Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics
SECED 2015 was a two-day conference on Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics that took place on 9-10th July 2015 at Homerton College, Cambridge.
This was the first major conference to be held in the UK on this topic since SECED hosted the 2002 European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in London.
The conference brought together experts from a broad range of disciplines, including structural engineering, nuclear engineering, seismology, geology, geotechnical engineering, urban development, social sciences, business and insurance; all focused on risk, mitigation and recovery.
SECED 2015 featured the following keynote speakers (affiliations correct at the time of the conference):
SECED allows the self-archiving of the Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAM) from the SECED 2015 Conference. This means that all authors can make their conference paper available via a green open access route. The full text of your paper may become visible within your personal website, your institutional repository, a subject repository or a scholarly collaboration network signed up to the voluntary STM sharing principles. It may also be shared with interested individuals, for teaching and training purposes at your own institution and for grant applications (please refer to the terms of your own institution to ensure full compliance).
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This paper describes the way uncertainty is treated in today’s catastrophe loss models and how it could be improved in the future to provide more credible estimations of risk.
The paper argues there are major deficiencies in the treatment of uncertainty in catastrophe loss models with inappropriate simplifications that mislead rather than inform. It explains how and why we need an evidential basis for models, an honesty about what we don’t know, and expression of this lack of knowledge in the rigorous use of probability.
After a brief introduction to uncertainties in catastrophe loss modelling, the paper will focus on just two of the many elements of uncertainty:
1. The representation of vulnerability.
2. The handling of probability in catastrophe loss models.
From this analysis three conclusions will emerge:
1. Vulnerability (or fragility) curves should allow discontinuities and expose the associated damage distributions, not just assume a parametric continuous distribution.
2. Uncertainty due to lack of knowledge (“epistemic” uncertainty) should be represented using probability distributions, not ignored.
3. The handling of probability in catastrophe loss models should be empirical, not based on the convenience of closed form parametric distributions or the false god of a presumed central tendency.