Personal risk management more important now than ever

Last night my cousin, one of the owners of a chain of
grocery stores,
was murdered in his home. Last week one of my acquaintances
thwarted a robbery attempt by a shotgun-wielding teenager. Look no further than
the front-page headlines or on television, where the story of a serial murderer,
Dexter, touted as “America’s
favorite serial killer,” has transitioned from cable television to a CBS
network hit, to observe how accustomed we have become to the violence and the risk
surrounding us.

Personal risk management has never been more important at
any time in our nation’s recent history, it seems to me. As we face an economic
downturn and increased vulnerability of our personal information, crime may
escalate. According to Jack Hungelmann, author of Insurance for Dummies, personal risk management (PRM) applies risk
management principles to consumers. PRM identifies, measures, and treats all personal
risk, followed by the formulation of a treatment plan and a way to monitor
changes. Simply put, it means that we meet periodically with our trusted
advisers to make sure our affairs are in order.

Many people depend on us. Our families, our coworkers, our
friends, even our pets—all have a vested interest in our safety. Bad things
happen, but we can employ various risk management techniques to ensure that if
tragedy strikes, we are as prepared as we can be. So what can we do to be
safer, both physically and financially?

I could never cover in one column all the ways we need to
ensure that we take care of ourselves and our loved ones before a disaster or accident strikes, so below I’ve offered a few
of the many sites available for more PRM information.

Start here. For a quiz regarding your personal risk
exposures and a primer on risk techniques, click here.

Chubb Insurance Company has a link on its great website that
will allow you to help protect your personal property from elements like fire
and burglary. Click here
for that link.

To help prepare you and your family for natural disasters or
acts of terrorism, the Red Cross has a site that can guide you. Click this link
for more information.

Do one more thing. Schedule an appointment with your
insurance agent to ensure that you have the coverage you need for you and your
family. There is never enough time in a day to complete the things we need to
do in our personal and professional lives. Let me urge you, however, to take a
few hours out of your busy schedule to prepare for adverse events. Do it for
yourself, but most of all, do it for the ones you love, because bad things do happen to good people.

If we expect the best but prepare for the worst, we will be
in a much better position to deal with disaster if, and when, it strikes.