RMS Catastrophe Models - Guam
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Guam

Typhoon

Earthquake

Guam Typhoon

Guam experiences some of the most intense tropical cyclones in the world, however its building stock is also known for wind-resistant design. Since 1995, the RMS® Guam Typhoon Model has been utilized by insurers and reinsurers to understand and quantify the level of financial risk posed by typhoons in Guam and Saipan.

Guam is exposed to substantial typhoon risk due to its location in the southern end of the Mariana Island chain. Typhoons in this region pose a threat all year long, but are most frequent between the months of June and December. During the past 57 years, 19 storms have passed over Guam, and many more have passed nearby. Because the diameter of a typhoon can measure over 100 miles, typhoons do not have to pass directly over Guam to cause damage.

One of the most intense typhoons to ever strike Guam was typhoon Karen, which passed over the southern part of the island in 1962. Wind gusts estimated near 185 mph destroyed 95% of all homes on the island. Other notable typhoons impacting Guam include:

Storm

Year

Peak Gust

Damage ($ millions)

Typhoon Pamela

1976

160 mph

500

Typhoon Omar

1992

150 mph

457

Super Typhoon Paka

1997

170 mph

500

Model Highlights

Model developed in conjunction with leading local meteorologists and engineers

Stochastic database of 1,458 storms reflecting the distribution of possible typhoon events for Guam and Saipan

Wind speeds in the hazard module validated against historical wind speed data from Omar, Gay, Brian, Pamela, and other typhoons

Building vulnerability curves based on regional building code requirements, local design standards, local engineering experts, and vulnerability data from other countries with similar construction standards

Vulnerability curves validated against insured loss data from Typhoon Omar

Geographic Scope

The islands of Guam and Saipan

Exposure Data Resolution

Data input supported at the following levels of resolution: latitude-longitude, city, municipality, and island

 

Guam Earthquake

Earthquake risk in Guam is caused by the island´┐Żs proximity to the Mariana Trench, where the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Philippine Plate occurs. This motion leads to earthquakes throughout the Mariana Island chain.

The 1849 Guam earthquake and tsunami caused extensive damage to Agana, the largest city on Guam, as did the 1902, 1975, and 1978 earthquakes. The 1993 Guam earthquake measured Mw7.8, which was larger than the maximum event estimated by most scientists for that area at the time. Several high-rise buildings in Tumon Bay, mostly hotels, sustained enough damage to warrant demolition, while liquefaction and lateral spreading resulted in an estimated $8-10 million in repair costs to the main port for Guam.

Since 1995, the RMS® Guam Earthquake Model has been utilized by insurers and reinsurers writing business in Guam. Users of the model include multi-national companies underwriting commercial properties as part of a larger, global account. The RMS model allows companies to quantify earthquake risk in Guam within the context of a broader account or portfolio of risk.

Model Highlights

Model developed with support of seismologists and engineers with local experience

Hazard database for soil amplification potential and liquefaction susceptibility

Accounts for local/regional construction differences, building code changes, and lifeline resilience

Geographic Scope

Covers all areas of Guam; Saipan not currently supported

Exposure Data Resolution

Data input supported at the following levels of resolution: latitude-longitude, city, municipality, and island