Change How You Think About Risk. Your Company May Depend On It

Stories of resilience from Kerala floods and the challenges the state faces

Kerala floods
Indian Army personnel evacuate local residents in a residential area at Aluva in Ernakulam district | AFP

The grim situation in Kerala, where at least 324 people have died in rain-related incidents since May 29, has led to calls for it to be declared a national disaster. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said “the lives, livelihood and future of millions of our people is at stake”, while Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor urged the government to deploy more teams of the Army, the Navy, the National Disaster Response Force and the Air Force…


Change How You Think About Risk. Your Company May Depend On It

Entrepreneurs know they face a high likelihood of failure. What they’re not prepared for is being knocked violently from the playing field by some catastrophic event: floods that destroy their operations, hurricanes that wipe out key suppliers, financial meltdowns that obliterate demand.

While large corporations front-burner risk management, smaller companies are too busy putting out metaphorical fires to worry about real ones. That’s a mistake, say Wharton professors Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem, authors of the new book Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption.

“Disruptive events are not only here to stay but their intensity is growing,” Useem says​. “If you think about really major disruptions, such as the Japanese earthquake and the resulting tsunami, they affected supply chains all over the world. These events are consequential for just about…

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