An investigative study on the modelling of earthquake hazard for loss assessment

Student: Helen Crowley
Supervisor: Dr J.J. Bommer

Abstract

Earthquake loss modelling based on a single earthquake scenario can be very useful, particularly for communicating seismic risk to the public and to decision makers. Nevertheless, for many applications, including decision-making processes within the insurance and reinsurance industries, and in seismic code drafting committees, it is necessary to estimate the effects of many, or even all, possible future earthquake scenarios that could impact upon the urban areas under consideration. In such cases, the purpose of the loss calculations is to estimate the annual frequency of exceedance (or the return period) of different levels of loss due to earthquakes: so-called loss exceedance curves. An attractive, cost-effective option for generating loss exceedance curves is to perform independent PSHA calculations at several locations simultaneously and to combine the losses at each site for each annual frequency of exceedance. An alternative, more time-consuming method involves the use of multiple earthquake scenarios to generate the ground motions at all sites of interest, defined through Monte Carlo simulations based on the seismicity model. The two procedures are applied to a loss model herein and it is shown that the latter is conceptually sounder and leads to a more realistic representation of the seismic hazard and associated aleatory variability when a number of sites are considered simultaneously in a loss model.

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