BOSTON, July 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) announced that it has significantly expanded its Global Pandemic Model to include outbreaks of six additional diseases. The model now explicitly accounts for nine pathogens, including bacterial and viral diseases, in addition to previously modeled influenza, coronaviruses (such as those responsible for SARS and MERS), and filoviruses (including Ebola and Marburg). AIR also announced that the World Bank Group has selected AIR to model the innovative new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF). AIR Worldwide is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.
"Large-scale infectious disease pandemics can cause millions of deaths and billions-or even trillions-of dollars in economic and insured losses," said Doug Fullam, Associate of the Society of Actuaries, senior manager of life and health modeling at AIR Worldwide. "The possible frequency and scale of these perils are shifting as global connectivity grows, animal habitats alter, medical advancements continue, the population ages, and the climate changes. It's important to assess the potential risk to today's life and health portfolios."
The AIR Global Pandemic Model update includes the addition of two pathogens from the Bunyaviridae viral family [Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV)], Lassa (hemorrhagic) fever (LHF) from the Arenaviridae viral family, and bacterial-pathogens-associated cholera (Vibrio cholera), plague (Yersinia pestis), and meningococcal meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis). All simulated outbreaks in the AIR model can originate anywhere in the world, and AIR models the impact to 24,000 municipalities covering all corners of the world.
AIR also announced that it is collaborating with the World Bank on the expected launch of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), an innovative, fast-disbursing global financing mechanism designed to protect the world against deadly pandemics. The PEF includes an insurance window, which combines funding from the reinsurance and/or insurance-linked securities markets, as well as a complementary cash window. This is expected to be the first time the World Bank issues a financial instrument to combat infectious diseases. According to the World Bank, in the event of an outbreak, the PEF is expected to release funds quickly to countries and qualified international responding agencies.
"The analytic structure and modeling are the bedrock of risk-transfer programs like the PEF," said Priya Basu, manager, Development Finance, World Bank. "We're confident that AIR Worldwide's analytical and execution capabilities can help ensure that funds mobilized by the PEF are able to help prevent rare, high-severity outbreaks from becoming more deadly and costly pandemics."
Fullam concluded, "Modeling plays a crucial role in developing a facility such as the PEF. Emerging infectious diseases pose some of the biggest threats to the life and health of people around the globe, and AIR models can help organizations anticipate the drivers of mortality and morbidity risk to facilitate optimal risk management, risk transfer, and risk mitigation decisions to help them better prepare financially and, more important, on a humanitarian level."
The Global Pandemic Model is currently available in the CATRADER® Version 18 catastrophe risk management software.
About AIR Worldwide
AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides catastrophe risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient. AIR founded the catastrophe modeling industry in 1987, and today models the risk from natural catastrophes, terrorism, and pandemics globally. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR's advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.air-worldwide.com.
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