Insurance Article, The Insurance Times 2020, The Insurance Times May 2020

Be Like a Risk Doctor


This write-up draws up a parallel between the medical profession and risk management profession. Both doctors and risk management professional perform their duties in treatment of patient/risk. The doctors have achieved the status next to God due to their ability to cure the patient through the medicine, similarly, the risk managers must strive to be like a doctors.

Medical Profession

 Medical profession is proven over the period of time to cure the disease in the patient and often termed as next to God. This status is given to them because they have a proven track  record to address the problem of patient.  When one is sick, only doctor comes in the mind.

In the earlier days (not very far, around two decades back in India) patient used to tell he symptoms of his disease and doctor used to measure his pulse, blood pressure, physical examination of body and use of stethoscope, after this he used to be ready to write the prescription which suggest the medicine the patient is to take to get cure. That time so much of medical tests were neither prevalent nor prescribed. It can be seen from the below diagram that the doctors use the same steps to prescribe the medicine as used by risk managers in the treatment of risk.

As we know today, doctors are best risk managers who can cure his patient with his medicine. This is because doctors have very high credible percentage of success rate. Not only that they are making fast progress in the modern medicine, dealing with new cases on everyday basis.

So every risk managers should strive to be like a doctor and may be called as ‘Risk Doctor” rather than “Risk Managers”

It is very important to add quickly about the high success rate of doctors is within their education system where they understand every human part of the body, various systems and their correlation.

If risk managers are to be like doctors, there is a need to strengthen the risk management education so that they can identify the correct disease and prescribe right medicine.

Risk Management Profession

The challenges with the risk managers are higher than those of doctors, this is because when a patient presents his problem to the doctor, then his disease is in a “present” form, and it is residing in his body. However, for the risk managers, risk is always “futuristic” and the symptoms have not yet fully crystallized for risk managers to fully assess the risk.  So information available to the risk managers are far less than the information available to doctors which makes his job far more challenging.

A classic example is in December 2019 when corona virus just arrived, so minor risk symptoms were available. Similarly, there are various examples when early sign of disease is available in the economy.

A good risk manager should able to smell the risk and make assessment about its likelihood and severity, because if the risks are not assessed properly, the patient (Company/economy) can go into coma.  The key challenge is the symptoms are not properly developed so the risk manager is to use his judgment based on past data/information, current local, global economic, demographic factors and expected future. Based on the assessment of risk, the right medicine is to be prescribed.  Past information which is available is to be converted into a probability form, assimilate current information and make a good judgment like a doctor to prescribe right medicine. This is much easier said than done.

In any professional world, judgment plays a key role, therefore whether it is a lawyer or a doctor they generally develop into a good professional under an experienced senior. Judgment can neither be bought nor can be learnt from the text books, it can only be acquired through practical experience and guidance.

For risk managers, every practical situation is a new disease, just like doctors, that he is to address and save the client.


Every risk manager should strive to be like a doctor. Doctors are best risk managers known till date.

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