[open-sustainability] Open Platform project

Owen Boswarva owen.boswarva at gmail.com
Fri Feb 21 14:43:37 UTC 2014

Hi Jack,

Here's more info.

The thing described in the FT article is called the Oasis Loss Modelling

There's a website: http://www.oasislmf.org/

and a Twitter: @OASISLMF.

(I was already following the Twitter account so I must have come across it

Oasis is actually a member of the Open Data Institute (since September):


so they must be thinking in that space to some extent.

Here are a couple more good articles:

Will loss-modelling project prove to be an Oasis for risk managers?
(StrategicRISK, 3 February 2014)

OASIS Loss Modelling Framework: A viewpoint (Rethinking Insurance, 11
January 2014)

Now there *does* seem to be a connection to the Open Platform project from
2011, because it's referenced on this Oasis page:


and conversely Oasis is referenced on the Technology Strategy Board site:


I'll leave you to read into the detail. However it looks to me as if the
Open Platform project is an element within Oasis, but Oasis is rather
bigger than that. Oasis is mainly about weaning insurers off their
dependency on "black box" commercial catastrophe models. Basically at the
moment insurers submit their risk and exposure data to RMS et al. and that
determines how much the insurers pay for reinsurance. However they don't
have full insight into the methods and calculations because those are
proprietary to RMS et al. The idea behind Oasis is that the insurers will
better understand the cat models they are using. However transparency is
only one virtue of course; the models will actually have to be better or as
good as RMS et al to compete. The end result may not be much about sharing
data per se (too much of that kind of thing can create antitrust issues for
insurers), but in the general sense the approach will probably be more

So there you go ...


On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM, Jack Townsend <jack at jacktownsend.net>wrote:

Thanks Owen. That does look related. Good to see it seems to have a clear
> open ethic and provides a good example of how a cooperative open approach
> could help an industry become more sustainable/ resilient.
> In this, it reminds me of the http://www.opencompute.org/ open hardware
> project to improve data centre efficiency by knowledge sharing across the
> industry.
> Cheers
> Jack
> Web, Open Data & Sustainability University of Southampton
> @JackTownsend_  <https://twitter.com/JackTownsend_> jack at jacktownsend.net
> On 21 Feb 2014, at 12:38, Owen Boswarva <owen.boswarva at gmail.com>
>  wrote:
> Hi Jack, I'll see what I can find out.
> I tweeted the original article back in 2011:
> https://twitter.com/owenboswarva/status/89726891732373504
> and then lost track of the project. Highly doubt it's open data in any
> real sense though.
> The article below was in the FT last month. Some of the players are the
> same so it might be related but not sure yet.
> Owen
> http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2459b1be-84f8-11e3-8968-00144feab7de.html
> Last updated: January 26, 2014 7:31 pm
> Insurers shake up disaster modelling
> By Alistair Gray in London
> Insurers are aiming to transform the way in which natural disasters are
> modelled with a groundbreaking system of their own as the industry tries to
> scale back reliance on outside specialists that critics warn exert undue
> influence on premiums.
> The new venture, which 22 insurance groups including Allianz, Zurich and
> the Lloyd's of London market have clubbed together to set up, is due to be
> launched next week.
> The project, which has backing from other institutions including
> technology group IBM, the UK's Met Office and Columbia University in New
> York, is the latest sign of the industry's determination to better
> understand its exposure to costly disasters.
> Catastrophes including floods three years ago in Thailand that cost
> insurers more than $15bn, proved more costly than the industry projected
> partly because they were inadequately modelled.
> Companies including AIR Worldwide, Eqecat and RMS have carved out a
> lucrative niche selling models to insurers, which use them to help price
> their policies.
> They combine disciplines ranging from actuarial science to geology and
> analyse complex data to estimate losses arising from hypothetical disasters.
> Examples include assessing the maximum damage to infrastructure from a
> hurricane by simulating various projected strengths and paths.
> However, some executives have that warned the industry relies too heavily
> upon what critics call proprietary "black boxes".
> Existing modelling companies are already trying to respond to the
> industry's calls for more flexibility. Silicon Valley-based RMS, a
> subsidiary of the UK's Daily Mail and General Trust, plans to launch its
> own cloud-based platform in April.
> But backers of the new "open source" system believe it offers a more
> transparent alternative to the existing offerings.
>  One insider likened the framework to Linux, the free computer operating
> system whose kernel forms the base of Android, which is widely used in
> mobile phones.
> It is being billed as a "toolkit" that will create common technical
> standards and facilitate the development of models developed by insurers,
> brokers and others.
> The not-for-profit venture aims to allow insurers to more easily utilise
> data from parties such as universities and other researchers and create a
> more open market for models.
> At its forthcoming launch in London, backers are likely to say the new
> system will complement existing systems. Privately, however, people
> involved say that it ultimately should help insurers, which spend millions
> of pounds a year on models, cut costs.
> The scheme is also being backed by brokers Aon Benfield, Guy Carpenter and
> Willis.
> The industry is demanding more transparency from models partly because of
> regulatory pressure under the forthcoming Solvency II rules to ensure
> executives fully understand the risks they are taking.
> Executives have raised concerns that adjustments to the assumptions that
> underpin the proprietary models can lead to abrupt changes in their
> projected losses.
> Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014.
> On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Jack Townsend <jack at jacktownsend.net>wrote:
> Hi Owen, Mike
>> Do you know what came of this 2011 project to research an "open" platform
>> an "online marketplace to exchange knowledge, data and modelling techniques
>> between the government, disaster risk reduction and insurance sector".
>> Quick google doesn't turn up anything on it from the the last year.
>> thttp://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/open-platform
>> http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/intellectual-property-research/open-platform
>> Was this open data in any sense?
>>  Jack
>> Web, Open Data & Sustainability University of Southampton
>> @JackTownsend_  <https://twitter.com/JackTownsend_> jack at jacktownsend.net
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