Newark, Calif.--Prospects for an active hurricane season in 2004 reinforce the need for sophisticated storm tracking and modeling capabilities, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) said today.

RMS, the world's leading provider of products and services for the management of catastrophe risk, has launched the 2004 version of RiskOnline, a Web-based system that tracks potential insurance losses associated with individual storms that threaten the U.S.

According to the latest hurricane-season forecast issued on May 28 from Colorado State University, the 2004 tropical storm season will feature above average activity. The University is predicting 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, of which three will become major hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Category 3 and above.)

"Following the trend of recent years, all the major forecasting groups predict 2004 will have an active season, with tropical cyclone development above the long-term average," said Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, chief risk officer at RMS. "Factors that contribute to an active hurricane season include higher than normal sea surface temperatures, low vertical wind shear and surface pressure along with a favorable African easterly jet, weaker easterly trade winds, and higher pressure in the upper atmosphere. Real time storm tracking and comprehensive loss modeling services are essential tools for underwriters and claims managers who must stay on top of events as they evolve," he added.

The RiskOnline service is a probability-based storm tracking system that estimates industry and portfolio-specific losses for individual storms that threaten the U.S.  As soon as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) starts monitoring a particular storm (generally several days before landfall), RiskOnline uses the NHC updates to automatically filter and assign probabilities to selected tracks from RMS' basin-wide stochastic database of 400,000 simulated tracks. This probabilistic track set helps to define event landfall statistics along the U.S. coastline and their associated loss estimates.

Subscribers to RiskOnline get 24-hour access to the latest loss projections for the industry or their own insurance portfolios, including breakdowns by state, region, line of business, or business unit. All of this, from the receipt of the NHC update to the posting of estimated losses, is done automatically and securely via the Internet, saving users time and effort. RiskOnline is available to subscribers through the RMS website at www.rms.com.

The release of a new RMS(R) U.S. Hurricane Model in 2003 allowed more advanced capabilities for modeling storm characteristics and developing loss estimates, which are reflected in RiskOnline.  The model was the first of its kind to fully represent the physical processes of hurricanes that impact the U.S.  Features include the transition of hurricanes into extratropical cyclones, a basin-wide methodology simulating hurricanes throughout their lifetime, and a time-stepping directional windfield model.

In conjunction with RiskOnline, the RMS CAT Updates service will feature information on tropical storm activity and provide up to date summaries of major events on the RMS website. Licensed clients can log in to access storm characteristics and damage summaries for landfalling hurricanes in the U.S.  CAT Updates will issue modeling parameters as hurricanes approach land, and will release post-landfall windfield footprints for more accurate loss modeling. Industry loss estimates for the U.S. are provided in real-time via RiskOnline to all of RMS' licensed clients.

Source: RMS

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