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22 May 2013
New Zealand scientists are working on software to help insurers better predict property damage, business interruption and casualty losses in the event of future earthquakes.
The RiskScape software is targeted at emergency managers, insurers, planners and anyone who has an interest in risk management.
It was developed by New Zealand earthquake monitor GNS Science and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
RiskScape considers a range of hazards including flood, earthquake, wind, tsunami and volcanic ash.
Although the software is still being refined, GNS Science says the company is set to provide the prototype to potential end-users for feedback. It is licensing the software free for two months.
NZ Society of Earthquake Engineers Executive Officer Win Clark says RiskScape will “give authorities the understanding of the hazard and the risk” and allow them to find potential problems in planning and resilience.
“Where do you put a fire station? Where do you put a hospital? It will help to find where vulnerabilities are and make sure money is being spent to get the best return,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean says the software “helps us know where the most damage is going to occur – like where the old buildings are”.
“Every piece of data we can get hold of is useful in an earthquake,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
Wellington is regarded as New Zealand’s largest earthquake risk, and Mr MacLean says the software will be particularly useful in planning the location of emergency bases and “prioritising the opening of main streets throughout the city”.
GNS Science Natural Hazards Risk Assessment Specialist Nicolas Pondard told insuranceNEWS.com.au the software will also help insurers understand “the geographical concentrations of natural hazard risks and how these could impact business strategy”.
He says it could also help in assessing exposures, which would assist in premium negotiations.
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