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New Fall '23 course in Catastrophe Risk Management

This Fall semester, I’m excited to be teaching a new course on catastrophe risk management. Born out of the insurance and reinsurance industries, “Cat Risk Management” blends together climate science, hazard science, financial and demographic data, and GIS in order to estimate the potential losses caused by natural- and human-made catastrophes.

Partly because of the increasing importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) disclosures, this sector is currently enjoying rapid growth and is keen to recruit people with expertise in climate change and modeling, hazard assessment, numerical analysis, and other related skills. This May I attended the industry’s annual meeting and everyone there was enthusiastic to foster stronger ties with academia and interact with students interested to join the field.

With this being a new course I don’t have a lot of material prepared yet, but we do have a great roster of confirmed guests who will join us in-person and virtually through the semester. I expect the course will be relevant to anyone interested to learn how insurance and reinsurance industries use (or do not use) climate and disaster science to make decisions about insurance rates and policy coverage. And it should also serve as a starting point for students who might consider a career as a science ‘translator’ for the insurance industry and broader financial sector.

COURSE TITLE GEOG5900: Catastrophe Risk Management

DAY/TIME Tue/Thu, 9:45AM to 11:00AM

INSTRUCTOR Prof. Scott St. George

SUMMARY The field of catastrophe management aims to evaluate and manage the risks of natural catastrophes arising from perils ranging from earthquakes and hurricanes to floods and wildfire. Catastrophe models combine historical disaster information with current demographic, property, and financial data to anticipate the potential losses caused by both natural and man-made catastrophes. In this course, we'll review the four key components of catastrophe models (hazard, inventory, vulnerability and loss) and examine how these tools are used (and perhaps mis-used) by insurers, financial institutions, corporations, and public agencies. The course will also introduce students to the credentials system administered by the International Society of Catastrophe Managers for Certified Specialists in Catastrophe Risk and Certified Catastrophe Risk Management Professionals.

Confirmed guests (in-person and virtual)

  • Dr. Kelly Hereid, Director, Catastrophe R&D, Liberty Mutual
  • Emily Sambuco, Senior Catastrophe Analyst, Liberty Mutual
  • Joseph Becker, Hydrologist, Guy Carpenter
  • Joe Litchfield, Data Manager, Guidewire
  • Anthony Meyers, Managing Director, Aon
  • Dr. Megan Hart, Managing Director, Aon
  • Monica Mason, Head of Property Analytics SVP, Core Specialty Insurance
  • Jessica Fang, VP Property Data Analytics, Core Specialty Insurance