Florida Tech earns two grants for continuing, new hurricane model work

November 01, 2006

MELBOURNE, FLA. -- Dr. Jean-Paul Pinelli, Florida Tech professor of civil engineering, has won a $220,000 grant to develop an engineering model to predict hurricane insurance losses for commercial buildings, such as condominiums, office buildings and hotels. The grant is from the Florida Department of Financial Affairs Office of Insurance Regulation.

Additionally, he received a grant of $42,600 from that office. He will apply this grant to maintaining an engineering model he and his team have just completed to predict hurricane insurance losses for single-family homes. Work on this model of the vulnerability of single-family homes to hurricane wind storm damage has been ongoing since 2001.

The team is also examining reductions in risk through the use of retrofits and new construction methods. They are conducting a cost-benefit analysis of these mitigation measures.

Work under both grants is in collaboration with Florida International University in Miami, which manages the project, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA and Florida State University. The consortium's research efforts resulted in the Florida Public Hurricane Loss Projection Model, which is used by the office of Insurance Regulation to define and regulate insurance premiums.

Pinelli is also director of Florida Tech's Wind and Hurricane Impacts Research Laboratory (WHIRL). Working with him on the grants is Dr. Chelakara Subramanian, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Florida Institute of Technology

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