Katrina was a nightmare. Unfortunate risk managers and propertyowners in the hurricane's wake were schooled firsthand in the artof property loss recovery. As in many schools, some pass and othersflunk. Even those who never experience a hurricane's wrath mighthave to recover financially and physically after significantlosses.

Professional athletes earn their pay on game day. For attorneys,it is when they finally go to trial. For risk managers,bread-and-butter time is right after their organizations havesuffered large property losses.

Loss assumes many forms. Fire can destroy a building. Anexploding boiler can reduce a plant to rubble. Another hurricanebarreling up from the Gulf can level an operation. Windstorm, hail,or earthquake can expose the best-laid disaster recovery plans ascredenza decoration (but they did look so nice in their neatbinders). This is when risk managers prove their worth, or revealshortcomings, to upper management.

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