AIR Worldwide Expands Global Pandemic Model to Include 6 Additional Diseases

July 26, 2016

Boston-based catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) announced it has expanded its Global Pandemic Model to include outbreaks of six additional diseases.

The model now explicitly accounts for nine pathogens, including bacterial and viral diseases, in addition to previously modeled influenza, coronaviruses (such as those responsible for SARS and MERS), and filoviruses (including Ebola and Marburg).

AIR also announced that the World Bank Group has selected AIR to model the innovative new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF).

“Large-scale infectious disease pandemics can cause millions of deaths and billions-or even trillions-of dollars in economic and insured losses,” said Doug Fullam, senior manager of life and health modeling at AIR Worldwide, which is a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics.

“The possible frequency and scale of these perils are shifting as global connectivity grows, animal habitats alter, medical advancements continue, the population ages, and the climate changes. It’s important to assess the potential risk to today’s life and health portfolios,” Fullam added.

The AIR Global Pandemic Model update includes the addition of two pathogens from the Bunyaviridae viral family [Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV)], Lassa (hemorrhagic) fever (LHF) from the Arenaviridae viral family, and bacterial-pathogens-associated cholera (Vibrio cholera), plague (Yersinia pestis), and meningococcal meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis).

All simulated outbreaks in the AIR model can originate anywhere in the world, and AIR models the impact to 24,000 municipalities covering all corners of the world, the company said in a statement.

World Bank’s Financing Facility

AIR also announced that it is collaborating with the World Bank on the expected launch of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), a fast-disbursing global financing mechanism designed to protect the world against deadly pandemics.

The PEF includes an insurance window, which combines funding from the reinsurance and/or insurance-linked securities markets, as well as a complementary cash window, said AIR. This is expected to be the first time the World Bank issues a financial instrument to combat infectious diseases. According to the World Bank, in the event of an outbreak, the PEF is expected to release funds quickly to countries and qualified international responding agencies.

“The analytic structure and modeling are the bedrock of risk-transfer programs like the PEF,” said Priya Basu, manager, Development Finance, World Bank. “We’re confident that AIR Worldwide’s analytical and execution capabilities can help ensure that funds mobilized by the PEF are able to help prevent rare, high-severity outbreaks from becoming more deadly and costly pandemics.”

“Modeling plays a crucial role in developing a facility such as the PEF,” Fullam continued. “Emerging infectious diseases pose some of the biggest threats to the life and health of people around the globe, and AIR models can help organizations anticipate the drivers of mortality and morbidity risk to facilitate optimal risk management, risk transfer, and risk mitigation decisions to help them better prepare financially and, more important, on a humanitarian level.”

The Global Pandemic Model is currently available in the CATRADER® Version 18 catastrophe risk management software.

Source: AIR Worldwide (AIR)

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