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FSU Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center joins research network to study tropical cyclones and insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Willis Research Network, the world's largest collaboration between public science and the insurance sector, has announced the addition of The Florida State University's Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center to its membership. Florida State becomes the only academic institution in Florida and one of just 14 nationwide to be offered membership in the network.

"We are honored to be selected as a Willis Research Network member and look forward to further collaboration with other members toward providing solutions to the complicated issues surrounding tropical cyclones and their effects," said Patrick F. Maroney, FSU's Kathryn Magee Kip Professor of Risk Management and Insurance and director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center. "This collaboration will add to the knowledge of hurricanes and their effects, and accelerate advances in addressing critical issues such as how to best finance the risk of the catastrophic damage that often comes with major landfalling hurricanes."

Since its creation by the Florida Legislature in 2008, the center has been a leader in research related to the personal and socioeconomic perils of catastrophic events such as hurricanes. Center researchers study topics including homeowners insurance pricing in hurricane-prone Florida; forecasting of tropical cyclones; and ways to better protect homeowners and their homes. Studies conducted include research into insurance subsidies, better understanding and prediction of storm surge, insurance regulation, insurer capacity to pay claims, and the effects of home mitigation credits on the property insurance market.

"The affiliation with the Willis Research Network will allow the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center to continue to provide valuable research to the residents and policymakers of Florida," said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, dean of the FSU College of Business. "Hurricanes and the related property-insurance issues affect all Floridians."

"We are excited to be working closely with the center to help address the specific challenges and risks faced by the Florida insurance marketplace," said Julie Serakos, executive vice president of Willis Re, the reinsurance arm of global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings. "Pat (Maroney) and his team have a unique skill set in catastrophe finance, catastrophe modeling and Florida policy issues, all of which will facilitate the development of practical solutions for the insurance stakeholders in the state."

The Willis Research Network will provide Florida State with long-term funding to develop and integrate leading research into insurance risk management, modeling and decision making. FSU joins U.S. Willis Research Network members including Princeton University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Scripps Institute and the University of Colorado.

About the FSU Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center:
The Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center is part of the FSU College of Business' Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate, and Legal Studies. The center conducts research, symposia and outreach efforts designed to better prepare Florida's residents for the potential personal and socioeconomic perils associated with hurricanes. In addition, the center partners with academic institutions, policymakers and industry leaders in Florida, as well as nationally and internationally. To learn more, visit www.stormrisk.org.

About the Willis Research Network:
The Willis Research Network, funded and supported by Willis Re, the reinsurance arm of global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, is the world's largest collaboration between academia, government and the insurance industry. The research supported by the network is focused on evaluating the frequency, severity and impact of major catastrophes — from flooding to hurricanes and earthquakes — with the aim of helping society at local and global levels manage these risks and share the costs of these events via public- and private-sector approaches. To achieve this mission, the Willis Research Network has teamed up with more than 40 leading universities and scientific institutions across a full range of disciplines, from atmospheric science and climate statistics to geography, hydrology and seismology, to assess the effects on the environment via engineering, exposure analysis and Geographic Information Systems. More information can be found at www.willisresearchnetwork.com.

For more information contact:
Lindsay Potvin
(850) 644-7840 office; lpotvin@cob.fsu.edu

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