Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Risk Management, Or In This Case The Lack Thereof

By now, the story of Abby Sunderland is well-known. She is the sixteen year old who was attempting a solo around-the-world voyage on her sailboat. Said endeavor came to an end when her boat was battered and disabled by a Southern Ocean storm. Fortunately, she was rescued. Unfortunately, she was in a state of needing rescue. As opposed to, say, figuring out what to do on her summer vacation.

More than a little criticism has been leveled at Sunderland's parents, who in their defense have protested loud and long that their daughter is an experienced sailor and the trip was her idea. For some reason, this line of thought has failed to move many. This, perhaps, has something to do with the minor detail of their not only putting their daughter in harms way -- what, they thought she'd never run into bad weather? -- but how an experienced sailor would know better than to be traipsing around the Southern Ocean this time of year, as in the southern hemisphere fall is transitioning into winter. Actually, an experienced sailor would never attempt such a trip in the first place. Or let a teenage girl foolishly play gloryhound. Also, given the recent admission that the Sunderlands had signed up to a "reality" TV show, the motivation being strictly personal ambition becomes even less plausible.

That all said, to me the capper is this fact:

Abby Sunderland had no insurance for the trip.


Although the parents plead an inability to pay as the reason, the fact is no insurer with a shred of common sense would touch this situation, no matter how high a premium could be charged. Certainly there are policies available for extreme risk takers, providing they're willing to pay through the nose. However, there is another factor in assessing risk.

It's called common sense.

Common sense says you don't put a sixteen-year old girl by herself on a forty-foot long sailboat and say the ocean's out that way; have at it. You just don't.

Shakespeare was right. Lord, what fools these mortals be.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree.Thumbs up!

    BTW, who would pay for the rescue of their daughter? Of course, the taxpayers you and me and everyone else>: