Fourth Floor Tails

I blogged recently about why I park on the fourth floor of the Cape Town airport parkade, and also about understanding and utilising unlikely but extreme events to your advantage. There is actually a link between these two posts.

Parking on the top floor does have a cost. It takes longer to drive up all the ramps and does, perhaps, on average take longer than parking on the most convenient floor every time. This extra time is a premium I pay to reduce the potential for really bad outcomes and thus optimising the parking problem. For example:

  • I avoid the situation of attempting to park on a lower floor (trusting the untrustworthy electronic vehicle counter) and, after driving around for a while trying to find parking, having to give up and try a different floor. This much longer time, even if it only happens rarely, is a much worse outcome than 30 seconds on every flight. It can easily be the difference between making and missing a flight.
  • I don’t have to worry about remembering where I parked my car. I don’t know that I am more forgetful than the average traveller, but travelling almost every week makes each trip blur into the next. I don’t waste headspace on trying to remember where I parked my car, and I don’t worry about forgetting. I have the peace of mind from having purchased a time of insurance against the risk of forgetting where I parked.

I get no value out of successfully memorising my car location, but gain from removing this risk and this worry from my routine.

If your company has a foreign currency exposure due to imported input components, this is a risk and a worry over which you have no control. Your energies are better expended elsewhere, on the operational and sales issues that you can effectively change. Get rid of these risks and get on with your real business.

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.

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  1. Well, that’s the whole principle of insurance: swapping a potential huge risk (which might or might not occur) for a much smaller cost, but at least you’re 100% certain of it. That cost of course being the policy premium.

    And furthermore, because most people are averse to large risks, we’ll actually overpay slightly on the small policy premium, and hence insurance companies can make a living off that bit extra that we’re willing to pay.

    Now why do people play the Lotto!?!?

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