In the realm of risk management, few stories are as remarkable as that of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. On January 15, 2009, Flight 1549, piloted by Captain Sullenberger,
encountered a perilous situation shortly after takeoff when it collided with a flock of geese,
causing both engines to lose power. What followed was a miraculous landing on the Hudson
River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew on board. This extraordinary event is a
powerful reminder of the importance of risk management and being prepared, not just in
aviation but in our everyday lives.
In this blog post, we’ll explore three valuable lessons this historical event teaches us about the
importance of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
Lesson 1: Building the Bank of Experience
In the words of Sully Sullenberger himself,
“One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on January 15, 2009, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”
Captain Sullenberger’s quote perfectly encapsulates the foundation of effective risk
management: accumulating experience, education, and training as valuable deposits in the
bank of preparedness. Sully’s 42 years of aviation experience, including his background as a
fighter pilot and safety expert, provided him with the expertise necessary to handle such a high-
stakes situation. It is essential to recognize that risk management is not a one-time event but a
continuous process of learning and refining our skills. Regularly investing in our knowledge and
skills bolsters our ability to make informed decisions when faced with unexpected challenges.
For example, a homeowner investing in comprehensive coverage should educate themselves
about the specific risks associated with their property, such as historical water drain overflows,
natural disasters prevalent in the area, and the condition of plumbing. By understanding the
potential risks and tailoring their coverage accordingly, they can ensure their assets are
Lesson 2: Preparedness in the Face of Uncertainty
The events of Flight 1549 remind us that risk management is not about predicting every conceivable risk, but rather preparing for the unexpected. Captain Sullenberger’s decision to land the plane on the Hudson River was a testament to his ability to assess risks in real-time and adapt to the circumstances at hand. His skillful execution of the emergency landing, coupled with the crew’s swift response, undoubtedly saved countless lives.
Insurance serves as a vital tool for preparedness in the face of uncertainty. When purchasing
insurance, it is essential to assess your risks comprehensively and select appropriate policies
that offer the coverage you need.
For instance, a manufacturing company may face various risks, including high-risk property
exposure, product liability claims, or business interruption due to frequent power outages. By
identifying these risks, creating risk management plans, and backing it all up with adequate
insurance coverage, they can safeguard their operations and mitigate potential financial losses.
Lesson 3: Collaboration and Effective Communication
Captain Sullenberger’s successful outcome was not solely due to his individual efforts but the
collaboration and effective communication among the crew, air traffic control, and emergency
In the same spirit, it’s important to have collaboration and effective communication with your
insurance provider. Engaging in open dialogue about your needs, concerns, and expectations
will enable the BakerHopp team to tailor policies and communication strategies that address
your specific requirements. Along the way, you can expect ongoing support, guidance, and
regular coverage reviews.
The Bottom Line
Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s extraordinary landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson River
serves as an inspiration for us all to adopt effective risk management practices. Building your
own bank of experience, educating yourself about risks, and investing in appropriate coverage
can enhance your preparedness for unexpected events.