BMS Australia announces launch of Brisbane office and the appointment of Sam Mayne as Director

BMS Group Ltd. (“BMS”), the independent specialist insurance and reinsurance broker, today announces the launch of its Brisbane office and the appointment of Sam Mayne as Director of Wholesale and Facilities, reporting to Brett Field, CEO of BMS Australia.

Sam has over 13 years’ experience as a broker to the international insurance markets and joins BMS from Cooper Gay (Australia), where he served as Head of Wholesale. He started his career at Denis M. Clayton, now JLT Re, where he progressed to be manager of the global facilities team. In 2013, Sam relocated from the UK to Australia, where he continued to specialise in the binding authority and wholesale space as a Director at JLT Re.

Brett Field, CEO of BMS Australia, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Sam to BMS as we launch our Brisbane office. The Brisbane operation will increase our territorial reach and, as the only independent Lloyd’s broker with local Australian offices, goes further to demonstrate our commitment to the Australian market.”

Sam Mayne commented:

“I am delighted to be joining BMS and am very excited about contributing to the continued growth of the Group’s Australian business. BMS’ reputation in the market for finding entrepreneurial solutions for stakeholders via its strong, established relationships in Australia, Singapore and London, gives us a competitive advantage in our ambition to grow a market leading portfolio of business.”

BMS Tropical Update Joaquin 10/02/2015 12PM CDT

All week the discussion around the track of hurricane Joaquin has been about the uncertainty. Today the end game for Joaquin is much more certain as Joaquin has now started its northward movement away from the Bahamas where Joaquin grew to an impressive category 4 hurricane. Joaquin is the first category 4 hurricane to hit the Bahamas in October in 149 years (1866) and should easily cause billions in economic loss for the country.

The latest NHC advisory shows Joaquin gaining a bit of latitude, and most forecast model guidance now show that Joaquin will track northeastward away from the U.S. East Coast. There is only a small probability Joaquin will make U.S. landfall, and the NHC cone of uncertainty no longer touches the U.S. coastline. Nantucket, MA, has the highest probability of impact at 14%, with other northeast cities at a lower percentage. Overall, by Monday, Oct 8, Joaquin should be tracking between the U.S. northeast coastline and Bermuda as a weakening hurricane. It should be noted, however, that there is still a possibility that Joaquin could be captured by the coastal nor’easter moving up the coastline this weekend, which could pull Joaquin into New England. But again, the probability of that scenario is low.

There still remains a high flood threat along the East coast as Joaquin funnels tropical moisture northward. Rainfall totals will continue to increase across much of the East Coast with the potential that some locations could experience more than five inches of rain by the end of the weekend with a large part of South Carolina forecasted to experience 10+ inches of rain.

NOAAHPC

NOAA quantitative precipitation forecast 3 Day Forecast Rainfall amounts.

Minor coastal flooding is already occurring along the East Coast due to strong onshore winds being sandwiched between Joaquin to the south and strong Canadian high pressure to the north. That flooding will likely worsen over the next few days, regardless of the track of Joaquin.

Joaquin has generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE ) in 3 days than all other Atlantic storms during the month of September. Joaquin might have been a bit of a surprise given all the talk that this season is an El Niño year and overall activity should be lower than normal. However, Joaquin did not originate in the deep tropics off the coast of Africa where El Niño has its greatest influence. Instead, El Niño had very little influence on Joaquin because of the location of its origin. Joaquin formed at 27.5 degree north latitude and moved southwestward toward the Bahamas where it was able to feed off the very warm waters of the Bahamas.

TCHP_anomalies

The Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential anomalies around are among the highest in the Atlantic basin along the East Coast which will support continued genesis of tropical systems if they form

With 59 days left in the Atlantic hurricane season, we need to watch for more storms like Joaquin that form without El Niño’s calming influence. There is very warm water off the East Coast which will continue to cause headaches for the insurance industry right through the winter. These warm waters can strengthen tropical systems like Joaquin and/or stronger nor’easters like we are seeing this weekend. Historical climatology data suggests typical October tropical cyclone development should occur in the western Caribbean, but given the hostile conditions in the deep tropics due to high wind shear from El Niño, the development will likely be closer to the U.S. Coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico.

october

Climatological areas to see tropical storm development and the likely tracks of that development

BMS Tropical Update Joaquin 10/01/2015 12PM CDT

  “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” – Donald Rumsfeld

 

The quote above is often ridiculed, but it’s actually a brilliant description of Joaquin. In fact. the insurance and reinsurance industry are all too familiar with knowns and unknowns. Model uncertainty is part of doing business, and it is common knowledge that all catastrophe models have some degree of unknown error. There has been a push by insurance companies to funnel better location-level data into the catastrophe models in an effort to limit the overall model uncertainty in modeling risk at a location level.

Weather models are similar to catastrophe models in terms of uncertainty: uncertainties exist in every model run; but generally, the more detailed the input, the greater the accuracy of the output. Better input helps limit uncertainties. Already this year we anxiously awaited the arrival of a Tropical Storm Erika as a catastrophic hurricane to impact Florida hurricane, only to watch Erika fizzle a couple hundred miles south of Cuba.

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Meteorologist view after every new forecast model run for Hurricane Joaquin

I have highlighted the overall uncertainty in Joaquin’s forecast track all week. As anticipated, we have already seen the model and official forecast for Joaquin change drastically from east to west to back east.  Most arm chair meteorologist are unaware that behind the scenes increasing amounts of data detail are feeding the weather models to try to get a better picture of the overall atmosphere. Extra weather balloons are being launched at sites all over the Eastern U.S and Caribbean. NOAA and the U.S. Air Force have multiple aircraft sampling the environment in and around Joaquin. All this data is being fed into the weather model to hopefully limit overall uncertainty: just like in a catastrophe model.

Ironically, with more detailed input, the overall forecast for Joaquin has become more certain, but yet the overall track options for Joaquin extend past the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) cone of uncertainty in this case.  In my opinion, Bermuda, which is not even in the cone of uncertainty, is just as likely as Boston to feel Joaquin’s impact.

In the short term, Joaquin will significantly impact the islands of the Bahamas as Joaquin will fluctuate in intensity as a major hurricane for the next 24 – 36 hours. As mentioned yesterday, after 36 hours the door is wide open for several different track paths. A U.S. landfall is still possible, but the new forecast models (that are being fed all this higher resolution data) suggest a more eastward shift in track away from a U.S. landfall.

I consider the ECMWF model (image below -Right) to be very good and reliable, and it illustrates Joaquin moving out to sea and closer to Bermuda. I expect by Friday we will have a much clearer picture of where Joaquin will track this weekend, and with that, insured impacts can start to be calculated.

Oct1_Ens_Joaquin_Tracks

American (GFS Model) left and the European (ECMWF Model) right ensemble runs which in total is over 75 separate model runs of possible tracks for hurricane Joaquin.

So until the track is known it’s best to focus on what is known:

  • As Joaquin funnels tropical moisture northward, rainfall totals will continue to increase across much of the East Coast regardless of whether the hurricane hits land. Over a foot of rain could occur in some area which  will produce flash flooding.
  • Minor coastal flooding is already occurring along the East Coast from strong onshore winds being funneled between Joaquin to the south and strong Canadian high pressure to the north. That flooding will likely worsen over the next few days, regardless of the track of Joaquin