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.”


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.