NU Online News Service, July 1, 10:04 a.m. EST

Risk modeler Eqecat will add to the hurricane model debate when it releases an update to its North Atlantic Hurricane Model on July 15.

Eqecat’s new version of its WORLDCATenterprise software will also include updates to its models for earthquake in Canada and typhoons in Asia.

The software contains 181 natural hazard models for 95 countries in six continents, the modeler says.

The hurricane model blankets 20 states along the U.S. coast as well as the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Gulf of Mexico. The modeler says the update includes a more advanced windfield model and improves upon its treatment of land interaction with wind.

Additionally Eqecat says, “Vulnerability functions for high rise structures will be updated to account for the vertical distribution of wind speeds,” and the model’s historical event set will be updated to include data from 1900 to 2009 (a total of 130,000 events).

Eqecat competitor Risk Management Solutions released a new version of its hurricane model earlier this year. Modeler AIR Worldwide last updated its model in June 2010.

Eqecat most recently was on the defensive when it issues an insured loss estimate of $3 billion to $5 billion after a June earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand drew criticism from officials there that it was too high.

The estimate was on top of predicted insured losses of $8 billion to $12 billion from a quake in Christchurch in February and an estimate of $4 billion to $6 billion in insured losses from a temblor last September.

The latest range of insured losses from Eqecat on the Christchurch quake represents a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in the damages from the February event. The modeler arrived at the estimate after looking at incremental damage due to the duration of the quake, damage to buildings that were in repair from the last quake, and uncertainty in loss adjustment and response.