Event Agenda


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JUNE 17, 2015

Location: Palmer House Hotel

3:00pm – 4:30pm                   Board Meeting

5:00pm – 7:00pm                   Opening Reception


JUNE 18, 2015

Location: CME, 20 S. Wacker Street

8:00am – 9:00am             Registration and Breakfast

9:00am – 9:10am             Welcome and Introductions: Richard Betts, WRMA President

9:10am – 10:00am           Opening Keynote – Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State UniversityDr. Phil Klotzbach is currently the lead author on Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project seasonal forecast products. He has worked with Dr. William Gray on these forecasts since he joined the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in 2000. During this time, he has also authored over two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles on various aspects of hurricanes as well as climate change. Dr. Klotzbach received his Ph.D. from CSU in 2007.

During his presentation, Dr. Klotzbach will be discussing the following topics:

  • Atlantic basin hurricane multi-decadal variability
  • Seasonal prediction for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season
  • Tropical cyclones and climate change


10:00am – 10:30am         Networking Coffee Break


10:30am – 11:30am         Panel: Local Power and Gas Industry Perspectives 

Regional electric and natural gas markets are frequently whipsawed due to short-term weather driven events.

  • Energy volume mismatches due to incorrect weather or demand forecasts
  • Short-term commodity prices spikes (and valleys) caused by extreme temperatures
  • Growing impact of wind/solar generation in many regions
  • Savvy end-user clients with ability to shift energy demand to non-peak periods

This session will focus on how wholesalers and retailers/end-users are navigating the competitive power and natural gas markets.  Emphasis on retail competition in direct access states (ex:  Illinois, Texas)

Moderator:          Brian Beebe, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions


Paul Rudewick, National Manufacturing Energy Cooperative

Rob Cowhig, Southstar Energy

Ben Pratt, E.ON Energy US

Eric Meerdink, Direct Energy Business


11:30am – 12:15pm             A Better Tomorrow: Innovations in Space-Based Weather Data

Today there are less than an estimated 20 satellites in orbit that are responsible for providing all of the world’s weather data. Many of these are past their intended decommission date and will either fail or no longer collect accurate information beginning in 2016, potentially resulting in a gap of satellite weather data that, according to the US Government, could last from 1 to 5 years. For the U.S. that could mean the first time in half of a century that it has not had access to crucial data for forecasting and identifying threatening weather conditions, such as tropical depressions and winter storms. Moreover, each of the weather satellites in orbit today is a large traditional satellite with high cost, high complexity, and low computing power. In contrast, nanosatellites cost a small fraction of these traditional satellites, are designed with the equivalent computing power of your latest smartphone, and are upgraded every 2-years to keep pace with the rapid technology advancements that we are used to in consumer electronics. This cycle of innovation has enabled the refinement of GPS Radio Occultation sensors into a smaller, lighter, and more power efficient technology that is now capable of being deployed into a nanosatellite constellation. Publicly funded weather satellites have already proven that when deployed on a small scale, GPS-RO makes a great impact on weather forecasting. On a large scale, the impact will be immense. Peter Platzer from Spire, a satellite-powered data company, presents how a constellation of GPS-RO satellites enable smarter forecasting and improved decision-making for businesses reliant on weather certainty.

Presenter:          Peter Platzer, CEO, Spire


12:15pm – 1:15pm           Networking Lunch


1:15pm – 2:00pm             GFS:  State of the Art Environmental Prediction to Preserve Life, Property and Commerce

The Global Forecast System (GFS) is a cornerstone of numerical weather prediction in National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, giving 13 km horizontal resolution forecasts four times a day out to ten days.  A quick history of the GFS will be reviewed, along with the current science and evaluation of the present state-of-the-art data assimilation and modeling system behind the GFS, as well as a glimpse of the future. Great progress has been made and there is improvement in National Weather Service forecasts.  However, given the quality of weather forecasting available, organizations involved in commodities and for example, energy trading, can minimize risk utilizing decision-support analysis, which requires access to past data, and applying the analysis results to real time predictions. The NOAA “Operational” Model Archive Distribution System provides real-time model output data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and archives at the National Climatic Data Center.  This model output data, adhering to the core principals of a-priori metadata standards, open-source libraries, and tools is an official distribution of NOAA.  Decision-support analysis, verification from archives, and real time predictions can be married together to provide custom alerts and advisories, and improved accuracy.

Presenter: Jordan Alperts, NOAA


2:00pm – 3:00pm            The Intersection of ILS and the Weather Market

The weather risk management market shares many similarities with insurance-linked securities (ILS). Not least among these are the parametric or index based nature of many of the underlying risk transfer contracts, the use of derivatives and capital market hedging tools, the collateralized nature of some of the capacity, the hedge fund approach of some managers and the cross-over between buyers and sellers of protection. It is natural that there will be some convergence between the two markets, with weather risk players increasingly tapping ILS players for access to low-cost capacity, while ILS players look to weather risk as a potential new diversifier. This session will cover the basics of the ILS market, new product offerings, convergence between the two markets and future of the industry.

Moderator: Sandeep Ramachandran, Axis Capital


Peter DiFiore, Cartersian Re Management Fund

Patti Guatteri, Phd, Swiss Re Capital Markets


3:00pm – 3:30pm            Networking Coffee Break


3:30pm – 5:00pm             Panel: The Agricultural Complex

The agricultural complex is inherently exposed to various event-driven and time-integrated weather perils (heat, drought, floods, cold/freeze, typhoons/hurricanes, etc.):

  • Expected supplies/yields are greatly impacted by current/future weather
  • Quality issues often stem directly from weather
  • Demand/costs can be modulated by weather

This session will focus on how weather information and risk management tools are viewed/utilized within the producer and commercial sectors of the agricultural complex.   Moreover, specific weather-driven grain and soft price sensitivities will be discussed within the context of current market conditions.

Moderator: Ron Marshall, General Manager of Agribusiness, Toyota Tsusho America


  • Dan Cekander, Grain Market Analyst
  • Tom Neher, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions
  • Nelson Neale, Land O’Lakes
  • Brian O’Hearne, President, eWeather Risk


5:30pm  – 9:00pm            Evening Event  (Townhouse Wine Bar: 111 S. Wacker Drive)

Join WRMA and Annual Meeting attendees for a cocktail reception and sit down dinner at Townhouse Wine Bar. Participation in this event is included in the cost of registration. Spouse/Companion passes are available for purchase.


JUNE 19, 2015

Location: CME, 20 S. Wacker Street

8:00am – 9:00am             Registration and Breakfast

9:00am – 9:30am             WRMA Business Meeting


9:30am – 10:15am            Meteorology/Forecasting

The boreal winter of 2014/2015 can be best described as highly changeable and dynamic.  A plethora of atmospheric and oceanic forcing mechanisms have constructively and destructively interfered to create memorable verifying weather regimes/patterns.  This session will provide a post-mortem of the 2014/2015 winter/preseason expectations as well as include forecasts for the 2015 summer and 2015/2016 winter seasons.

Moderator: Brad Hoggatt, MSI Guaranteed Weather


  • Eric Wertz, MDA Weather
  • Phil Hayes, Speedwell Weather


10:15am – 11:00 am             Regulatory Updates:  This session will cover existing and upcoming regulations impacting the weather market.

Presenter:          Claude Brown, Partner, Reed Smith


11:00am – 11:15am         Networking Coffee Break


11:15am – 12:00pm          End User Case Study: Wind Volatility and Its Impacts for Power Producers and Investors

This session will introduce the audience to a number of real world weather transactions that have recently been concluded in the marketplace. The content will cover initial risk identification, analysis, product design and how the deals were concluded.

Presenter: Jim McCaa, Vaisala