News Articles


Baseline Management Company Collaborates with Applied Research Associates,
URS Corporation to Launch New Catastrophe Risk Models for
Insurance and Reinsurance Industries

Baseline Hurricane and Earthquake Models Provide New Approach, Fresh Insights to Catastrophe Loss Modeling and Analysis

SUMMIT, NJ, February 17, 2009 ─ Baseline Management Company, Inc., a risk modeling and technology firm specializing in catastrophe risk, today announced the introduction of a new set of catastrophe models for hurricanes and earthquakes that are accessed as a service through the company's hosted, web-based platform. Developed in conjunction with Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) and URS Corporation (URS), the Baseline United States Hurricane and Earthquake Models™ incorporate extensively tested concepts and utilize peer-reviewed science and engineering.

Craig Ott, President and CEO, Baseline Management Company, said, "The Baseline models and online platform have been designed as transformational innovations for the catastrophe modeling market. For more than a decade, the insurance and reinsurance industries have relied mostly on the models of three cat modeling firms. With this launch, we offer a uniquely collaborative approach to catastrophe modeling, enabled by state-of-the-art computing technology, which specifically addresses many of the concerns shared by users. These client issues include the desire for greater transparency to understand variation in model outputs, which in turn supports better decision-making about strategic pricing, risk management and risk transfer strategies."

The Baseline hurricane model integrates the hazard and vulnerability components of ARA's HURLOSS Unites States Hurricane model, which has been approved for ratemaking by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology every year since 2000 and has also been used for mitigation analysis and insurance rate differential modeling in Florida since 2001. The Baseline earthquake model leverages URS' expertise in building codes and earthquake vulnerabilities, modeling site-specific building damage using URS' CODA (Code-Oriented Damage Assessment) methodology.

Dr. Lawrence Twisdale, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Applied Research Associates, said, "We have used our HURLOSS hurricane model for research and consulting services since 1998. The opportunity of collaborating with Baseline to bring the model to market on their innovative platform has provided a significant step forward for our wind engineering business."

William Graf, Manager, Earthquake Risk, URS Corporation, said, "The Baseline platform provided the perfect fit for the URS Code-Oriented Damage Assessment (CODA) earthquake vulnerability model, which adapts building vulnerability to the building code design for each location and year of construction."

Baseline's models differ from other catastrophe models in a number of fundamental ways:

Collaborative partnerships – In the development of its modeling tools, Baseline brings together leading independent experts from the scientific, engineering, academic and finance communities to drive innovation in catastrophe risk management. This collaborative approach allows for the incorporation of all credible alternatives for hazard catalogs, vulnerability functions and loss models into the Baseline system to provide users with more robust tools.

Platform as a Service Model (PAAS) – To run Baseline's entire suite of analytical products, users only need an Internet connection to logon to the Baseline Risk Platform™. Unlike other models, there is no system to integrate or software to install and maintain. Moreover, the platform's architecture and cloud computing capabilities support large event sets (100,000 years of discrete events) and reduced processing times that allow for more frequent, real-time portfolio reviews while eliminating the need for short-cuts that can skew results.

Object-oriented approach – In the Baseline models, the hazard, vulnerability and insurance/reinsurance components are designed as independent objects or 'stand alone' modules that can operate independently from one another, but also be combined to provide alternative end-to-end risk models. This enables Baseline to easily introduce alternative views on hazard – providing users with a unique functionality that allows them to analyze the sensitivity of their portfolios to different views on risk. It also makes it easy for Baseline to update models and introduce new ones.

Portfolio Visualization™ and interaction – The Baseline platform provides easy-to-use tools for the extensive visualization of results through maps, satellite imaging, analytical graphics and exportable tables. The system also incorporates search tools that enable users to explore both exposure and loss in great detail. Other models, by comparison, are much more difficult to use, producing data that can be hard to interpret and present, especially for non-technical users.

Built-for-the-future design – As more and more users seek to model their exposure on a site-by-site basis, Baseline's models become even more relevant. Baseline bases its models on the most credible scientific and engineering data available to provide reliable information about the structure and integrity of insured risks and how these risks would respond under a vast range of conditions.

In addition, to help generate credible industry exposure data, Baseline and its partners developed The Baseline United States Industry Exposure Database™, which catalogs insured values and building stock for every zip code in the U.S.

Interested parties are invited to learn more about the Baseline Risk Platform™, Baseline United States Earthquake Model™, Baseline United States Hurricane Model™ and Baseline United States Industry Exposure Database™ at the Reinsurance Association of America's Catastrophe Modeling Conference in Tampa, Florida, February 17-20, 2009.

URS Corporation ( is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world. The company offers a broad range of program management; planning, design and engineering; systems engineering and technical assistance; construction and construction management; operations and maintenance; and decommissioning for closure services. URS provides services for power, infrastructure, industrial and commercial, and federal projects and programs. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company operates through three divisions: the URS Division, the EG&G Division and the Washington Division. URS Corporation has more than 50,000 employees in a network of offices in more than 30 countries.

Baseline Management Company, Inc., based in Summit, NJ, was established in 2005 to transform the way that the risk of loss from catastrophic events is assessed and managed. The firm collaborates with recognized leaders in natural catastrophe science and engineering and leverages state-of-the-art cloud computing technology to provide cost-effective catastrophe modeling solutions and services to the global insurance, reinsurance and risk management marketplace. For more information, please visit