The Catastrophe Modeling Center at Lehigh University was established in 2021 to provide an interdisciplinary home for the scientific and educational activities of a number of scholars who have been working on natural disasters and health related threats.
Lehigh identified catastrophe modeling as one of its strategic areas of growth and invested in the development of the Center.
What is Catastrophe Modeling?
“Catastrophe Modeling” (or “CatModeling”) is a science born in the insurance sector to indicate a rigorous probabilistic approach to study natural disasters and their consequences. When insuring against rare events, it is not possible to base premiums on statistics of historical claims, which is how traditional actuarial science operates. Instead, accurate physics-based and mechanistic models integrate the limited available data, while accounting for the uncertainties. Recent trends see CatModeling applied beyond natural disasters, to infrequent events like epidemics, financial crises, and political unrest. The insurance sector plays two crucial roles to support our communities.
Before disasters occur, it facilitates risk communication, providing immediate monetary value to retrofit and mitigation interventions, in the form of lower premiums or access to more policies.
After disasters it is responsible for a growing share of the financial resources that fuel recovery.
The sector is experiencing strong growth, and our graduate students with competence in this field are aggressively pursued by the industry. Our team has worked on this topic since 2015, focusing on natural disasters and epidemics, and established a “Catastrophe Modeling Coordination Network” in 2021.
The Catastrophe Modeling Coordination Network
While Lehigh has a critical mass of scholars interested in various aspects of this field, such a complex area of research can only be tackled by a broad team that includes top scholars from various institutions. The founding partners of the Coordination Network are Lehigh University, Florida Atlantic University, Rice University, and Stanford University. The core team members from these institutions are listed in the “People” page.
Provide resources to increase the contributions of academic research in the general fields of catastrophe modeling and disaster resilience.
Advance research on CatModeling topics that are more easily addressed in academic settings, such as insurance equity, open platforms and data for catastrophe modeling, ethical implications of disasters and disaster research.
Provide a venue where private sector, public sector, and academia can cultivate synergies and grow fruitful collaborations to make catastrophe models more accurate, reliable, effective, and make our communities more resilient to the threats they face.
Serve as a hub for the interinstitutional Catastrophe Modeling Coordination Network which gathers other research teams in catastrophe modeling and resilience.
Pioneer the development of academic courses and academic degree programs in catastrophe modeling and resilience.
Interested in collaborations?
If you or your institution are interested in collaborating with the Center or the Coordination Network, do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to expanding our network of partners and collaborators.