We are working in partnership with reinsurers Pool Re to model potential terrorist attacks and determine the impact in terms of life, property damage and business interruption.

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Key Facts

    • We are producing a unique tool to model terrorist attacks, including drone and Mumbai-style attacks.

    • It will include challenging CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) modelling.

    • Central to this work will be Cranfield’s PROSAIR blast model.

    • There will be significant international collaboration for scenario development. As well as Pool Re, we are working in partnership with Guy Carpenter reinsurance brokers.

Impact of our research

The insurance sector will have a better understanding of the impact of such attacks. This will inform their products, which will benefit the public and private sector, who will have better access to insurance cover.

The models, particularly for novel attack types, will be highly complementary to government, security and defence sectors. Connected with better insurance understanding, this can lead to such innovations as reduction in premiums for particular countermeasures being in place.

While focused at the UK initially, the research has the potential to be applied and support allied countries around the world.

Why the research was commissioned

The Pool Re scheme was set up by the insurance industry in cooperation with the UK Government as a mutual reinsurer whose members comprise the vast majority of insurers of property and membership affords them a guarantee that ensures they can provide cover for losses resulting from acts of terrorism, regardless of the scale of the claims.

In the past 20 years, the fund has paid out following 13 separate terrorism incidents covering losses of more than £600 million and since the 9/11 attacks, insurance for terrorism around the world has suffered a challenge. Insurers have been uncertain of the extent of exposure for catastrophic events and either turned from providing cover, or governments had to develop schemes to support the market. These schemes are different around the world – but the common challenge is understanding that impact.

In order to better develop their own models and support UK markets, we were asked by Pool Re to create the most accurate models that were achievable with current science, which could be used within the insurance sector.

Why Cranfield?

We are in a unique position to support this research. Our deep understanding of explosives and weapon effects, a long history of CBRN defence research and close relationships with key stakeholders in the UK and internationally allows us to bring together the multidisciplinary team required to deliver the research.

Importantly for a subject so sensitive, we also have appropriate security-cleared staff that can manage and review the research to make sure that it is appropriate.

Julian Enoizi, Chief Executive of Pool Re, said: “We are fortunate to be able to work with Cranfield University whose leading academic experience in security issues is crucial in the model’s development.”

Notably, our ProSair blast modelling tool, our Impact and Armour Group and the experience of our staff in CBRN modelling and terrorism studies were a perfect combination to deliver the work with partners such as Decision Lab, a modelling company, and intelligence company IMSL.

Facilities used

ProSAir is fundamental to the project, but it may also be supported by Cranfield Defence and Security’s explosives testing ranges, ERDA and COTEC