Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weather or not....This is kinda cool [UPDATED]

About two months ago, our little corner of southwest Ohio was treated to a major thunderstorm, complete with "golf ball sized" hail.

As an aside: I had heard the term "golf ball sized hail" before, but never seen it myself. I imagined a roughly 2" diameter sphere. What came from the sky was, in fact, a rather flat piece of ice about 2" in diameter. Very scary.

All the west-facing windows at my office were smashed, and the damage around us was widespread. My brother-in-law was driving home from his son's baseball game and ran smack into the middle of the storm; his windshield was cracked in several places (luckily, there were no injuries).

Now, re-wind that a bit, and consider this: how helpful would it have been to my BIL if he'd had "Live:Wire® HailZone™ data and radar analytics to provide advanced warning of severe hailstorms?" This new program, a joint venture between Progressive Insurance and Weather Central, provides "automatic alerts via text message up to thirty minutes before hailstorms, high winds, or other severe weather."

Currently, this program is available only to Progressive insureds, but don't be shocked when we see the Weather Channel team up with State Farm, or whatever.

Very cool.

UPDATE - MORE COOL (NEW) TECH: Recently, I had some trouble writing a new life insurance policy on a gentleman who was, as we knew upfront, a diabetic. After doing a routine pre-screen, we applied; as part of the process, he had to undergo a brief medical exam. Unfortunately, his A1c "score" came back at 12.3%.

After a bit of Googling, I determined that this was almost twice as high as a "controlled" diabetic; we're still noodling out how to proceed.

But I really didn't know what an "A1c" score actually was or meant, and had to go Googling to find out. Not a huge deal, granted, but still: wouldn't it be nice to have that kind of info at my fingertips? What if I was away from my desk and had no immediate web access?

That's where the "first free mobile app to help consumers decipher their medical tests" comes in. Developed and offered by Lab Tests Online, this little widget "connects consumers to reliable, unbiased information that enables them to have more informed conversations with their doctors."

It seems to me that it would be just as handy as a quick reference for just about any medical test, even when it's just for one's own peace of mind.
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