HIIQ Makes Massive Donation to Victims of Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael was the one of the strongest storms to hit the contiguous United States when it made landfall on Florida’s Panama City Beach on October 10, 2018.

The destruction was unprecedented—at least 60 lives lost between the United States and Central America; tens of billions of dollars’ worth of damage and extensive power outages throughout the Florida Panhandle.

Many employees at Health Insurance Innovations were left wondering what they could do to help those whose lives had been affected by this massive storm. As Floridians, many of them know what it’s like to be in the path of a hurricane. Watching the news as the threat of 100+ MPH winds move slowly to the place you call home is an all-too-real one when you live in the Sunshine State.

An email was sent asking for much-need supplies or cash donations if anyone could spare them. And, seemingly overnight, the help started pouring in from employees of HIIQ’s home office in Tampa, all the way to those working as far away as Mountain View, California. The conference room began to fill with everything from palates of water to canned goods for residents of the Florida Panhandle.

Gerod Vernon, VP of Sales at HIIQ, had planned to drive the supplies up with the help of a tractor trailer and his pickup truck but, obtaining the proper permits to drive in such dangerous conditions was virtually impossible. Not one to give up easily, Vernon came across a post on Facebook that changed all of this.

“Through the power of Facebook, a couple of friends, and a buddy who helped us find someone to come down to Tampa with an 18-wheeler, we were able to get it done,” said Vernon.

Those couple of friends included Joann and David Abraham as well as Clyde Snodgrass, who happened to know a mutual acquaintance who drove a semi-truck and was willing to come down to Tampa and back from Panama City. In fact, everyone mentioned so far grew up in Panama City before relocating to Tampa, so this was an issue that was very close to home.

“I heard firsthand how bad the devastation was after friends and family started getting cell phone service when they drove out of town to do so,” Said Snodgrass. “My parents always raised my brother and sister and I to help when necessary. They would say, ‘Having a bad day? go do something nice for a random stranger’. So, I did.”

Once Vernon heard the news, it wasn’t long before Health Insurance Innovations was onboard. Their Tampa office soon became the drop-off point for donations that would eventually go up to Panama City in the semi-truck Snodgrass had arranged. Along with CEO Gavin Southwell, HIIQ employees donated much-need supplies including generators, chainsaws, bottled water, pet food, baby supplies and more. Other Tampa Bay area businesses like Keller Williams and Berkshire Hathaway even chipped in to help with supplies that would help the hurricane victims in Panama City.

Riding through the hurricane-ravaged city in an 18-wheel truck was no easy task. The trip itself and time spent dispersing the donations in Panama City took 10 days, and that was the first of multiple trips.

“The look on people’s faces when we handed them a generator or chainsaw was worth all the stress,” said Snodgrass.

Major recovery efforts are still ongoing in the Florida Panhandle. If you’d like to help those affected by Hurricane Michael, head over to Charity Navigator for a list of great causes you can give to today.

HIIQ Sponsors First Annual Tampa Golf Classic

Earlier this month, Health Insurance Innovations (HIIQ) took part in the American Cancer Society 2018 Tampa Golf Classic at the Avila Golf and Country Club. As part of the company’s efforts to help those in need in the Tampa Bay community and beyond, this charity event was an ideal fit for HIIQ and its continual focus on health wellness.

Taking place on Monday, November 5, the tournament was the American Cancer Society’s first golf event in Tampa. HIIQ wanted to make sure their first impression was a great one with a $10,000 donation to this longstanding charity.

For over 100 years, The American Cancer Society (ACS) has fought to end cancer with the support of individuals and organizations throughout the country. With a combination of research and action, the ACS has played a vital role in helping the medical community experience a 20% decline in U.S. cancer deaths since the early 1990s.

Along with the donation, HIIQ came out to the tournament with two teams lead by CEO Gavin Southwell and CFO Michael Herschberger. Each team was joined by one local sports figure including former Tampa Bay Ray Andy Sonnanstine and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Michael Clatyon.

“The American Cancer Society is a fantastic cause and it was our pleasure to sponsor and be able to support their first golf tournament here in Tampa which has been a great success,” said Southwell.

“Having had to fight cancer myself, we hope that by giving back to causes like the ACS, we can make an impact in the ongoing fight against cancer and make the life of someone who’s been affected by this disease just a little better.”

Our Mission

Health Insurance Innovations encourages all of its employees, customers and agency partners to give back to those in need. Whether you donate online to charity or spend a Saturday serving at the soup kitchen, giving back gives purpose and hope to all lives involved. Don’t know where to start? Check out Charity Navigator to find the most efficient charity organizations in your community today!