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Assessment of Seismic Loss Dependence Using Copula

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The catastrophic nature of seismic risk is attributed to spatiotemporal correlation of seismic losses of buildings and infrastructure. For seismic risk management, such correlated seismic effects must be adequately taken into account, since they affect the probability distribution of aggregate seismic losses of spatially distributed structures significantly, and its upper tail behavior can be of particular importance. To investigate seismic loss dependence for two closely located portfolios of buildings, simulated seismic loss samples, which are obtained from a seismic risk model of spatially distributed buildings by taking spatiotemporally correlated ground motions into account, are employed. The characterization considers a loss frequency model that incorporates one dependent random component acting as a common shock to all buildings, and a copula-based loss severity model, which facilitates the separate construction of marginal loss distribution functions and nonlinear copula function with upper tail dependence. The proposed method is applied to groups of wood-frame buildings located in southwestern British Columbia. Analysis results indicate that the dependence structure of aggregate seismic losses can be adequately modeled by the right heavy tail copula or Gumbel copula, and that for the considered example, overall accuracy of the proposed method is satisfactory at probability levels of practical interest (at most 10% estimation error of fractiles of aggregate seismic loss). The developed statistical seismic loss model may be adopted in dynamic financial analysis for achieving faster evaluation with reasonable accuracy.
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Keywords: Aggregate seismic loss; copula; dependence; risk management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

Publication date: 01 July 2010

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