Monday, 13 February 2017

Medical insurance for high net worth clients

The business of advising clients on their medical insurance requirements is a relatively complex task based primarily around the mixing of clients health and lifestyle requirements  with a set of insurance products which vary widely in benefit construction and administration/claims by the various insurance companies. As clients get older and more financially secure the level of involvement and support tends to increase.

Although I work with a very wide range of personal and corporate clients as my practice has grown and developed over the years I have tended more and more in the personal sector to look after senior professionals and high net worth (HNW) types of clients.

The basic premise of finding suitable cover at the right price for these kinds of client is at its most basic no different from advising any other client, however there are some additional factors to bear in mind :

1) Personal 'foibles' and fact-finding - one doesn't get to be successful and accumulate a degree of personal wealth without knowing your own mind and perhaps developing some idiosyncracies. This means that when fact-finding one has to bear in mind that the kinds of questions you need to ask will be subtly different. This will usually mean that a HNW client will possibly already have medical insurance cover in place and have extremely clear thoughts about what they do and don't like about products and insurers. If they are new to medical insurance it might be a requirement for a specific benefit or access to one more expensive hospital or a particular consultant they want to see in the future. Regardless, the fact-finding process which always sits at the centre of client advice really becomes an art form and not a science.

2) Available income - price is going to be an issue with any client as medical insurance is a commoditised product whether we like it or not. However the wealthier a client the less likely they are to actually need or want PMI. Think of it like this : private medical treatment is expensive and most of us wouldn't dream of paying tens of thousands of pounds for a hip replacement or £ 600 or £ 700 for an MRI scan. However if you are wealthy and have large amounts of disposable cash then perhaps you can afford to simply pay treatment providers direct for the best treatment. That said in my experience HNW clients are always canny about their health and wealth. They can understand the value of medical insurance cover for high value claim items and wish to insure against future possible medical problems. This means that their cover will typically include very comprehensive benefits for in-patient and day case cover (the more expensive elements of PMI costs) but often they will self insure for initial diagnostics and out-patient investigations. This means typically that a HNW client will make maximum use of those insurers who might offer flexible, modular based products.

3) Treating the Customer Fairly - this is a central tenet of all insurance sales these days and rightly so. I think though that it is worth stating that the average HNW client probably expects more from their representatives and as a result can be more work to stay on top of. This isn't necessarily a problem, it just means that with this kind of client one cannot take a hands off approach and leave things to chance - the client drives the business and how it is transacted.

4) Insurer service - there are some insurers who are more 'bureaucratic' than others. Not a problem - every business has the right to run it's internal practices as they wish This means though that I might tend not to select some companies for a more demanding client. In practice my HNW clients tend to favour the smaller, more customer focused insurers anyway. These smaller or newer players in the market tend to keep red tape to a minimum and can make good homes for discerning clients. That's not to say that the larger insurers won't necessarily feature in a review for a HNW clients. It simply means that other insurers who might be a little more expensive tend to compete on a more even playing field.

5) Going that extra mile - as a last thought, you might imagine that as HNW clients are more work and do require more support that one needs to constantly ingratiate oneself and be seen to be working hard on their behalf. In fact in my experience nothing could be farther from the truth. They need things to happen quickly and quietly behind the scenes and a good HNW client is one who expects things to happen for them and when it does, without fuss that is the way to keep them happy in the longer term.

If you are a client who needs advice on medical insurance (and related cover) regardless of how much you earn or are worth - let me know on :

07792 075748

or

philknight@pch.uk.com

Whether you are a Lord, Landlord or simple Mister or Missus I would be happy to help you with your medical insurance cover.

If you're an IFA, Accountant or general broker who wants an easier life and perhaps to subcontract your medical insurance business to a specialist, again I can help.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Don't worry about Donald Trump

Throughout the 2016 US Presidential debate we were all dismissing the misogynist, racist, ever so slightly facist elements of Donald Trumps personality on the basis that firstly he probably wouldn't win (oops) and then, as the Hilary CIA e-mail story broke and no one seemed bothered about him admitting sexual assaults on camera, on the basis that the checks and balances in place plus real life common sense would kick in and some of his more manic campaign trail promises would be diluted when he gained office.

Not so much so far !

You only have to look this weekend at the immigration and refugee omni-shambles that is on-going to understand that every thing Trump says or does is for real. It might be insane or illogical but if he says it he is considering doing it.

The silliest yet most sinister wall ever to be considered is going to be built. An edifice to his ego and momnumental lack of understanding that both the ladder and the tunnel have been invented.

This brings me to the point of my post. We've all seen this before. Who imagined that when Senator Palpatine ordered Annakin Skywalker to kill all the youngling that he might go on to make a good Emperor. Did the Senate really believe turning to a strongman dictator would improve human (alien) rights for the Galaxy ? Ask all those poor people on Aldaran - oh, wait a minute you can't. They were destroyed by the Emperors New Toy - a planet sized folly of a construct, created to bring 'peace and proseperity' to the Empire which had a fundamental design flaw.

See any parallels - who would have thought that Star Wars could ever become a parallel for modern America ?

Fortunately I live on a little frontier planet called Tattoine England - nothing could ever happen that could involve us in the Galactic Rebellion, could it ?

Monday, 23 January 2017

Alternative Facts = Lies

Obviously over the weekend I have been mulling over Donald Trump's new press secretary and his some what relaxed approach to the truth in terms of the numbers of people who attended the Inauguration on Friday of last week.

This approach to truth was subsequently presented by Kellyanne Conway on NBC (follow this link) as 'alternative facts' and she was (eventually) called on this by the reporter who pointed out that they were in fact false-hoods.

I suspect we need to get used to this sort of thing now that black is white and the moon is in fact a painting on the roof of the giant dome in which we now obviously live.

I just wish alternative facts had existed in 1986 - might have gotten more 'O' Levels myself !

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Welcome to 2017

First post of the New Year and being 100% honest I have been slightly remiss with my social media updates over the Festive Season - very busy with work work at the moment so can'r promise that January is going to be any better.

Can I take this opportunity to wish my loyal readers a Happy New Year and thanks for your on-going support.

Have started the year as 'Mister Angry' though, a local Skip company (their depot is just down the road from my house) and for years we've avoided their (very large) skip trucks careening around the neighbourhood. This morning they nearly ran me and my dog over when speeding so I've complained - no reply yet !

Love a good moan at authority though !!!

Keep an eye on my @localventure1 twitter feed for blog and other updates.

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