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Risk Insider: Martin Frappolli

Grab Some Risk While You Can

By: | August 31, 2015 • 3 min read
Martin J. Frappolli, CPCU, FIDM, AIC, is Senior Director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes, and editor of the organization's new “Managing Cyber Risk” textbook. He can be reached at [email protected]

Because many of us in the risk management business make thoughtful and prudent decisions in life, you may be among those people who choose a vehicle for pragmatic purposes.  You may consider size, safety, and fuel economy.

If you’re like me, you might choose that pragmatic car even though it doesn’t quicken your pulse in the way that a red convertible performance coupe might do.  “Someday” you might buy that performance or luxury car.

Well, here is your excuse to act sooner. We’re keenly aware of how each new vehicle has more “smart” features than previous models, taking us closer to the future reality of autonomous cars.

We’re rushing toward a model of streaming transportation – driverless vehicles that arrive when you need them, take you where you need to go, then head off to another purpose for another passenger.

There’s plenty of upside to this – reduced need for parking, removal of the costs of ownership and insurance, reduced congestion, great strides in safety. I take some comfort that by the time I am no longer physically able to drive, I won’t need to.  If I can use a smart phone or whatever devices succeed the smart phone, I can get a ride.

From a risk management perspective, the move to streaming, on-demand autonomous transportation is a clear winner.

From a risk management perspective, the move to streaming, on-demand autonomous transportation is a clear winner. Cars will be safer when the possibility of human error is removed. Car insurance exists, after all, primarily as a means to compensate victims of human error.

Beyond the savings for vehicle repair, the reduction in bodily injury events will be cause to celebrate. Further, much of the capital and resources now devoted to automobile insurance may be freed up for other productive uses.

The flip side, though, is that we’ll pass up on the joy of motoring, the very notion of motor sport. Just as we’ve surrendered the beauty of album art when we moved from vinyl LP to CD to MP3 to streaming music, so too we’ll leave behind the rush of a fast muscle car and the twisty mountain road handled by the finely tuned suspension of a sports car.

You need to manage your own personal appetite for risk. While you may increase your risk of a traffic ticket or even an accident if you aggressively exploit the power of a sports car, you also mitigate the risk because these high-end vehicles typically are built with better braking systems and advanced safety features.

Were you eying that red convertible in the showroom when you bought that SUV?  The time for you to own and drive a car for pleasure is going away. Our future selves will marvel at the old days when multi-ton machines traveled at 70 miles an hour piloted by humans and subject to fatal error.

The question remains about how soon – but the change is coming. Here’s your rationalization to buy that performance car before your only role is that of passenger.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]