CGI supports Copernicus programme to boost insurance data

05 April 2016

Climate change sometimes comes with blustery weather, causing all kinds of unexpected economic damage – and resultant insurance claims. To better understand the changing risks, CGI will leverage the EC’s Copernicus programme to model possible severe weather events across Europe. Through a more accurate understanding of the changing risks, insurers and public policy planners can better create premiums and policies that cover and protect areas of economic value. The information developed by the modelling of Copernicus data will, in addition, be made available to wider stakeholder groups.

The atmospheric environment in Europe is both unpredictable and ever-changing, as the global climate continues to warm at an unprecedented rate. While short term forecasts are relatively robust, mid- and long-term interpretations of weather patterns remain difficult to achieve. Understanding these patterns is of chief concern to a number of public and private stakeholders, including the insurance industry. One area of keen concern to insurance industry players are natural disasters caused by atmospheric hazards – severe storms have, in particular, been on the rise in recent decades.

To access a more accurate understanding of the effects of climate change as well as wider atmospheric environmental vitals, the EU launched the Copernicus programme. The programme uses a broad range of sensors; including earth observation satellites, ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors, to gather information for policy makers, businesses and other stakeholders for environmental and emergency weather issues. Areas of interest to stakeholders include environment protection, insurance, management of urban areas, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development, civil protection and tourism.

Understanding wather patterns

The dissemination of the information gathered by the Copernicus is a key aim of the programme; the information can be leveraged by a number of stakeholders to improve environmental protections as well as predict adverse events. In a bid to improve the dissemination of Copernicus information the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which operates the programme of the European Commission, has awarded CGI a two year contract to develop a proof-of-concept for a Sectoral Information Service (SIS) to better inform the insurance sectors through data gathered through Copernicus.

CGI’s project involves working with a range of stakeholders and experts, including two national meteorological agencies, two universities, and industrial partners, to set up and develop the Wind Storm Information Service (WISC) – which aims to leverage Copernicus’ data streams to create models that allow stakeholders to better understand potential risks. The WISC will use past data on storms, going back to 1990, as well as current environmental modelling and information, to create an advanced catastrophe modelling framework and to produce high-quality forecasts of potential future losses from severe windstorms.

In addition to providing modelling for insurers, the system will also be used to provide information to support public policy planning for climate changes in sectors such as energy, transport, civil engineering and government. CSI will further work with the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) to make the climate information accessible to a range of additional stakeholders, including industrial and public sector user communities.

CGI supports Copernicus programme to boost insurance data

“We are proud of our 40 year heritage in the space industry and pleased to have secured our first contract with ECMWF under the Copernicus Climate Change Service” says Steve Smart, SVP of Space, Defence, National and Cyber Security at CGI. “We understand the huge potential of exploiting climate data from space, into information services which bring business benefit to commercial markets. We are excited to work with the insurance sector to demonstrate the value that the Wind Storm Information Service can deliver to them and we intend to develop other services in the future.”

Jean-Noël Thépaut, Head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service at ECMWF, says: “A key objective of the Copernicus Climate Change Service is to combine observations of the climate system with the latest science to develop authoritative information about the past, current and future states of the climate and its impacts. We are delighted that CGI is leading this first proof-of-concept and has brought together an experienced team to demonstrate how this service can bring clear benefits to the insurance sector.”