Natural catastrophes still remain the principal cause of destruction on Earth. But these so-called “Acts of God” are not the only risks to which our societies are exposed: there are also “Acts of Man”, “Acts of the Devil” and the constant mutations and interactions between them.
The incident, publicly disclosed in December 2017, occurred when hackers successfully infiltrated the critical safety systems of an unidentified industrial facility, reported to be located in Saudi Arabia.
In their joint presentation titled “Risk and resilience of Infrastructures: how smart technologies can improve risk management”, Dr. Jennifer Schooling, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at the University of Cambridge, and Olivier Hautefeuille, Chief Underwriting Officer, Industrial and Commercial Risk at SCOR Global P&C, highlight the need for a resilience strategy with regard to infrastructure, and discuss how data can be used to better monitor infrastructures throughout their entire life cycle.
According to Olivier Hautefeuille, everyone recognizes the benefits of resilience in infrastructure. But the industry’s decision makers are still not automatically including criticality and resilience in their strategies, as highlighted by recent events. For example, the major flooding in Houston caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in September demonstrated the current flaws in modelling, and the need for investment to cope with the potential effects of climate change.
Today the infrastructure and insurance sectors share a common desire to further develop the concept of resilience. Thanks to data collection and analysis tools, we are able to better manage infrastructure throughout its entire life cycle. “Not having information costs money”, said Dr. Schooling, and we need to “transform the future of infrastructure through smarter information”. With predictive techniques, it is possible to fix things before they actually go wrong, and to do so with the least possible disturbance to users.
One of the challenges lies in obtaining consistent data – data comes from various types of sensors and different timeframes, and is of unequal quality and quantity. As Dr. Schooling emphasized: “The data you generate during the infrastructure construction phases needs to be matched with the data you generate during the operational phases to really understand how the infrastructure is operating and how it is serving the cities and the people that it has been built for”.
Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, University of Cambridge
Olivier Hautefeuille, Chief Underwriting Officer, Industrial and Commercial Risk, SCOR Global P&C, talks about resilience in the infrastructure sector