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  • Writer's pictureTanya Berndt

Defining Risk Management in Everyday Life

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

I consider myself extremely fortunate to work with some of my best friends. Why not spend 40 + hours a week with people you care about deeply and really want to succeed both professionally and personally? I've had the honor of helping one of these friends study for her big insurance licensing exam. I can clearly remember how difficult this test was for me, especially the preparation of trying to understand something so foreign and associating the concepts to something I actually could relate to.

My Rosie and Reilly, Labrador Retrievers

We started to review many of the concepts together but the one term that I thought was probably the most important to understand was the term of risk management. Little did she know, when she asked me the meaning of risk management, I was going to find the very best example to help her relate it to everyday life. Also, little did she know that her husband's career was risk management. (She found that out later and a cute twist to the story).

According to, risk management is the identification, analysis, assessment, control and avoidance, minimization, or elimination of unacceptable risks. As a commercial insurance risk manager, I generally think of risk management in relation to businesses. To business owners, making sure their business is properly protected and they are using tools to ensure their risks are minimal, is of utmost importance. But let's change the conversation and relate the term to everyday life, and for this blog's sake and my friend's sake, life as a pet owner.

My labrador retrievers, Reilly and Rosie are my family. While, some people might think we are crazy (yes we are those weird animal people) my husband and I apply the term of risk management strictly to them. They are by far our biggest expense, month after month, but we wouldn't want it any other way. We've identified and analyzed their well being and have put into effect ways to control and avoid, minimize or eliminate their risks. Their risk, in this case, would be living an unhealthy life or having to cross that rainbow bridge before their life is fully lived.

We are vigilant about their vaccinations and medications. Every month we mark our calendars with the very day they should be receiving their heartworm pills. To help keep the fleas and ticks away, we only use all-natural dog flea balm straight from a local doggie day care. We have never missed the ultra important annual checkup with the veterinarian. They drink the same filtered water that we drink. We do not use any type of chemicals on our lawn (hence the way it looks). Their food is grain free and all natural. In fact, we either purchase a majority of their food from a local farmer or order their food from a retailer that tailor makes and delivers the food to our doorstep. Their dog treats contains high quality cannabidiol (CBD). We provide them with as much exercise as time allows. You will almost always find us on the weekends taking them for 5 mile walks on a local trail. On the times we need to travel, you will be relieved to know that they always stay at one of the highest quality pet resorts around. In fact, they sometimes stay in a nicer "hotel" than we do. Their hotel room is complete with a suite and two dog beds, 24/7 animal planet, a salt water pool in the shape of a dog bone and an owner that will hand feed our dogs raw food in the event they aren't eating. If something out of the ordinary would happen, such as the time Rosie swallowed a bully stick whole, we had the pet insurance in place to make sure the proper surgery was quickly obtained so she was healthy again.

Whether you think our risk management strategies are strange and over the top, if nothing else, this helps you understand (and my friend) the concept and the tools we use to minimize our dog's risk.

As an insurance agent and insurance risk manager, I also provide the tools, strategies and assessments to ensure your business's risks are minimized. The conversation of risk management with your insurance advisor is probably one of the most important conversations you should have. If your insurance advisor is not looking for ways to minimize your risk, you may want to have the conversation with someone who does. Whether it's your business, dog or family, the risk should always be identified and analyzed.

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