com

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