ALERT™ (AIR Loss Estimates in Real Time) is an online service providing up-to-date information and loss estimates for major natural catastrophes worldwide. Obtaining reliable catastrophe loss information quickly as an actual event unfolds has become increasingly important for insurers, reinsurers, and investors. This, coupled with the opportunities available for hedging against events in real time make access to timely information regarding potential catastrophe losses exceedingly valuable.
ALERT currently provides loss information for major events, including: tropical cyclones impacting the United States, the Caribbean, Japan, and Australia; extratropical cyclones in Europe, and; earthquakes in any of the countries modeled by AIR. In addition, AIR will post summary information on other catastrophic events around the world. AIR has issued real-time loss estimates for every US hurricane since Hugo in 1989. Since then, the service has expanded to include many regions of the world, providing AIR clients with access to fast, far-reaching, integrated loss information.
In the case of U.S. hurricanes, AIR begins posting event information up to 48 hours before projected landfall. Hundreds of probability-weighted storm scenarios are simulated using the National Hurricane Center's range of possible storm tracks, wind speeds, and other intensity variables. Estimates of industry losses are generated for all scenarios. The most representative are posted on the ALERT web site in the form of detailed post-code level maps of wind speeds and losses. A narrative description of the event parameters, location, and projected course is also provided. Files containing all scenarios can be downloaded and input directly into AIR software applications for further analysis.
In the case of major earthquakes, AIR posts information within hours of the event. For modeled countries, AIR seismologists begin running simulations using available information on magnitude, focal depth, rupture mechanism, fault length, dip angle, and so on. Detailed maps of intensity and losses are posted on ALERT for a range of scenarios that reflect the uncertainty regarding the actual event parameters, and event sets for all scenarios can be downloaded for further analysis. Because of the considerable uncertainty surrounding the actual parameters of an earthquake in its immediate aftermath, AIR seismologists continue to run simulations and post updated loss estimates as additional information comes in from seismic networks around the world.