After being hit by a car, I was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The following Sunday was Father's Day. I didn't see my three children that ranged from eight weeks to four years that year because infants and toddlers are not allowed into the ICU area.
After the accident I had a singular focus, recovering. The physical recovery was a long one, involving years of physical therapy. The financial recovery was just as hard, because insurance companies wouldn't pay nearly $100,000 in medical bills. That brings us back to the title, how does a Father's Day in intensive care change a trillion dollar industry?
I was forced to pay the unpaid medical bills, or have my credit ruined. There was never any question that I didn't owe the money. I was fully covered with insurance, and the driver that hit me was 100% at fault. When I finally recovered the money, I vowed to apply my technology background and solve this problem so no other family would suffer the same problem.
I Changed my Life so no Other Family Would Suffer the Same Problems
Solving the problem meant changing my life. First I dedicated myself to writing a book about my insurance experience. The book, Injured Money, was a full time effort that was both cathartic and helped get my thoughts organized on how to approach the problem of insurance companies being able to delay and deny claims, at will.
It was while writing the book that the solution to this problem dawned on me: Consumers need a grading system that brings transparency to the insurance industry. The system needed to include the things consumers' care about: price, protection (claims payment) and service.
Finally, Big Data Helping Consumers get the Best Car Insurance Companies
In concept, this was quite straightforward. The system would be a performance measure similar to how nearly every other industry is held accountable. At the outset of the grading system development, the company ValChoice was formed. The ValChoice mission was elegantly simple and remains so to this day. We use big data to help consumers of insurance know if they are getting the price, protection (claims payment) and service they pay for and deserve.
To meet the objective of informing every consumer dictates the service be free. So that's what we did - developed a free report that any consumer of insurance in the country can access the internet.
Consumers Have a Right to Know
It's only fair that consumers have this information. By law and contract, people are required to spend nearly a trillion dollars per year on insurance. While the industry thinks of itself as highly regulated, nearly no useful information is available to help consumers make good choices about the insurance they buy. Instead there are talking animals, cute jingles and billion dollar-advertising budgets.
That Father's Day spent in the intensive care unit is a long way behind me now. However, that time in my life is unforgettable. It takes a dramatic and traumatic event to cause a person with a family to risk what they have in order to solve a problem that many in the industry don't want solved. My experience was dramatic and traumatic enough for me to risk my family's future. Now I take pride every single time someone downloads a free report from ValChoice. Finally, that unknowing consumer has the power to make a better decision about how to protect themselves and their loved ones with insurance.
As you enjoy Father's Day this Sunday with your family, spend some time thinking about how you can find a way to pay forward your experience and help others. Paying forward personal experiences that help others is one of the most rewarding actions any person can take.
Have a Happy and Healthy Father's Day