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​Case Studies of Financial Decision-Making using Near–Real-time Post-Earthquake Information

Published on: 09-Apr-2019

Event Type: Seminar
Event Date: 9 April 2019 - 1:00pm
Venue: LT19 in North Spine: Basement 2, N2. Use lift (N2-2) / (N2-1)
Speaker: Dr. David Wald

About the speaker:

Dr. Wald is a Seismologist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado, and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the School of Mines (CSM). Wald is involved in research, development and operations of real-time information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center. He developed and manages “ShakeMap”, “Did You Feel it?”, and is responsible for developing other systems for post-earthquake response and pre-earthquake mitigation, including ShakeCast and PAGER.

Wald earned his B.S. in Physics and Geology at St. Lawrence University, an M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics at Caltech. Previously at Caltech, and now at the CSM, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students’ research projects. His own scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex earthquakes; analysis of ground motions and site effects; and modeling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and shaking-based losses. Wald has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer a BSSA’s Associate Editor, and he served on the Society’s Board of Directors. He served on the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Board of Directors, as Associate Editor for Earthquake Spectra, and was EERI’s 2014 Distinguished Lecturer. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010, and their Meritorious Service Award in 2016.

About the event:

In the immediate aftermath of a damaging earthquake, billions of dollars of relief, recovery, and insurance funds are in the balance through new financial instruments that allow those with resources to hedge against disasters and those at risk to limit their earthquake losses and receive funds for response and recovery. Many of these mechanisms, such as catastrophe bonds (catbonds), have come to rely on near-realtime (NRT; typically minutes to a few hours) earthquake information that allows those affected by the consequences of a disaster to quickly access financial capital. NRT products had been routinely used for situational awareness, to support response and facilitate aid, and as such they should also be of interest to those in the earthquake hazard and risk community. Such financial strategies can have significant benefit for stakeholders: They facilitate risk transfer, foster sensible management of risk portfolios, and assist in disaster response and recovery.

Yet, making funds available for at-risk populations also provides opportunities for investors who benefit from financial diversification. We will discuss the general categories of post-earthquake financial decision-making that benefit from detailed NRT earthquake hazard input: (1) Rapid damage assessments that guide disaster response and aid deployment; (2) estimation of monetary loss to a portfolio of industrial, commercial, or residential exposures to guide the claims adjustment process; and (3) the triggering of so-called parametric transactions—insurance instruments that rely on the physical measurement of event characteristics to determine if the insured party receives compensation and how much. In this presentation I will focus on the latter two categories.

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