SUNSTONE®: Terrorism Analytics and Advisory

Terrorism modelling, unlike many natural hazards, cannot rely on historic data exclusively: the peril is constantly evolving. Terrorist threat fluctuates and is fluid around the world. Increasingly, attacks in the West are carried out by lone wolves or small cells intent on causing civilian casualties rather than economic disruption, a marked change from the bulk of terrorist activity 10 to 20 years ago.

While businesses of all sizes are confronted with serious challenges from Islamist extremism, the threat from nationalist/separatist groups, right-wing extremism and other political grievances should not be underestimated. The outlook is set to become more diverse as cyber and drones expand the array of possible terrorist attack vectors, the range of CBRN scenarios broadens and otherwise simplistic attacks are augmented by international support. The insurance market must mitigate the wider range of threats, and new broader coverage that includes loss of attraction, active shooter and cyber can provide this. It is the role of risk advisors to develop sophisticated modelling and analytics tools to assess these threats, and communicate their results to risk carriers.

In reality there is conservatism in the perception of terrorism that can be eroded. The industry experiences few shock losses but consumes capital and uses it inefficiently. By better understanding the peril, capital can be released and deployed more effectively.

At JLT, we understand that terrorism advisory should be emphasised because the perception of terrorism often differs from the reality, because risk assessment can be qualitative as well as quantitative it benefits from discussion and because there is subjectivity and uncertainty that requires interpretation discussion.


Sunstone® is the JLT Re terrorism tool, which provides a contemporary solution narrowing the gap between the perception of terrorism risk and the reality. Designed and developed by insurance industry and terrorism experts, Sunstone®:

  • Allows for the consideration of terrorism from first principles and uses this methodology instead of mathematical algorithms to identify and assess the current and emerging terrorism risk.
  • Provides stochastic, deterministic and scenario based analysis to identify and quantify accumulation, concentration and portfolio risk.
  • Visualises exposure to assist in identifying opportunities.

Sunstone® offers a change in the understanding of modelling terrorism for reinsurance portfolios as the model allows for:

  • Early identification of cross portfolio and cross class accumulation and has been designed to assist with visualising large amounts of risk data.
  • >Data that can be utilised by reinsurers when building internal models and includes both incident data and target lists.
  • Reasonable analysis of frequency by attack type and target type. The global target database can be used as a proxy for threat or as a target list to focus internal models.When your insurance broker acts as agent for you and another company involved in the same or a related loss situation, they will advise you and the other client of conflicting interests. They will also take immediate steps to segregate the claim servicing functions provided to both of you.

Our Services

Bespoke studies often follow Sunstone modelling or make use of Sunstone datasets. These supporting services are very much part of the Sunstone suite and refine the assessment of risk. JLT Partner with external specialists when required. 


  • Risk based decisions need to consider both threat and exposure. As a result, the JLT Analytics team provides the following supporting products and services: 
    World Risk Review is JLT’s proprietary country rating platform across 9 insurable credit, political and security perils. This provides a basis for comparison across global portfolios. 
  • Within a country there is a much richer, detailed picture of threat. GTD shows where events have occurred. Sunstone Targets show which areas are attractive for terrorists. 
  • Independent risk assessments that can consider the probability and consequence of different attack types in a given region or against specific industrial sectors or clients. 
  • The mapping of threat and risk scoring can be taken to a pinpoint granular level by layering further dataset that are symptomatic of local threat.
  • Site surveys JLT personnel, with military and counter terrorism backgrounds and security consulting experience, can deploy to client sites around the world. Site vulnerability and emergency preparedness can be reviewed. Such studies can support a probable maximum loss assessment and provide recommendations for improvement. Training sessions on threat, emergency preparedness and crisis management can also be provided. 


For conventional risks, far greater sophistication and precision is possible. Conservatism can be stripped away and capital released to be used more efficiently. 

  • Sunstone scenario analysis is a first step. A 10 tonne vehicle is a very low likelihood event (only one historic terrorism incident comes close. It is technically very hard to achieve). However this scenario has resulted in 50% reduction on 100% blast zone.
  • 3D Cityscape modelling is a much more detailed scientific approach for calculating blast loads and then applying engineering techniques to assess structural response. Developments in technology now make this possible on a city wide scale. In recent exercises for clients this approach has seen 20-40% reductions on 2D concentric ring models.
  • Sunstone impact curves can be applied to two-dimensional site footprints or industry specific impact curves can be generated. The level of sophistication can be increased to provide in-depth PML studies, for which engineering modelling techniques are incorporated.

 Contact Us

Stephen Hudson
Senior Terrorism Consultant
+44 (0)20 7886 5537

Jolyon Mitchell
Terrorism Consultant
+44 (0)20 7895 7746


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