Reinsurer joins pandemic prediction coalition

Swiss Re is to open its risk platform to a global coalition aimed at better predicting future pandemics.

The move will see the reinsurer join The Trinity Challenge, which aims to better predict and prevent outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics by harnessing the power of data and analytics. Swiss Re has integrated COVID-19 related health, economic and social data in one unique platform, the Risk Resilience Centre. As a contribution in kind, the Swiss Re platform is being opened to participants of The Trinity Challenge.

It will enable advanced analyses of COVID-19 metrics and their connection with the status of countries’ medical systems, business or travel activity – in short, with the economy at large.

Ian Haycock, Chief Data Officer at Swiss Re, said: “As one of the world’s leading tech- and data-enabled reinsurers we have been using data to make the world more resilient for more than 150 years. We are proud to build on this legacy by opening our pioneering Risk Resilience Centre for the benefit of global health. It typically takes weeks to have data integrated and curated – our platform updates, checks and transforms datasets automatically and multiple times per hour, with a continuous flow of incoming data, allowing for cross-country comparisons and drilldowns on states and regions. Equipped with these cutting-edge capabilities, The Trinity Challenge participants can analyse the spread of a pandemic, the economic impact of lockdowns or the success of behavioural changes like wearing a mask in limiting further infection.”

By becoming a member of The Trinity Challenge, Swiss Re is joining major organisations across the academic, non-profit and private sectors including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline, McKinsey & Company, the Gates Foundation, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. The Trinity Challenge aims to develop ideas and tools for tackling the three stages of infectious disease emergencies – identification, response and recovery.

Swiss Re explained since the beginning of the pandemic, in collaboration with leading big data analytics company Palantir Technologies, it has been integrating relevant data sources related to COVID-19’s health, economic and social dimensions (such as aggregate mobility and behavioural patterns) its Risk Resilience Centre. The reinsurer said the platform provides access to the world’s richest data on COVID-19, integrating publicly available global data from 100+ sources. It is global in coverage, granular in depth, and continuously enriched. Swiss Re will make the data assets and analytics tools available to The Trinity Challenge participants based on their specific research topics.

Dame Sally Davies, Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, former Chief Medical Officer of England and Convenor of The Trinity Challenge, said: “Having access to this wealth of data and analytics creates a tremendous opportunity for academics, researchers and analysts. It provides the basis for new modelling, ground-breaking analyses and actionable solutions. We invite researchers and analysts from the public and private sector to apply to join the Challenge, work with Swiss Re and Palantir, and make their insights available as global public goods.”

The platform lets The Trinity Challenge participants evaluate how stressed a country’s medical system is at a given point in time and enables predictions by combining real-time hospital and ICU bed occupancy rates with model projections. This helps allow for better planning such as the assessment of needed medical resources and their allocation. Swiss Re is currently also reaching out to governments and multilateral development banks with the aim of providing them with access to the platform pro bono.

Organisations and individuals from the areas of data science, public health, economics, epidemiology, and industry who would like to learn more or are interested in participating in The Trinity Challenge can visit Formal applications opened on 12 October and successful submissions will compete for a prize of £10 million to be awarded in May 2021.