Given the complexity of catastrophe models, at first it might seem impossible for you to build your own. This was certainly the case 10-20 years ago. But technology has changed since the first-generation models were developed, and the past several years have seen advancements that are dramatically changing the landscape of modeling.

Executive Summary

Can you build your own catastrophe model? Risk modeling pioneer Karen Clark says yes, laying out the reasons for doing it and steps in the process.

In the early days of modeling there was no email or Internet, and there was a lot of labor involved in simply finding and preparing the scientific data and other information needed for a model. For example, detailed soil data necessary for the earthquake models had to be manually digitized from paper maps. In contrast, just this year the U.S. Geological Survey released a database of high-resolution soil data for the entire world, and it’s freely available and easily accessible.

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