Newark, Calif. - In response to a growing insurance industry need, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) completed of a probabilistic model for assessing the risk of influenza pandemics across multiple countries.Many published studies have already illustrated the effects of various pandemic scenarios, most commonly a repeat of the 1918 influenza pandemic that had a mortality level of 0.67% in the U.S. and even more severe effects in other countries. Analysis of the virology and epidemiological science shows that more severe pandemics are possible, and probabilistic estimation of virus characteristics incorporating the recent H5N1 suggests that there is a one in five chance of a pandemic that is more severe than that experienced in 1918.

H5N1, the virus that recently caused avian flu in Asia, has viral characteristics that will increase the likelihood of a virulent pandemic if it provides genetic material for human-to-human influenza transmission. RMS believes that many companies may be underestimating their risk if they assume that the 1918 pandemic is the worst-case scenario. The RMS Influenza Pandemic Risk Model is intended to help insurers assess the losses they will experience from pandemics with all of the different permutations of potential characteristics and outcomes.

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