This paper aims to help financial and insurance practitioners better recognize, assess, and respond to large scale, large impact, rare events (LSLIRE’s) which are occurrences currently often wrongly labeled as being unpredictable black swans. A black swan, as Nassim Taleb defines it in his popular book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Random House & Penguin (2007-2010 2nd. Ed.) is 1) an outlier event, which 2) carries extreme impact, and 3) “makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact.” Elsewhere, Taleb says it is unpredictable, which is why people concoct explanations. Other people use the term in many and various ways, to enfold events missed by most people because they are rare, missed by computer models and/or experts, and to include events they simply seem personally to have misunderstood.
The paper also discusses building better ways to assess such events’ background characteristics, emergence dynamics, logics, and other foreseeable attributes. A secondary focus is educating practitioners to better respond - whether to limit damage or to take advantage of - the opportunities that arise from what others are likely to miss or misjudge during and after the emergence of LSLIRE (AKA black swan) events.