Institut  für Versicherungswirtschaft der Universität St. Gallen  
Institute of Insurance Economics
University of St. Gallen
Tannenstrasse 19, CH-9000 St.Gallen, Switzerland
Phone: +41 71 224 79 65

Computer-based Support for
Comprehensive Personal Risk Management

Security is a basic need of human beings. However, people in our society often do not attempt to achieve total security but are content with appropriate protection from major risks. The development of modern society has increasingly made this task the responsibility of the individual who can no longer rely on the social net formerly provided by big families. On the one hand, the development of technology, which has introduced new and hardly assessable risks, undermines people's sense of personal safety, on the other hand it offers new means to improve risk management.

It is the objective of this book to show how individuals may identify, assess, and manage their risks in a systematic manner by means of a computer-based tool.

To that intent, in the first part, the various aspects and definitions of the term "risk" will be discussed and then summarised in a comprehensive view of risk. Thus, the differing attitudes of individuals are taken into account. For instance, one person may consider risk to mean possible damage, another may think of a potential series of unfortunate circumstances with adverse effects, and yet another might associate the term with something that jeopardises the realisation of personal goals.

Personal Risk Management (PRM) is only slightly different from the risk management of a company. The distinctive difference lies in the fact that companies, especially major ones, employ professional risk managers whereas most individuals, provided they consciously assess their risks at all, merely do so as an afterthought. Thus, PRM support of individuals not only has to adapt to one's particular understanding of what constitutes a risk, but also to the particular approach of dealing with it. A parent, for example, is likely to be interested in the risks facing his or her child in the future, whereas another individual primarily wants to find out whether it makes sense to take out a life insurance policy. However, in addition to supporting individuals in their specific approach, there should also be advice on how to optimise the procedure. Hence, a taxonomy of PRM approaches will be developed on the basis of a comprehensive view of PRM.

In order to assess the risk that individuals face in a systematic and comprehensive way, a model of the individual will be presented. Physical, mental, financial and material aspects will be taken into consideration as well as the individual's social, economic, technological and ecological relationships within his or her environment. Furthermore, the human life cycle will be taken into account.

The IT part of this book deals with the problem of how the elaborated concepts of PRM support can be transformed into a computer-based solution by means of modern approaches to software engineering.

A system architecture will be presented. In order to realise it, the domain must be modelled accurately on the conceptual level. An objectoriented model meets this criterion by clearly representing the models that were outlined in words in the first part by means of Unified Modeling Language diagrams.

The IT-implementation aspects will not only be discussed theoretically but a prototype with its emphasis on the goal-oriented approach will also be presented. An empirical study based on the prototype provides evidence for the fact that the suggested approach can be implemented.

About the Author:

Patrick Steiger, Dr. Inform. (Ph.D)

I.VW-Schriftenreihe, Band 38

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Book: Computer-based Support for Comprehensive Personal Risk Managment

This book is written in English!


Steiger Patrick:
Computer-based Support for Comprehensive Personal Risk Management. IVW-Schriftenreihe, Band 38, St. Gallen, 2000
ISBN 3-9521493-4-9