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Willis Research Network Events


Providing world-class events since 2006

The Willis Research Network (WRN) is an award-winning collaboration, which harnesses over 50 partners in science, academia, think tanks, and the private sector to form innovative partnerships with the risk management and insurance industries; improving understanding of risk for the benefit of our clients and society. Every year the WRN hosts number of seminars, webinars, lunch and learn, conferences and so on. Please keep a look out on this page so you don't miss out on our world-class events.

Future Events


Willis Research Network - Unnatural Catastrophes: Cyber and Geopolitical Risk in the Modern World

The Willis Research Network (WRN) would like to invite you to a morning seminar featuring talks and discussions on two research themes that the WRN is currently focusing on: Cyber and Geopolitical drivers of risk.

As with any WRN seminar, we will bring together views from academia and the business world, steering the dialogue towards pragmatic insights. Guest speakers will provide their understanding of the risk landscape, discuss how organisations are currently managing those risks, and how those risks can be turned into opportunities.

Seminar themes

Cyber attacks: from crime to nation-state tool of aggression

  • The nature of our relationship with technology is increasingly complex and challenging and this evolution permeates across the risk landscape. Elisabeth Braw from the RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) Modern Deterrence Programme will be giving an insight into the changing nature of cyber attacks and what this means for business today.
  • This will then be followed by a panel session providing a tour d'horizon of the top cyber risks and trends, reflecting on how organisations are currently managing those risks, through a combination of risk management and insurance solutions.
    • Andrew Hall (Willis Towers Watson)
    • Matt Palmer (Willis Towers Watson)
    • Elisabeth Braw (RUSI - Modern Deterrence programme)
    • Prof. Andrew Martin (University of Oxford - Cyber Security Centre)
    • Pete Cooper (Pavisade)

From the battlefield to the boardroom: insights into geopolitical drivers of risk and opportunities

  • As we reflect on an increasingly fragile global landscape, the dynamics of the geopolitical narrative are increasingly influential for any organisation.
  • Our keynote speaker Sir Richard Shirreff, NATO's former Deputy Supreme Commander Europe, will survey the geopolitical landscape and explore opportunities which boardrooms should consider in order to manage risk effectively.
  • Our panel moderated by Neal Croft will discuss top geopolitical risks and trends, risk mitigation strategies and how better insights can turn risk into opportunity.
    • Neal Croft (Willis Towers Watson)
    • Sir Richard Shirreff (Strategia Worldwide)
    • Paul Davidson (Willis Towers Watson: Financial Solutions)
    • Amalia Khachatryan (Oxford Analytica)

Time and Location: 05 December 2019 / The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.

Please register here


Cambridge Global Risk Index 2020: Launch Event

The Willis Research Network is pleased to host the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies launch event for the 2020 update of the Cambridge Global Risk Index. The conference will feature key research from the Centre on modelling catastrophe risk to business activities, as well as provide perspectives on their new and emerging risk challenges.

The Centre has launched the sixth annual Cambridge Global Risk Index to bring business critical elements of the Cambridge Risk Framework into focus. Using the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies' taxonomy of threats, the Centre is researching the catastrophic disruption to economic activities caused by multi-threat events. The Global Risk Index allows users to understand the economic implications of a variety of risks and use the GDP@Risk metric to enhance their preparedness and resilience. In this way, governments and firms will be better equipped to deal with risks in the future, some of which they may not have previously encountered. Topics discussed will include an integrated risk outlook for 2020, better understanding of corporate risk profiling, and seeing opportunities for the insurance industry through risk science.

Time and Location: 09 December 2019 / The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.

Please register here

Recent Events


Artificial Intelligence and Next-Generation Insurance Services

Loughborough University and the Willis Research Network (WRN) hosted a conference bringing together a range of perspectives on the business application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role in the ongoing digital transformation of the insurance industry. The goal was to look beyond the day to day business decision-making and examine the broader challenges of employing AI, the implication for business models and to address some of the organisational and public policy challenges to effective use of these new technologies. We had a mix of top university researchers and industry practitioners participating as both presenters and panellists to enhance our depth of knowledge around AI and the use of AI in our industry.

Seminar themes

  • An assessment of the current state and potential of Artificial Intelligence
    Keynote speaker: Mike Hope, IBM, and David Lopez, University of Exeter
  • AI and Insurance Business models & Digital Innovation in Insurance
    Featuring Steven Woodford, BGL and Chris Holland, Loughborough University
  • New Insurance Technologies & The InsureTech Landscape
    Featuring Ed Gaze, Lloyds Lab, Matt Cullen, Association of British Insurers and Case studies from business
  • The enterprise view of AI and data technologies in insurance
    Featuring research presentations and panel discussion on organizational challenges and regulatory compliance

Time and Location: 26 November 2019 / The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.


Willis Re Paris annual Conference - Climate change : Adapting to a new Reality

Willis Re Paris annual conference will bring together industry leaders on climate change related risk and practitioners from insurance company with valuable insights from WWF and AXA, amongst others. Hosting in the "home" of famous environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the conference will present to its audience Willis Re's perspective on providing the most relevant service offering on all climate-related regulatory and business subjects. Rowan Douglas will be speaking for the WRN, outlining the link between academic partnerships and their concrete application across Willis Towers Watson.

Time and Location: September 5, 2019 / GoodPlanet Foundation, Domaine de Longchamp, Paris


Willis Research Network: an afternoon with Greg Holland

The Willis Research Network (WRN) held an afternoon of presentation and networking with Dr. Greg Holland, Director Emeritus of the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Holland has worked with Willis Towers Watson for many years via the Willis Research Network, focusing on tropical cyclone impact research, collaborating with our Willis Re Catastrophe Analytics teams closely, to develop new methods and data to help us maintain an up to date View of Risk for our clients.

In this session, Dr. Holland brought his wealth of experience and knowledge of weather and climate risk for an hour session covering recent research into tropical cyclones and climate change impacts, followed by a chance for questions and discussion.

Time and Location: May 29, 2019 / Willis Towers Watson Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.


2019 hurricane season

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is one of the main factors affecting hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Currently, the ENSO is in a weak El Niño phase and many ENSO prediction models indicate a 50% to 70% chance of the El Niño lasting from June through October 2019.

With this year's hurricane season fast approaching - along with rapidly changing climate conditions - predicting seasonal hurricanes becomes a timely and highly relevant topic for companies with insured risks in hurricane prone areas.

To address this change, Willis Re's Catastrophe Analytics team hosted a one hour webinar on Wednesday, featuring James Done of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Our guest speaker reviewed the atmospheric conditions that influenced the 2018 hurricane season, the 2019 hurricane forecast and the conditions that can have an influence on 2019 North Atlantic hurricane activity.

In addition, New capabilities the Willis Re catastrophe analytics team has been working on related to utilizing the hurricane forecast to produce loss estimates was discussed.

Time and Location: June 05, 2019 / Webinar

Watch the webinar here

Willis Research Network Earthquake Seminar

The Willis Research Network held an afternoon seminar featuring a number of research projects with our academic partners, where we demonstrated how this research has applicability to business decisions.

  • Use of 3D simulation to reduce the uncertainty in loss estimates
  • A Reinsurance, Capital and Regulatory challenge in the US and Canada: a $30bn to $300bn Pacific North-West / British Columbia range of industry probable maximum loss estimates – which to trust?
  • The odd couple – aftershocks and clustering. How can we adjust or build models to account for these coupled events?

We presented potential benefits, and implications to reinsurance and capital requirements using recent events in Alaska, New Zealand and Mexico as examples. - Reducing gaps in model coverage and informing model validation. Willis Re's use of Global Earthquake Model data. To address these and many other questions we had a list of world-renowned experts on earthquake risk joining us from the risk management industry and academia. Dr Ross Stein (Temblor), Dr. Marco Pagani (GEM), Dr. Myrto Papaspiliou (Willis Re), Dr. Crescenzo Petrone (Willis Re), Tim Edwards (Willis Re) and Grant Baxter (Willis Re) are amongst the speakers expected on the day.

Time and Location: May 09, 2019 / The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.


The Willis Research Network Autumn Seminar

The Willis Research Network (WRN) held an insightful afternoon featuring a number of research projects and academic partners. A range of themes were included such as the influence of climate variability and change on extreme weather, as well as an overview of new parametric insurance solutions relating to volcanic eruptions. The talks featured prominent academic experts who presented the findings from the latest research in their fields, along with the outputs of some of the WRN's recent scientific collaborations. Each academic talk were followed by a representative from Willis Towers Watson to show current analytical projects and applications of the research for our clients across the insurance and reinsurance sectors.

  • Climate modelling and NAO predictability
    Presented by Prof. Adam Scaife (Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter)
  • Volcanic risk and the (re)insurance industry
    Presented by Dr. Christopher Kilburn (UCL Hazard Centre, University College London)
  • Tropical cyclones and climate extremes today and in the future
    Presented by Dr. Greg Holland (National Center for Atmospheric Research)

Time and Location: November 06, 2018 / The Willis Towers Watson Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.


The Willis Research Network Spring Seminar Series

Time and Location: April - May 2018 / Academy Rooms, The Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.

The Willis Research Network (WRN) held a 'Spring Seminar' series featuring a number of research projects and partners across several weeks in April and May. Topics ranged from severe convective storms to corporate risk profiling. These talks presented the findings from some of the WRN's latest scientific collaborations, alongside current analytical projects underway in Willis Re teams around the world, with an emphasis on the latest events impacting our industry.

Spring Seminar Sessions
  • April 18 – Hail Hazard Modelling
    Our WRN partners at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have been working with Willis Re catastrophe analytics teams for many years on developing hail hazard event sets. Introduced by Hubert Bast, Head of Analytics and Model Development at Willis Re International, ongoing research focussed on European hail storms remains a key research stream. Dr. Michael Kunz and Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Punge will present their latest work on hail modelling, both in Europe and Australia.
  • May 02 – Sequential Hazard Vulnerability
    Professor Tiziana Rossetto and Dr. Carmine Galasso from UCL EPICentre will present recent advances in physical vulnerability modelling of the built environment. The talk will discuss 1) the impact of earthquake duration on earthquake loss assessment; 2) the performance-based assessment of the built environment to sequential hazards, such as earthquake followed by tsunami; 3) the performance-based assessment of earthquake-induced structural fracture in high-rise steel buildings.
  • May 09 – Is There a Correlation Between Wind and Flood in UK?
    Featuring collaborative work between the University of Exeter and Willis Re, Dr. Ben Youngman will link up with Dr. Ioana Dima-West, Head of Model Research and Evaluation, Willis Re International and Tim Edwards, Head of European Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re, to discuss their recent research into whether there is any correlation observed between extreme floods and severe windstorm events in the UK. They will consider how this correlation varies between empirical hazard and claims datasets and establish how the level of correlation changes where i.) the severity of the event changes and ii.) when the definition of the event is aligned to that of reinsurance contracts.
  • May 24 – Corporate Risk Profiling: Managing Your Risks
    With opening comments from Jon Gascoigne, Senior Risk Advisor, Capital, Science and Policy Practice, Willis Towers Watson, and building on work at the Cambridge Judge Business School, Jessica Tsang, Research Assistant at the Centre for Risk Studies will provide an overview on the management of corporate risk, an area increasingly relevant as firms seek to recognise, assess and ultimately manage risk in today's volatile world.

The Willis Research Network Autumn Seminar

Time and Location: 1st November 2017 / The Willis Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.

Willis Towers Watson held an afternoon of insight and discussion with the Willis Research Network (WRN). The event, held in the London Lime Street Auditorium on November 1st, discussed trending topics on severe convective storms, tropical cyclones and inland flooding with a range of prominent and respected speakers in the fields of weather and climate risk. The event presented findings from some of the WRN's latest scientific collaborations, alongside current analytical projects underway in Willis Re teams around the world, with an emphasis on the latest extreme weather events impacting our industry.


The Willis Research Network: Seismic Risk Seminar

Time and Location: 23rd February 2017 / The Willis Building Auditorium, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ.

Willis Towers Watson held an afternoon of insight and discussion with the Willis Research Network (WRN). The event, held in the London Lime Street Auditorium on February 23rd, discussed trending topics on Seismic Hazard and Risk, and highlighted opportunities for potential research directions that could trigger major advances and improve the way seismic hazard and risk is perceived, assessed and quantified in the Re/Insurance industry.