What does “fortuitous” mean?

What does “fortuitous” mean?

Happening by accident or chance. Occurring unexpectedly, accidental, casual, chance, contingent, fluky, inadvertent, odd.

This is a word we use in the insurance industry quite a bit to describe what an insurable risk is. And its meaning is as above.

However, many people use this word very differently.

Some believe this word is somehow related to the word “fortunate”, probably because of the first part of the word “fort…”. But why not stick to the word “Fortunate”?

Something fortuitous is something that happens out of the blue, accidentally or by chance. We use it in the insurance industry because a risk is only perfectly insurable when it is totally fortuitous.

To use it in the context that is now developing thanks to media people means you are lucky. So what confusion when we say, “the cyclone in North Queensland was a fortuitous event”. Thanks to sports commentators, they will think we are being cruel. How can a cyclone be a lucky or fortunate event?

Therefore when you hear people in the Insurance Industry talk about a risk being fortuitous, you will know what they mean and what it really means.