Property Casualty

Risk Management Lessons From Bubble Wrap

Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Vice President of Commercial Risk & Safety, Property Casualty

It seems like there’s a “day” for everything these days. Whether it’s the weekly Taco Tuesday or the social media created “Send Your Mom $100” day, there’s always a reason to celebrate – even if the reason is slightly far-fetched. However, there’s one upcoming celebration we know you are sure to have on your calendar – Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

Celebrated the last Monday of January each year, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day might not actually be on your radar, but it should be. Why is this such an important date in the risk management professional’s calendar? Let’s look at what bubble wrap can teach us about effective risk management.

Extra Layer of Protection

For bubble wrap and risk management, the emphasis is on creating layers of protection. Just as bubble wrap shields fragile items from impact, risk managers build layers of controls to ensure that any potential harm is absorbed before it reaches the core of the business. These layers act as a safeguard, minimizing risks at various levels and preventing a single point of failure.

Extending this to your business, consider the risk of theft. While purchasing an insurance policy that can provide protection if a theft occurs is a great practice, wrapping the policy in layers of protection like security systems, effective premises lighting, and related safeguards provides additional cushion against undesirable events.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Just ask your kids – not all bubble wrap is created equal. While most bubble wrap we encounter features small air pockets, sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot and receive a package with the mega bubbles suitable for heavy-duty protection (and a lot of noisy childhood fun). Similarly, in risk management, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t suffice. Sometimes we need a big solution to control the risk (like adding to an existing sprinkler system). Other times, a simple change with almost no cost (like adding a safety suggestion box in the cafeteria) can be the difference between a significant risk and no risk at all.

Failure is a Lesson in Disguise

Bubble wrap was invented in 1957 by two engineers hoping to create textured wallpaper. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t take off like the inventors had planned. It was then reborn as an insulating material for greenhouses but wasn’t as effective as other techniques. Its future looked bleak. Three years later, a marketer came up with the idea of using it as a packaging material, and the rest is history.

Similarly, a key step in risk management is learning from what didn’t work until the right solution is discovered. Like the engineers and marketers who pivoted to find the right use for bubble wrap, we need to constantly evaluate new uses for old tools and create new tools to solve old problems.

Unsung Heroes of Protecting What Matters

So, there you have it – the unlikely parallels between bubble wrap and risk management. Just as bubble wrap quietly protects our fragile items, effective risk management operates in the background, keeping businesses safe from unexpected jolts. Cheers to the moments of smooth sailing and the silent victories that keep our businesses (and packages) safe and secure.

Ready to bubble wrap your business? Reach out today to start a conversation with one of our risk management experts!

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