Thursday, 1 December 2016

Welcome to Localventure - the resource for IFA introducers on private medical insurance

If you are an IFA, general/commerical broker or Accountant who would like to offer their clients a focused and professional service in all areas of the private medical insurance market then you've just landed in the right place.

I've worked in the PMI sector since 1994 for : WPA, Guardian Health, AXA PPP, BCWA Healthcare, Standard Life Healthcare and now (since 2010) run my own specialist medical insurance practice (regulated via Premier Choice Healthcare - FCA No. 312878).

As I worked for many years as a broker consultant I acquire most of my business from professional introducers and have set up my practice to support introducers and their clients in a focused and transparent way that adds value (both form a product and profitability stand-point) to their business.

As the PMI market becomes more complex and technical more and more professionals feel the need to offer a service in this area to their clients but find it difficult to obtain agencies from PMI insurers or associated sales/technical support and of course with the high level of regulation in the pensions and investments markets it become increasingly difficult for anyone but a specialist like myself to stay ahead of the required product research on things like switch criteria and so on.

If you or your practice is considering sub-contracting medical insurance to a third party you will find hundreds of relevant business articles here at the blog and of course I would be delighted to open a dialogue with you. I currently work with a panel of around 40 introducers across the UK and am always pleased to discuss medical insurance with anyone.

I work in the personal and company paid sectors - mainly high net work individual clients and white collar and start up companies but would never turn away an interested client.

I look forward to working with you in the future.

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant
Leeds

December 2016

Get your spelling right on LinkedIn - totoly umportunt (ironic mis-spell)

I lost a small piece of renewal business today to another intermediary (in fact the client companies Finance Director changed and the new gentleman decided to use the broker from his previous job so ultimately I didn't 'lose it' as such). The case is in fact via an IFA introducer of mine who is still working closely with the MD of this client on their pension scheme so we're actually hopeful that we will pick up the case again next renewal.

One learns to play the longer game when you've done this as long as I have.

However I was curious about the new broker so I looked at their LinkedIn page. I'm not going to identify the person obviously but I did have a quiet laugh to myself. The company in question is a regional general insurance broker with a one man healthcare 'Division'.

On LinkedIn, the person in charge of their healthcare 'Division' has a one paragraph overview of their current job role on their LinkedIn profile page. The paragraph starts by saying that this person is :

"highly adapt in brokering" and goes on to say they "posses a strong track record"

Losing a client is an inevitable function of being in my business. A clients needs change over time and sometimes you simply can't follow them where they want to go and certainly one cannot be too down about losing a tiddler of a case, even sometimes against an inferior opponent. Circumstances and relationships rule and no one knows that better than me.

But on the positive side I've had over 3,000 hits on my blog this week with several potential new client referrals as a result - as I say playing the long game is always better.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

eBay Auction for my old iPhone 6 Plus

Sold this item on eBay yesterday and invoiced the buyer, 24 hours later he pulled out for what seems like a nonsensical reason. So I've had to re-list it.

If you're interested in a decent, well looked after iPhone (maybe for a child for X-Mas) visit here.

If a reader of the blog buys the phone as a special offer I will post it for free and throw in two cases (a solid shell DC Comics case and a Spigen armour case with slots for 2 credit cards). Just send me a message via eBay saying you're a reader and I'll tie it up with your eBay account if you win.

Any questions send them via eBay or a comment on the blog here.

Happy bidding.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Do I need Private Medical Insurance ?

Lets move aside from the issue of personal or company medical insurance and just consider for a moment some the reasons why people might need this kind of insurance cover.

1) Ability to plan medical treatment - you never know when you're going to fall ill or need treatment and access to the NHS can involve visits to out-patient clinics or diagnostic centres that are inconvenient and don't fit in with out busy work and home-lives. On a personal level I bought private medical insurance (PMI) because as a self employed person I simply cannot take time off work unable to see a consultant it just doesn't fit into my schedule ! I run a busy advisory business, train twice a week at karate and have two children both of whom need regular ferrying about. PMI is a vital safety net to support my busy life style.

2) Quick access to diagnostics and treatment - whether we like it or not the NHS cannot cope fully with the demands put upon it. With that in mind there are always going to be delays and waiting lists. As outlined above, for most people this just isn't good enough. With PMI the client takes control and has immediate access to the consultant and hospital of their choice - no waits for getting in to have out-patient diagnostics done and no sitting on a waiting list for minor but uncomfortable problems. It's worth bearing in mind that PMI works very well for the non-life threatening problems that tend to have long NHS waiting lists.

3) Clean, modern and 'hotel like' surroundings - when you're poorly the last thing you fancy doing is waiting in a crowded waiting room or going into hospital for an op worried about a hospital acquired infection - most private hospitals have state of the art facilities with relatively low occupancy rates and a much larger cleaning budget than the local NHS hospital.

4) Chance for a second opinion - whether you've seen your GP and been referred to a consultant on the NHS or whether you've already gone private if you don't feel that you are getting anywhere with a condition you can go for a second opinion. This is one of the less well know aspects of PMI but subject to getting approval from the claims handler at your medical insurer it is usually possible to get a second opinion if you want one. I've had experience of this myself with a claim my wife had around a year ago. It was a relatively minor issue but having seen a consultant privately and had some tests we weren't happy with the initial diagnosis - I spoke to the insurer (Vitality Health as it happens although this would work with most PMI insurers) and explained our misgivings and they referred us to another more senior consultant in the same speciality. We weren't seeking to complain about the first doctor but rather needed extra re-assurance. As it happened the second diagnosis came back very similar to the first but the second gentleman we saw was able to give us more guidance as to what to expect in the future and how to deal - no more treatment was required and we went away feeling more informed.

5) Costs less than most people assume - I've recently worked with a client and put together a case study on the blog (click here to read the piece) but it's safe to say that one of the reasons people object to buying PMI cover is the cost - it often costs less than you think, even if you're not necessarily in the first flush of youth ! I never charge my clients for providing a pricing overview - ask me if you want to see some provisional costs.

6) Very flexible cover now available - when I first came into the medical insurance industry in 1994 there were lots of insurers (many of whom have now disappeared from the market) but you basically had three options - bronze cover (basic low cost plan) silver (the standard mid-range cover) or gold (all singing all dancing). Different insurers gave these plans different names but it was a very standard 'commoditised' market.

It's really all changed now. Largely for the better.

Most insurers now have an extensive 'tick box' list of benefits, plan options, excesses, added value propositions and so on. I once tried to count how many options there are on one insurers product and literally lost count. Suffice to say product design for clients has become a complex but integral part of my daily work life when advising but the important point is that it is now much easier to create a plan for my clients that meets their needs both for health cover but also their budget.

This list above obviously isn't exhaustive (there are other financial and business reasons people might purchase the cover) but hopefully these will pique your interest as to whether a new PMI plan might work for you. So if you want to find out more about medical insurance then just drop me a line at :

philknight@pch.uk.com

I've been a specialist medical insurance intermediary since 2010 (and in the Health Insurance industry since 1994) and look after literally hundreds of personal and company paid clients - like you they need the right cover at the right price, presented to them in a knowledgeable and transparent way.

Phil Knight
November 2016

Localventure Blog .. State of the Union

I first launched this blog in May of 2010 but it wasn't really 'born' or converted into the current format until January of 2013 and now as we near the end of the fourth proper year of blogging I've begun looking at exactly where the blog has taken me and where it is going in the future.


Over the years I've written about some issues specific to my own business : private medical insurance and also more general business matters and also slotted in the odd personal piece about things I've found of interest.

In the last four years I've had over 51,000 hits on the blog, been invited to appear on business podcasts, had a run of tweets trend on twitter, become a well known name in my own field and acquired numerous new clients and introducers as a direct result of the blog.

For 2017 I am really planning to push my business and the blog forward. When I set up my business in 2010 I began with no clients and no income and have built the business to the point where I'm not consistently earning far more than I ever did as a senior employee of insurance companies and the future is looking good to continue expanding the business moving forwards. I continue to invest in technology to support my clients and as readers of the blog will notice since the summer I have been trying to write more here and make the blog more meaningful for my business.

Going into the New Year I personally am going to focus more on developing new social media strategies and inform existing clients and find new ones and I've even taken on a part time marketing assistant to look at my current social media and do some work around the blog, Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn to make our efforts here even more effective.

So as we finish 2016, I would guess we will end up with in the vicinity of 53,000 hits on the blog and I wonder, in terms of a target if it's possible in 2017 to get that figure up to 100,000 page views in just one more year ?

Hope you all join us for another year of business blogging.

New medical insurance costs less than you think

Last week I was contacted by a client in their early forties who was interested in new cover for themselves but had a strict budget of £ 60 per month, he thought that it would be impossible to offer decent new cover for this amount but I fact-finded the details I needed from him to provide some initial figures and agreed to put together a market review and new client report for him.

Here's an amended excerpt from the pricing table of my report showing some of the cover options available (I have removed the insurer and proper plan details and other bits and bobs of detail I would include in a live client report along with rounding the pricing to the nearest pound - obviously I'm not trying to offer advice on specific products or recommend particular insurers in a blog post or anything  :

Insurer
Product & options
Price
Underwriting Method
ABC UK Limited Hospital list Product

£ 46.00 per month




New Moratorium
DEF & Co Health Cover

£ 51.00 per month




New Moratorium
GHI Inc. Plan of Health

£ 56.00 per month




New Moratorium
JKL Plc Prestige Cover



£ 56.00 per month





New Moratorium

That lowest cost option with 'ABC UK' is in fact a fully comprehensive plan covering full in-patient and out-patient cover and a £ 100 excess per person per plan year. This is a very competitive and comprehensive plan and is the option I have recommended for this particular client at the first stage of my review (before having spoken to them in depth about their more specific requirements beyond the overall price). There is a compromise in that access to hospitals is slightly restricted on this product but local coverage is good for this client and it's an excellent option. Obviously I will run through the product & benefit pro's and con's with the client when we speak.

You see, PMI cover is actually much lower cost than most people imagine, I'm still waiting for this client to come back to me but I'm reasonably confident that he will go ahead - if you thought that medical insurance was going to be much more than this story indicates then why not give me call or drop me an e-amil and I will look at a free review for you too.

Catch up with me on : 07792 075748 or philknight@pch.uk.com

Cheap Smartphones for sale

Recently upgraded to a new iPhone 7 Plus and I am therefore selling off my old, trusty work-horse handset - a two year old iPhone 6 Plus. A great and reliable phone which I would keep as a back up but the 7 is proving super reliable already.

I've really looked after the 6 Plus over the last couple of years and kept it in a case. As such it's in great condition for a used phone - couple of (very) light scratches on the top of the screen and some tiny dinks on the top of the phone where the case didn't cover fully.

Still holds a charge ok and I was getting through a full day on an overnight charge. It was bought direct from Apple so is SIM free and I'll throw in a free case too.

It's for sale on eBay - click here. It's probably going to go for around £ 280.

At the same time I'm selling my one year old LG G4 32 GB in metallic grey. Bought this on a contract last year to play with but just preferred using IOS so this phone has barely had a fortnights usage and it in perfect condition. Again on eBay here.

Have a look at the auctions and bid if you fancy one.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

What's it like to have your medical insurance needs reviewed ?

If you're a prospective client who's interested in looking at medical insurance what is the process, how will I approach your case ?

Well the first job with a new client is to explain the need for independent advice, tell them who I am and some of the regulatory rules around how it works and give them my client terms of business letter - an FCA requirement. Don't worry though, even this regulatory bit is fairly painless and only takes a few moments (although it's obviously important). If we aren't meeting and I'm working over the phone or by e-mail obviously I'll send you over the relevant documents and explain what they all mean.

Then comes the clever bit. We chat, I ask you some questions about yourself and your requirements - this part is called fact-finding. I note all of this down and use the information supplied to provide a review of the market from a number of insurers. As an independent whole of market adviser I can go to several insurers appropriate for your requirements.

For most new clients I will obtain prices for a range of products, benefit levels and excesses so we have a number of different options to discuss. For personal clients I will turn around a new client report in two to three working days and for companies in five or six (a bit longer because companies reports tend to be a bit more complex and insurers take a bit longer to produce price illustrations).

This service is incidentally free to all of my clients - I only receive a commission (from the insurer, not the client) if the business proceeds and you take my advice.  

Once the report is prepped I will send you over the pdf copy of the report by e-mail and arrange to discuss it when convenient. I'll also usually at this stage make an initial recommendation based on the pricing and our chat but obviously this is pending final discussions with the client. In many cases I will need to go away and tweak some of the quotes to meet needs more exactly. Start to finish the process takes around a week to ten days in total usually and for you, other than actually filling in the form and paying the premiums, the time commitment is probably 20 or 30 minutes. The aim is to sort the right cover for you and ensure that I'm giving you the information you need in a succinct and transparent way.

I've been doing this now for a lot of years and my experience is that when spending their money on medical insurance my clients want the price, the information, the advice and access to someone who knows what they're talking about but equally they do not want to waste their time.

All in all, setting up or reviewing a medical insurance plan is a quick and easy process for the client and I am always delighted to chat about how this works with potential new clients even if they don't decide to move ahead - as I mention above, a review is free and you might be surprised how low cost PMI cover is or how much money I can save you against your current renewal premium.

For more information, contact me on 07792 075748 or philknight@pch.uk.com 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Don't always believe what people tell you

I received my car insurance renewal this week.

It has increased by £ 13 per month (no claims or accidents) but its ok because the insurer tells me there is no need to call, they've searched for the best priced policy, checked against other leading companies and now sent me the cheapest plan.

Funnily enough I went to a certain well known insurance comparison site (simples) and have the same cover plus breakdown assistance for £ 28 per month less than the proposed renewal.

Advice is always check these renewals.

Back to medical insurance .... when your renewal comes through don't just accept the terms - give me a call and I will (for free) sanity check the price and product.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Top Gear 2 - the adventure continues

So I loaded up my Amazon Prime trial and carried on watching Top Gear as if it had never been off the air. Same mansploitation vibe between the hosts, same irreverent approach to, well, everything, same segments, perhaps slightly more sweary and near the knuckle but of course you can't get sacked from the internet can you ?

It was all delightfully non-politically correct almost as if we'd gone back in time to 2005 which of course basically we have. This is of course The Grand Tour of which I speak, a show so 'pre' the financial crash of 2008 I could almost feel the end of year bonus being spent on Hyper Cars.

Overall it was of course not a return to form, Top Gear pre JC sacking never really lost it. So more of a continuation but with more planes and a live band. Watching the show, the first five minutes literally killed the BBC's current incarnation of Top Gear by recapturing that which made Clarkson, Hammond and May's incarnation of the show just ... better : nostalgia for past glories, pathos, bromance and a direct line into the zeitgeist of a lot of the population of the UK.

The on-going if slightly offensive (insert sub-group or nation to mock here) boyish banter won't suit everyone but then it never did. What Amazon and TGT trio have done is resurrect Top Gear - one of the most popular TV programs of all time and give everyone who ever loved it exactly what they wanted but on steroids.

Not sure if there's really any point Matt LeBlanc turning up to shoot Season 2(?) of the new Top Gear for the BBC - because Top Gear is back on Amazon and I'm thinking about cancelling Netflix for three months to move over to Amazon Video for a bit.