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Article | Willis Research Network Newsletter

Expanding hail modelling with KIT and NASA


By Geoffrey Saville and Hannah Frost | August 5, 2019

Willis Research Network (WRN) partner Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are helping Willis Re expand hail risk modelling capabilities to South Africa, as part of a broader NASA science initiative. This on-going research naturally draws from the rich experience developed both by Willis Re and KIT in building the European Hail Model.

Our collaboration with KIT continues to support the Willis Re View of Risk on hail. Building on previous work on extreme hail events in Europe and Australia, our Willis Re International Catastrophe Analytics modelling teams have been working with KIT to expand their current hail offering for the South Africa region. This project includes investigating a number of data sources, including lightning, radar and overshooting cloud tops data to apply the most up to date science within a region of historically poor data capture. It is also part of a wider collaboration on a initiative led by NASA as part of their Earth Science Applications: Disaster Risk Reduction and Response project call.

This research will develop new technologies for using space-borne and radar-based hail observations for hail risk assessment and disaster risk reduction and response, which is very much aligned with the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries. The goal for Willis Re is to allow for an increased geographic coverage of our hail catastrophe models, as well as the ability to incorporate a wider variety of lines of business.


Hannah Frost
Territorial lead

Hannah is the territorial lead for the Sub Saharan Africa Catastrophe Analytics team at Willis Re. As this region is not well covered by traditional catastrophe models her team assesses client portfolios using Willis Re’s internal models and creating bespoke solutions, leveraging our Model Research and Evaluation team and collaborations with the Willis Research Network. Hannah graduated from Lancaster University with a BSc in Geography.

Head of Weather and Climate Risks Research

Geoff joined Willis Towers Watson in 2013, and works with the Willis Research Network stakeholders and academic partners to match business needs to the latest in scientific research, and derive tangible outputs for Willis Towers Watson to help advise its clients to advance their understanding of risk from weather and climate related hazards.

His background is in meteorology and climate science, having worked in forecasting for over a decade for the UK Met Office and Bermuda Weather Service, in all aspects of delivering forecast services from media broadcasting to delivering warnings and actionable guidance on extreme weather phenomena such as tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia, and a Masters (with distinction) in Climate Change from University College London. He is also an active Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

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