As those who know me will appreciate, I am fascinated by the many and varied influences on our perception of what is risky and why in life and how this shapes our attitude and behaviour.
Recent storms and flooding in the UK has provided much media coverage and you'll be realising now that I'm a BBC Radio 4 listener. So here's another thing that struck me as significant when I listened on Thursday, but has kept coming up in my mind.
There was this Dutch guy speaking about flooding of homes in the Netherlands and how, since the great North Sea floods in 1953 it has been impossible to get insurance for water ingress into buildings. This is just an everyday fact for Dutch people, so of course their attitude is not the one I heard a British guy say yesterday morning…
"It's OK - if the water comes in we'll just claim on our insurance"
The more striking thing though was the Dutch guy was not bemoaning the fact that they can't insure for water damage - he was remarking how, given this fact, the behaviours of all in society have shifted to make the prevention of flooding a priority.
With all downside risks (things that might happen that would be bad) we can respond to the cause, or we can take the chance and then hope to recover (at least something) of what we've lost.
Take away the chance to insure, and we seem to naturally adapt to thinking much more creatively about preventing loss in the first place.