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.
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The Willis Research Network: 15 years of Science for Resilience
The Willis Research Network (WRN) team hosted a 3-day conference to celebrate the team's 15-year anniversary. Since inception, we have grown to a network of more than 60 partnerships with top universities, research centres and think tanks all around the globe, collaborating to develop practical, applied research that can deliver innovative insights and a deeper understanding of the challenges we face. Over three days we looked at how WRN research has helped to develop a better understanding and knowledge across the risk landscape, covering a range of topics from natural catastrophes to geopolitical risks, the future of technology and emergent risks likely to shape the research agenda in the future.
Time and Location: 18 May 2021 - 20 May 2021
1st Willis Towers Watson Denmark Annual Risk Conference
On the 27. January 2021 Willis Towers Watson, the Willis Research Network, and the University of Southern Denmark hosted the first annual Risk Research Conference in Denmark. Based on the UN's World Sustainable Development Goals the conference provided participants with an insight into the latest industrial experiences and evolvement in the science about the changing climate, urban development, and loss prevention. The speakers at the conference were experts and researchers from The University of Southern Denmark, The Willis Research Network, Ramböll with more. The speakers gave their suggestions on what to pay attention to when buildings are to be resilient to future weather conditions.
- Tradeoffs in loss prevention and insurance cost
Prof. Brooks Kaiser, The University of Southern Denmark
- The quantitative effect of loss prevention technologies
Simon Sølvsten, Willis Towers Watson, The University of Southern Denmark
Time and Location: January 27, 2021, webinar
Recording available upon request.
Emerging risks webinar with Willis Re ERM and Willis Research Network
In December, Lucy Stanbrough took part in the last Willis Re ERM webinar of the year with Dave Ingram and Daniil Shalmiyev. The session focused on emerging risks and some of the work over the last year from the Emerging Risks hub, along with discussions on how to find them, and what to keep in mind when evaluating, monitoring and taking action. The hope is that by tracking and planning for Emerging Risks, a company will not be totally surprised when one of them actually happens. Examples of emerging risks were used throughout the webinar, including a list of 50 possible risks that are on our radar.
Time and Location: 03 December 2020, Webinar
Pandemics under the microscope: using science for resilience
Organisations face no shortage of risks, yet pandemic modelling holds unique challenges compared to other perils. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (COVID-19) has shone the brightest of lights on the global need for improved understanding of and preparedness for communicable disease risk.
On Thursday 8 October at 16:30 BST, the Willis Research Network hosted a webinar with our new partner, Metabiota, to discuss how they use science to help businesses and countries build resilience to pandemics.
“Pandemics under the microscope: using science for resilience” featured a panel discussion with Q&A that will consider how analytics can be used to improve understanding of pandemic risks, and the need to move to a systems view that embraces the interconnectivity of risks.
Our panel of experts explored:
The state of pandemic modelling, how it differs from other perils, and the use of scenario-based approaches. Thoughts from COVID-19 on considering and communicating uncertainty, misinformation, and the value of early action. The need to move towards a more resilient future that deals with the interconnectivity of risks, and the potential for peril/threat correlations.
Time and Location: 08 October 2020, Webinar
On 8 October 2020, the Willis Research Network hosted a webinar with our new partner, Metabiota, to discuss how they use science to help businesses and countries build resilience to pandemics.
Realtime Risk and Globally Consistent Seismic Risk Modeling of Japan
Temblor have been a key Willis Research Network partner for several years. Willis Re hosted a talk with Temblor focusing on seismic risk modeling in Japan.
Prof. Shinji Toda and Prof. Ross Stein took us through their recent work looking at the ongoing activity in the region and what it signals for future seismic risk. In addition, they looked at the business application of tools like Realtime Risk to provide an independent view on the current Japan seismic modeling landscape.
Time and Location: 29 September, 2020 - Webinar
Earthquake science for (re)insurance decision-makers: bridging the gap between academia and industry
The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) foundation is a key Willis Research Network partner and we have collaborated over the last few years on a number of initiatives to deliver earthquake risk assessment solutions for Willis Towers Watson clients. GEM is world leading in earthquake science and has recently developed a global fully probabilistic earthquake model that is continuously being updated.
Dr Marco Pagani and Dr Vitor Silva took us through recent innovative products by GEM, while Massimiliano Arizzi, head of EMEA W/S Service Offering at Willis Re, and earthquake experts from Willis Re described how they leverage such outputs to help Willis Towers Watson clients and inform their decision making. In particular, they discussed how to enhance earthquake loss assessment using GEM exposure and vulnerability databases. They also showed how to develop alternative views of risk to vendor models leveraging the global earthquake model using two alternative approaches, with application to parametric insurance and portfolio management.
Time and Location: 23 September, 2020
Recording available upon request.
North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones – do catastrophe models sufficiently represent ‘the storms of the future’?
Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have, for many years, been a prominent Willis Research Network (WRN) partner and, together with Willis Towers Watson (WTW), have developed insights around seasonal forecasts and longer-term trends relating to tropical cyclone.
Dr James Done, WRN Senior Academic based at NCAR, and Dr Ioana Dima-West of Willis Re presented the latest collaborative work, discussing a framework for how to assess whether Tropical Cyclone models represent current and future climate conditions. This discussion took place following a brief market introduction by Chris Hayday, Head of Specialty Property at Willis Re.
Use of simulated NCAR/WRN wind footprints of historical, stochastic or post-live storms have recently been deployed in developing and strengthening our clients’ View of Risk, in better understanding loss driving features of tropical cyclones. Within the webinar we extended this value provided to Willis Re clients to demonstrate how, within a framework of assessing model completeness, NCAR/WRN simulations of current and future climate can be used.
Our first step of the research will focus on identifying which trends or scientific evidence are important to consider when assessing current and future risk. We shall consider, given an historical event as a base, which evolving storm features are most impactful to loss. We will also look forward at how we shall test other components of climate change risk in the future, tropical cyclone-induced flooding and changes in landfall frequency and location, against this model completeness framework or within a probabilistic model set-up.
Time and Location: The conference was held on August 06, 2020, Webinar.
Recording of the webinar is available upon request.
2020 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 Neutral phase and many ENSO prediction models indicate a 44% to 76% chance of the Neutral lasting from June through October 2020 and 25% to 30% chance of La Niña conditions during peak time of hurricane season (August-October).
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 Monday 1st June featuring our Willis Research Network partner Dr James Done of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Our guest speaker reviewed the atmospheric conditions that influenced the 2019 hurricane season, the 2020 hurricane forecast and the conditions that can have an influence on the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane activity.
Time and Location: 01 June 2020 / Webinar
Recording available on request.
Cambridge Global Risk Index 2020: Launch Event
The Willis Research Network hosted the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies launch event for the 2020 update of the Cambridge Global Risk Index. The conference featured 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 included 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.
Willis Research Network - Unnatural Catastrophes: Cyber and Geopolitical Risk in the Modern World
The Willis Research Network (WRN) hosted 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 brought together views from academia and the business world, steering the dialogue towards pragmatic insights. Guest speakers provided their understanding of the risk landscape, discussed how organisations are currently managing those risks, and how those risks can be turned into opportunities.
Cyber attacks: from crime to nation-state tool of aggression
he 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 gave an insight into the changing nature of cyber attacks and what this means for business today.
This was 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, surveyed the geopolitical landscape and explore opportunities which boardrooms should consider in order to manage risk effectively.
Our panel moderated by Neal Croft discussed 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.
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.
- 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
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.