By Jonel Thames Leake, CPCU, ASLI, AAI, CPIW, DAE, CLP
2023-2024 International Secretary
International Association of Insurance Professionals
As an insurance agent, I use the risk management process on a regular basis when working with clients. Without realizing it, however, I have started utilizing those same steps in my personal life as well.
The steps of risk management are as follows: Identify the risk, analyze the risk, prioritize the risk, treat the risk, and monitor the risk. By using these steps, I was able to overcome a problem that I ran across recently when I started kayaking again. We live on the Maine coast and have had kayaks for several years. My husband and I enjoyed paddling around the area. When life got too busy, we sold our kayaks and focused on other activities. I always regretted that and when our son wanted to take up kayaking, we purchased a couple of kayaks to share. My first time back in a kayak started off great. I was able to get in off our float without any problem and quickly picked up the offset paddle motion. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. We then returned to the float at the end of our two-hour paddle. The tide had dropped and the height difference between the float and the kayak looked daunting. I quickly discovered that my body was not nearly as limber as it was when I was in my thirties. Ultimately, getting out wasn’t a pretty sight nor a good experience. For a few minutes, I wondered if my kayaking days were over.
I decided that I wanted to keep kayaking because the two hours that preceded getting out were everything that I remembered. How was I going to make the entire experience successful? Risk management stepped in. I identified the problem (my inability to easily exit the kayak) and started analyzing it. I realized that my less nimble body and arthritic shoulder combined to make it impossible to pop out like I used to. Since summer in Maine is short, finding a solution quickly was a top priority. To treat the problem, I turned to google. I discovered that I was not the only older individual who suffered from this problem. There were several articles and YouTube videos on how to get out. I selected a solution that seemed feasible, and field tested it. Once again, I was happy no one was around with a video camera because it wasn’t successful. However, it was better than the first time and I was pretty confident that with a little refinement, I would have a solution that would work. After a few tweaks, I am happy to report that the end of my kayak trips have been as successful as the rest of my time on the water. The final step of monitoring my solution was complete!
I could have easily given up when faced with this problem. Finding a solution originally seemed overwhelming and impossible. By using the steps of risk management, I had a road map on how to find and implement a solution. The next time you are faced with a problem, take a deep breath and identify the problem, analyze it, prioritize it, treat it and monitor your solution. Hopefully your results will be as positive as mine!
Jonel Thames Leake, CPCU, ASLI, AAI, CPIW, DAE, CLP is currently serving as IAIP’s International Secretary. When she isn’t at work or working on IAIP business. you can find her paddling off the Maine coastline or pedaling on the back of a tandem bike.