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Dan Karr on the Private Client Risk and Resilience podcast with Kurt Thoennessen

ValChoice Tools in the Private Client Market


It was an honor to be interviewed by Kurt Thoennessen for the Private Client Risk and Resiliency podcast. The podcast focuses on the unique capabilities needed to best serve the private client market.


Kurt asks excellent questions about the data, where it comes from and how it’s used to help both agents serving the private client market as well as individuals purchasing insurance to protect their assets. The private client market is particularly sensitive to insurance quality since consumers are paying a high price for their insurance. No consumer, nor their agent, want to find out after it’s too late that the company was unwilling to pay a legitimate claim, or made the process difficult for the client. Listen to the podcast by clicking the image below.


Why ValChoice?

Kurt @0:35: “Why did you create the company?”

Dan @0:45: Back story on being hit by a car and how that led him to founding ValChoice.

Kurt @3:25: “What methodology did you develop to show how well insurance companies pay claims?”

Dan @3:30: “We’re a data analytics company. We collect data that gets rolled up by state departments of insurance…”

Most Accurate Data Source

Dan @3:40: “The reason that’s our data source is because it’s the most accurate and the highest quality. We never use data from user surveys or web reviews.”

Dan @4:00: “Our business model is completely about accuracy and showing consumers how companies perform as accurately and precisely as we possibly can.”

Dan @5:40: “We commonly hear ‘Wow, you nailed it. This is exactly how companies perform.'”



How well do carriers perform?

Kurt @6:00: “In my role as an agent, one of the things I do every day is carrier selection.” “This is a tool that anyone in the country can use and see…based on the data how the carrier performs.

Dan @7:15: “We don’t want to market to every company. We want to tell consumers who’s best.”

Kurt @7:45: “Having an extra data point that’s third party, trusted source, to help validate the carrier is extremely helpful.”

25,000 Companies Rated. Are all Companies Rated?

Dan @8:05: “We have criteria in order to reliably grade a company.”

Based on Ability to Pay?

Dan @9:30: “We don’t look at financial strength at all. A lot of people ask us why we don’t do that. That’s something the industry has sold on and promoted for a long time. That’s been kind of fundamental to insurance. Here’s why. The way we look at is 1) that’s already done. There are companies doing that very capably. To do that again in a different way there’s really no value to the industry or to the consumer to do that. 2) when you look at the number of companies that fail and have to be taken over by a regulator..merge in with another operating entity…that’s very rare compared to a person that’s dissatisfied with how a claim is handled. We believe that by orders of magnitude, in terms of frequency, what we’re doing is solving a problem that has been opaque for consumers. Now they can really understand what they’re getting. That doesn’t replace considering financial strength. It’s a very different metric, and even a more important metric.”

Advertising and Insurance Companies

Dan @11:35: “Last year, in 2019, the three largest auto insurance carriers combined spent about $5 billion in advertising. $5 billion. That’s a massive number. Much of that advertising is focused on talking about how price is what matters. Based on my experience, I don’t buy that. I think it doesn’t matter what you pay for insurance. If it won’t pay your claim, you shouldn’t have paid anything for it.”

Dan @12:05: “It’s a matter of protecting your assets and your family…A carrier shouldn’t be reflected as good because they have a price. They should be reflected as good because they have a fair price and they have good protection. We’re giving it a little bit different dimension that how others are looking at it.”

Kurt @13:00: “What is the primary benefit you hope people receive when they use the information from ValChoice?”

Dan @13:05: I don’t want what happened to me to every happen to anyone else. It shouldn’t. I don’t think there’s another way to prevent it. You can’t regulate it out. You can’t pass laws to prevent it from happening.

Dan @13:30: “We tried to characterize companies in different ways . We tried to characterize as mutual or reciprocal exchange or publicly traded or all the different categories. What we found was that it different work. As we met these companies and got to know them and shared the results of our analysis with them, it’s management style…There’s no way you can know that by just meeting or going to dinner with the people. You have to do it based on the numbers. It has to be based on analytics.”

The Alternative Approaches

Kurt @14:25: “I’ve seen other sites that are aggregating testimonials and customer reviews.”

Kurt @14:55: “Can you share your thoughts on the differences between your solution to this trusted third party source vs. a testimonial.

Dan @15:10: “I don’t believe in testimonials at all.”

Dan @15:35: “If there are a lot of reviews, guaranteed, it’s paid for. When somebody is being paid to do it, they’re probably not going to write a bad review.”

Dan @15:45: “The interaction between a consumer and an insurance company is very low. Very light touch between the two. The chances of having meaningful input is basically non-existent unless you’ve had a significant claim. That’s why we go back to data. You have to use data because not only is it real data, it’s data that’s been vetted by state departments of insurance.”

How ValChoice is Helping Consumers Make Better Decisions

Kurt @17:25: “This is a tool I use in my business. I think it’s helpful information…It also helps me to explain the quality of a carrier that I’m explaining to a client.”



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