Remembering Jon Gascoigne

The death of Jon Gascoigne was very sad news, and was particularly felt at Hydro-GIS as we had a long standing relationship.

Jon actually attended the same university (Lancaster) as our Director of Hydrology, Harvey Rodda, and although they did not know each other that well as they were in different departments, it formed a common thread when they met professionally while Jon was at Benfield Grieg and Harvey was working at RMS, in 1999. When Harvey left RMS and joined PBA, he and Jon remained in contact to discuss potential business in flood catastrophe modelling which culminated with both of them working on the development of a flood catastrophe model for the Czech Republic. This was an exciting project involving working in Prague at the Benfield and PBA offices, and meeting with officials from the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Service. It was also very timely as soon after the project started, the worst flooding on record was experienced in Prague in August 2002. This became a benchmark event for European flood management and triggered widespread interest in flood catastrophe modelling, leading to the formation of Hydro-GIS through the work on the Central and Eastern European flood model for Aon, which started in 2004.

Jon had some time away from working in the insurance sector, then joined Willis in 2010 and our excellent working relationship resumed with Hydro-GIS being awarded consultancy work from Willis to monitor further flooding in the Czech Republic in 2013 and provide hydrological data. He remained a vital contact in the world of catastrophe modelling and re-insurance, always providing useful updates on the latest activities from the various companies involved in the business. Jon left Willis and moved to the Centre for Disaster Protection, but with the restructuring of this organisation following the end of DFID, he was given a position as a part-time contractor which allowed him to take on other consultancy work and he was engaged as a consultant working together with Hydro-GIS for site-specific flood risk projects.

On a personal note, Jon was always very genuine, approachable and willing to give time to others. With his background as a geographer, he was always interested in working in new locations and meeting people of different cultures, as highlighted in the work in the Czech Republic. Fittingly, the last contact we had was at the 2023 Oasis Conference in London. Although Jon did not attend due to other work commitments, he made time to pop down to the venue after the presentations had finished just to catch up with a few former colleagues.

We are very grateful for the opportunities that Jon gave Hydro-GIS, and all of us at Hydro-GIS will miss him dearly, as a person, and his valuable insights into happenings in the world of catastrophe modelling and re-insurance. Our thoughts are with his family.