Why did we buy insurance for Alex Honnold?

Here at Stride, we’re wired differently.

We believe health insurance can be human. We partnered with Alex Honnold, the world’s greatest free-solo climber (that means no ropes!), because he embodies the Stride spirit. We live adventurous lives, and we rely on insurance to protect us, on and off the mountain.

When we reached out to Alex about working with a startup to solve his health insurance needs, his immediate response was “Perfect!” Alex is the most determined individual I’ve ever met, but even he couldn’t figure out what health insurance he needed. So we handled it for him.

It started as a couple hours in Stinson Beach...

One morning talking about the risks that Honnold overcomes in everyday life as well as climbing, and we helped him pick the right health plan. It turned into a beautiful day exploring San Francisco’s finest architecture. As Alex prepares to free-solo climb Taipei 101 (the 3rd highest building in the world) this September, we found him salivating over tackling a few urban “first ascents” in San Francisco.

"I spend so much more time on rock where its so natural to me, whereas with buildings its much more of an adventure... I don't have that much experience climbing up buildings, so its more exciting." - Honnold

Alex had no ropes on this day. He had no safety net except nearly 20 years of training. And great health insurance.

The Mark di Suvero sculptures on the Crissy Field were Honnold’s warmup playground. And when we drove by the iconic Palace of Fine Arts, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, Alex was scrambling up top before were could catch our breath. Driving through the hills of San Francisco, Alex spotted his final urban ascent of the day: the Goodby-Silverstein building on the edge of Chinatown, in the shadows of the TransAmerica building.

Okay, so that’s not quite true: he decided to scramble up a tree in Alamo Square to finish off the day.

Did it scare us? Absolutely.

A lot more than it scared Alex. My palms were sweating as Stride’s first ambassador risked his life up every building in sight. That’s what it looks like to us mere mortals. But the day encapsulated our mission at Stride Health: get out there and enjoy every moment of your life so long as you measure your risks before you jump in the deep end. Alex has been measuring and eliminating risk his entire life, whether it looks that way or not.

When it comes to staying healthy, Stride translates health coverage into your life so you can assess your risks and understand what’s there to protect you. While Alex surely needs coverage in case of a catastrophic injury, his primary worries are avoiding the heart disease that has plagued his family and knowing that he’ll be covered if he gets hit by a car while cycling.

As we sat in the late-afternoon sun in Alamo Square reliving the stories of the day, the entire team had smiles from ear to ear. Even Alex admitted that this was “the most fun day shooting” he’s ever had. With that, we knew we had to share this adventure with the rest of the world.

Safety. Fun. Speed.

Stride on, 

Stay tuned for our next Stride Health Ambassador film. In the meantime, a massive applause to Michael Schwartz from LuckyTreehouse and his entire team. Thanks Tony, Thomas & LeeLee. Michael poured his heart and soul into every element of producing this film, and pulled in amazing talent on camera, sound, and music (don’t worry, we’ll keep your secrets Michael).

A special thank you from me to Brent Franson for his creative mind, Matt Butner for his dedication to mission critical ops, and Matt McDonald (@63mph) for incredible still photography (you’ve also seen his work on our site for the past few months). And props to the entire Stride Health team for launching a beautiful experience to surround the film.

And, of course, thanks to Alex for treating us to a day we’ll never forget!