Friday, 31 May 2013

New episode of PMICast now on-line at www.pmicast.podbean.com

Just wanted to let everyone know that this weeks episode of PMICast is now live and on-line at www.pmicast.podbean.com it should also propogate soon over onto iTunes.

This week I do a general news update on some new product launches and how they might fit certain client niches or requirements. I also talk about working with introducers and how we are now looking for sponsors (please contact me at pmicast@gmail if you're interested - it is an effective and low cost way of getting your business message to thousands of interested and intelligent high net worth professionals).

Please feel free to feedback on the above e-mail or here at the blog or leave me a review on iTunes (four or five stars please !)

First world problem

Let me get this out of the way first. I understand that my diamond shoes really are too tight.

That being said, my office IT set up has been causing me a few problems in the last three or four months. firstly, intermittent broadband drop outs now seem to have been solved by a new router (although I am still considering upgrading to a fibre service).

However the computer situation has been a bit of a problem. I have a decent work horse iMac as my main machine but it is three years old and despite having a decent spec is now showing it's age a little bit. At the moment I can't justify an immediate upgrade but will wait over the Summer and see what options Apple releases for the next upgrade to the iMac range and perhaps look to change over Christmas.

For mobile work I switch between a 13 inch MacBook Air, a 1st Gen iPad and my trusty workhorse iPhone 5. The MacBook is fine for standard tasks but doesn't have massive amounts of RAM so has gotten a bit slow for a quick bit of work in the evening. The iPad has also become Mrs Localventures sole property so I had been using the iPhone for some quick and dirty note taking and word processing before sharing to the iMac for cleaning up. In practical terms I've had several evenings where I've wasted literally hours waiting for the MBA to boot up/catch up or messing about correcting things written in note form on the iPhone the following day.

So yesterday I upgraded to a new iPad 4th gen. I will of course report back at some point but so far very impressed. Great screen, fast processor (seems noticeably  faster than the iPhone 5) and importantly the wifi link to my base station is at least twice as fast as any machine in the house so I'm getting ethernet speeds of up to 11 or 12 meg down compared to to the 5 or 6 I get on the iMac.

I went for the 32GB wifi model - I find the iPhone fine for out and about surfing and occasionally will link up the iPad to the personal hotspot function if needed. Some may ask why I didn't wait for the next iPad - which could arrive or be announced at WWDC on the 10th of June. Well my research indicates that there are no likely major updates due, the 4th gen was only released in October 2012 so an update over the Summer is unlikely. The current A6X chipset in the iPad is pretty much state of the art so I'm fairly hopeful that nothing much better will arrive in the next 3 to 6 months.

My old iPad has a 16GB memory and to be honest I've never encountered a problem with storage but I thought a little more memory might help with a re-sale on the device. At the moment the plan is probably to keep the new iPad in the medium term but upgrade if there is a major capability upgrade. I also bought the device from Argos on a nine month interest free deal so theoretically I could sell the device, losing only a few tens of pounds and pay off the outstanding amount and not be much worse off if needed.

PMICast ep 12 :

New episode of the PMIcast will be released today - this will be a general news round up I think.

Wrote an outline podcast plan on the iPad last night (although it did take three hours + to download and instal my old iPad back up and apps first) and will be recording that today - so watch out for that too.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

New Talk Health Blog post

You can find my latest post over at Talk Health at www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/author/phil-knight/ - or click the link to the right of this post.

Please enjoy and tell friends and colleagues !

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Misrepresentation of A & E news story on Daybreak this morning

One of the main stories on Daybreak this morning was the closure over the weekend of a number of A & E departments including Liverpool.

Their reporter, Cordelia Kretzchmar, was situated right outside the hospital/A & E entrance in Liverpool this morning explaining that only life threatening cases were being accepted on Monday, otherwise the department was closed and that this was because the NHS is under pressure, people using the service who don't need it. Which of course follows on from a report published by the society of A & E consultants a couple of weeks ago, highlighted in the media at the time and as I recall commented on in my blog.

This is complete and utter, uninformed nonsense and here's why.

If you've read my Twitter feed and recent posts you'll know I was in Liverpool over the whole Bank Holiday weekend and commented on several occasions that due to the war in the Atlantic event Liverpool was jam packed with additional people - 100,000's of them. I commented that I'd never in 42 years seen so many people in one place.

In addition it was very hot and sunny over the weekend (especially on Saturday and Sunday), although this was forecast I suspect many people wandering around the city centre and Albert Docks area were caught out - my red neck is testament to the fact I wasn't expecting it to be quite so warm myself !

So in addition to the usual demands on a city centre casualty department, there were also extra heart attacks, falls, accidents due to the sheer number of extra people in the city you also probably had massive number of dehydration and heat stroke cases too - many dozen I would imagine over the three days. This is not to even consider the massive volume of extra drink related injury - many of the people in the city will have stayed on during the three evenings over the weekend to eat drink and make merry. It is inevitable  then that extra revellers ended up in the A & E department. Again I can confirm that at 4.00pm there was a 30 minute wait to eat in one of the Italian restaurants at the Albert Docks - the pubs and eateries in Liverpool One and the Docks area were all heaving for most of the day.

In short, the A & E department was looking at certainly double and probably treble or more the usual call on its resources against a 'usual' weekend. It is impossible to staff an NHS unit in preparation for such an unusual even so had to pass run off cases to other hospitals (as mentioned in the Daybreak report) - apparently according to the Daybreak piece London was also affected similarly - again another tourist hotspot affected over a busy weekend so not a surprise and not 'news'.

This so called story is a non story that is in fact using a busy weekend to highlight non existent problems within the NHS.

It is a classic example of the media creating a lack of confidence in the ability of the NHS to cope and worrying people for no reason. It is a fact that life threatening injuries were still being accepted at the Liverpool A & E unit and non emergencies were being sent to a hospital 20 minutes travel away. I think if I had a minor injury I'd have preferred to go to a quieter A & E unit rather than sit in the packed one in Liverpool anyway.

The future of meetings

Today I attended a full day training/compliance day - this is a regular event held by my FCA compliance provider and for all consultants like myself who purchase compliance services from them attendance is in the main part compulsory holidays etc excepted).

So, around 70 people + various insurer and administrative staff and directors descended on a golf club in Northamptonshire (myself from Leeds) for a day of information updates, product training and general merriment.

But in this age of video conferencing and google hangouts what is the future of such - lets face it - expensive meetings ? The cost of personnel time used during such a session is immense and surely in this day and age cost prohibitive.

Although I enjoyed the day and found the content useful - I even gave a small talk myself on the issue of professional introducers - I have to question, not just for my compliance provider but for professionals generally is there a more cost effective and technology based solution to the problem of disseminating information to a geographically disparate bunch of people ?

I'm sure there is and will leave you to ponder this yourself but in the meantime my next compliance meeting is booked in for 3rd of July !

???

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Credit Crunch or not ?

I think the general concensus around the country and in the media is that the recession and credit crunch seems to (tentatively) be over. The various economic indicators seem to show that the economy is slowly picking up and things will over the next three or four years improve markedly.

One of the most important issues and the things that I berated the media for in this blog some years ago was that of confidence. In particular the TV news, especially the BBC were responsible for undermining public confidence in the economy (I even called their main correspondent at the time : Robert Peston the 'voice of doom').

However, I witnessed something this weekend that I think shows confidence is really on its way back.

Visiting Liverpool over the long bank holiday weekend I was expecting it to be busy especially as it was forecast to be nice weather on the Saturday and Sunday but I have never been anywhere, to any event where more people gathered in one place - it was literally heaving with humanity.

The reason was of course that our visit had coincided with the War in the Atlantic event held at the Albert Docks - regardless of the reason though, all those hundreds of thousands of people were spending. In some cases like it was going out of fashion rather than only just coming back in !

So this has re-affirmed my view that the UK is on the brink of returning to a more normal financial position and that is something I will drink to !

Saturday, 25 May 2013

On holiday ! Well for three days

Just about to set off to Liverpool One for a 3 day break at our apartment in Liverpool One with the Dinosaur Arena show tonite.

Whilst I am away may I draw your attention to the following :

Please check out PMICast and Where's Wilson my two podcasts on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com and www.whereswilson.podbean.com respectively + my blog over at www.localventure.blogspot.com

As you know PMICast is the only podcast in the UK discussing private medical insurance and we cover a variety of topics relevant to consumers, brokers and professional introducers. This podcast hits iTunes weekly.

Where's Wilson comes (approximately) every two or three weeks and is focused on science fiction movies and TV, comics and martial arts or indeed whatever we fancy talking about. I host it with my kids Megan and Ryan so as you might imagine with a 13 year old co-host it's a knockabout of hormonal teenage fun.

For clients and introducers I'm available on the phone and e-mail as usual but hopefully we'll all be enjoying the weekend regardless.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Not going to reach 9,000 hits on the blog this week

Had hoped to get to around 9,000 hits on the blog this week - as of time of writing we're up to 8,500 and although we've still got today, Saturday and Sunday I'd say we'll probably fall a little short - still getting to the 700 or 800 hits in a week is not mean achievement given that I started from zero in mid February !

Over the weekend I will be away but will still try and sort out a weekend post - having an 'educational' break in Liverpool - booked to see the Walking With Dinosaurs arena show (for the kids obviously - honest !) - might put up a review and let you know what I think.

We're booked in a small apartment in Liverpool One - first trip to the docks area since the main redevelopment began so interested to see what things are like now. We've stayed in Cardiff Bay on several occasions recently and enjoyed it so we're expecting/hoping a similar experience albeit with a different accent.

Work wise I am available as usual for clients and introducers today and over the weekend on e-mail and the phone - so if you need advice or support I am as always just a nudge away. Full contacts for me are below.

You may recall I mentioned on Tuesday I was going to post on a trip to the LGI with my little boy for an Amoxocillin (antibiotic) challenge this week - this all went OK and I am still planning to blog on this issue but rather than simple one off post I might expand it a little into a subject for both here and Talk Health (check out my posts at www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/author/phil-knight/) covering the difference in the way the NHS treats adults versus kids - it's an interesting area and a bit of an eye opener for me having taken both a young and elderly relative to hospital recently - more to follow.

In the meantime enjoy the weekend and I'll be back soon.

__________


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878

Thursday, 23 May 2013

My medical insurance podcast : ep 11 of PMICast is now available

You can find episode 11 of PMICast - search on iTunes under the name 'pmicast' and at www.pmicast.podbean.com.

This episode covers how I advise clients with long standing medical insurance cover where their plan has not been professionally reviewed for some time.

Please take the time to listen and tell any colleagues or friends for whom you might think the podcast might be relevant.

__________

If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878

Cloud back up

I need to be able to access my business/client data around the clock wherever I am at any given moment. At present I'm using an iMac in the office, Macbook Air in the evening for work and ipad/iphone for remote access.

This all worked very well historically using Microsoft Skydrive as the cloud hosting service for all content related to client reports, quotes etc. That was until my free storage with skydrive was exceeded. At that point automatic updating to the cloud finished and for a couple of weeks I've been replicating content over both the Air and iMac whilst deciding which cloud service to use moving forward. In effect Amazon Cloud drive & Skydrive are the cheapest - at £ 6 per annum for an additional 20GB, Google Drive is £ 17.49 per annum for 25GG and Skydrive is $10 for an extra 20GB per annum. On balance given that I'd already got everything set up with Skydrive I decided to simply throw ten bucks their direction and carry on as is. Skydrive is an OK interface on-line and the IOS app seems to work well enough.

Problem though, despite having a '.co.uk' hotmail/outlook account that links to Skydrive, having registered this in the UK seven or eight years ago, Microsoft thinks this is a US based account and will not accept payment from a UK credit/debit card. Frankly for the sake of copying a few folders into a newly installed Amazon Cloud folder on my iMAc which replicated instantly over to the Macbook Air it was a no-brainer - moved to Amazon - currently uploading the data into the cloud - seems to be working OK - there is no IOS app but a bookmarked webpage works well enough in Safari if I need to access on an IOS device - job done, took about 30 minutes and Microsoft have lost another customer. Only $10 per annum - but how many UK customers will they lose today for this reason ?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Title to be confirmed ... or where bad social media posts go to die

Note on this post : I sat down to write this blog post yesterday evening and originally opened the post with the following three words :

Blah Blah Blah

Actual Post : This was because following a long day, beginning at 6.15am in my office, and ending yesterday at around 9.45pm the same evening (please do not get out the violins, I appreciate that many people work far longer hours than I do and for considerably less money) I wanted to prep my post for the following day and put at the top of the post a 'place holder line of text'.

At that stage I simply didn't have a topic I wanted to cover in this post this morning. However, a train of thought has now been triggered.

As a person who lives much of their business life on social media for business purposes I got to thinking what happens when people simply post on Linkedin or Twitter or (pointedly) their blog simply for the sake of it. (Obviously without posting just 'for the sake of it' Facebook would simply cease to exist so for the purposes of this discussion I am ignoring FB).

It must be that a high proportion of the content put up, even on business related blogs and social media, is largely spurious content that is designed to fill a place or ensure someone meets their 'post per day' type of target. Certainly I endeavour to put up content daily Monday to Friday without fail - with this being a business blog I feel it's right to post during the working week on a regular basis. It is sometimes a challenge to come up with anything halfway decent on a daily basis and I'm sure I do regularly fail.

After thought : So the next time you're catching up on Twitter and Linkedin plus your favourite blogs bear in mind two things - firstly how hard it is to come up with decent, thought provoking content and secondly how easy it is to come up with rubbish to fill your blog !

__________


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Early start this morning

I have awoken charged and raring to go this morning, invigorated by having a new wifi router over the weekend and I am up to 11 meg down (from a maximum of around 6 or 6 intermittently).

Plus I have several non work time commitments this week and also the bank holiday looming so lots to do and very little time in which to do it.

My push on the blog this week is to hit the magical 9,000 hits (check out the counter at the bottom left of the blog for progress - we start the week at 8,321 - can you help me reach 9,000 hits by telling,tweeting,e-mailing one colleague about the juicy business goodness.

Watch out for regular updates - I blog everyday during the working week and once (usually a more 'off the wall' post) at weekend.

You can also find my two podcasts as follows :

PMICast - the only UK podcast devoted to medical insurance
www.pmicast/podbean.com

Where's Wilson - SF and comics and genre movies plus maybe some martial arts
www.whereswilson.podbean.com

Please read and subscribe and tell everyone you think would be interested.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Jon Ronson and the Bildeburg Group

I've recently listened to some of Jon Ronsons work (using my Audible credits up) - this includes the following books :

Lost at Sea
The Psychpath Test and
Them

For those who don't know, Jon is a humorous (often tragicomic in fact) journalist who works for the Guardian and writes about often outlandish, damaged or unusual people - this includes criminals, fundamentalist zealots, madmen and even David Icke and Noel Edmonds (and you can indeed include both of them in the same breath - read the chapter on Deal or No Deal at the start of Lost at Sea and the chapters on David Icke in Them if you don't believe me!)

I've enjoyed them all immensely (although as a skeptic, surprisingly, I've never liked 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' very much which I read several years ago) and wanted to recommend all three books here either as audiobooks - Jon reads them himself and is a very self deprecating narrator or in print/Kindle editions - does anyone buy books in paper any more ?

Of the three books I found Lost at Sea the most compelling, funny and emotional but I wanted to highlight Them,  I am currently reading (listening to ?) this audiobook and am staggered that prior to three days ago when I first download the book and began to listen that I had never heard of the Bildeburg Group - do a Google search on them yourself and see if you can understand why so little is ever discussed about this group and then read Jon's book and see if you can decide if they are a sinister new world order or just a group of boring CEO's playing golf once a year in a posh hotel.

Frankly it's got me flummoxed !

Have a good weekend.

Phil

Friday, 17 May 2013

New PMICast available now

The latest episode of the PMICast - number 10 for Friday 17th of May is now live at www.pmicast.podbean.com and should be hitting iTunes any time now.

In this episode I give an overview of the main insurers active in the UK PMI sector and a little information on each - pretty subjective stuff, although I've tried to be fair - as always with the podcast it's my opinion.

Please enjoy, tell your friends, colleagues and business acquaintances about the podcast and have a good weekend !

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Head in hands moment - do customers exist to service companies ?

I'd always thought, referring to the title of this post that a business exists for two reasons. To provide a service or product or support to its clients and in so doing create wealth/profit for the owner of the business.

This seems to me a fairly standard tenet of Western Capitalism and whether we like it or not this capitalism is the effective reason d'ĂȘtre for the existence of most businesses.

I had an odd experience this week. A company with whom I do business sent me the following response to a pricing request to them :


Thanks for the information, as this is a full market review driven on price we will decline this quote.

I hope you can appreciate we need tangible reasoning why a group hope to move and an indication of their interest or suitability to our product.

Unfortunately we do not store information on our competitors products.

This was in response to a pro forma quote/tender request sent out to around ten or eleven providers in this market that I thought might be appropriate for my client - this quotation/tender process is standardized across the insurance market and to give you some idea I have on my desk this afternoon two such tenders to send out for SME clients and one for an individual client and four or five reports to write over the weekend on the basis of tenders already submitted with prices received back. In other words this process is the nuts and bolts of the service I provide to clients.

To provide some context, the case under discussion is worth approximately £ 130,000 of annual premium to the insurer that secures the business (it is in no way a 'small case').

Let me address the e-mail line by line :

Thanks for the information, as this is a full market review driven on price we will decline this quote.


Well I'm an independent intermediary who offers whole of market advice and surely it is best for clients to review as many options as possible to find the right product and support for them. I understand this insurer might believe it offers the best product in the market place but if they're not going to allow me to show their price and product to the client then we'll never know will we ? As I mentioned below, a decision to move insurer is always going to include price as a factor - after all who is going to buy the same thing for more money ?

I hope you can appreciate we need tangible reasoning why a group hope to move and an indication of their interest or suitability to our product.


I might refer my honourable colleague to my previous answer - if you don't show me what you have how can the client show interest in their product. Companies move insurer on the basis of product, price and service - so there are three tangible reasons why the client might move to them and I indicated in the tender request the client was looking at a balance between quality of cover and cost as the basis for their decision. 

Unfortunately we do not store information on our competitors products.

The market this product sits in is both specialist and technical and interestingly all the insurers who did quote offered a full comparison of the plan versus the incumbent insurer.

What struck me most was the assumption that my client existed solely to humbly approach this business and justify why they should allow my client to move to them especially given that they are not going to offer any assistance in terms of competitive pricing or indeed service.

All I can say is welcome to business in the 19th Century  


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Time Wasting NHS Style

There's a story on the BBC website this morning about a crisis within A & E Departments because of staff shortages and non emergent cases presenting.

This brought to mind an amusing incident that happened whilst I was visiting a relative at a West Yorkshire hospital in 2011. I've put together a larger post on this subject on my Talk Health blog (click on the link to the right to view this) but here's an excerpt that makes the point.


In October/November  2011 I spent a great deal of time at Pinderfields Hospital in Pontefract. A relative spent several weeks in intensive care and then recuperating in their geriatric department. As a consequence I have I feel a unique insight into the world of vending machine stocking at this hospital. You see I spent many a long hour sitting in the relatives waiting area outside ICU and three times a day a man would appear with a trolley full of crisps, chocolate bars and cans of fizzy pop and each time he would spend an average of 15 minutes (I eventually timed him) opening the machine, checking the content, replacing used items and shuffling items around within the shelves of the machine. His routine never varied, nor did it ever take any more or less time, regardless of how full the machine was (sometimes it had literally not been used between visits - again I was there long enough to know this for a fact). Lets run the maths - assume there are four floors within this hospital, four vending machines on each floor - that's sixteen machines, each with 15 minute re-fills three times a day - that works out at 12 hours per day. I would imagine therefore that in fact there were probably two or three people exclusively performing this one task across the hospital to take into account break/lunch times and the need for holiday cover - three people to do a task which, lets face it any sane, normal person could manage in less than 120 seconds - or even in zero time - if the machine is full it doesn't need opening up and messing about with - so you go on to another task instead. I could have replaced that team of three myself and performed the entire task in a couple of hours. But this is not the NHS way apparently.
Obviously the above calculation does not take into account someone coming along to empty the cash from the vending machine, which I never saw but presumably they paid someone else to do this !

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Advertising or sponsorship + new podcasts

I feel that both this blog and the two podcasts I run (www.pmicast.podbean.com and www.whereswilson.podbean.com) now have sufficiently large audiences that I would in the future like to monetize them by offering interested and relevant parties the opportunity to sponsor or advertise within them.

At present the total hits on both mediums run at well over 7,000 per month (around 1,000 to 1,200 subscribers to PMICast, 600 to Where's Wilson + around 3,000 website 'listens' per month for both podcasts combined plus 2,500+ blog readers each month too here, I've also got around 2,500 twitter followers too) and it is quite easy to understand the likely demographics of who is visiting based on the content. I think we have a good story to tell for any business who wants to expose their company to interested and enthusiastic people who are sophisticated and understand the world around them.

Any commercial relationships will be low key in that they will not affect the content nor be 'rammed' down readers or listeners throats but will allow more time and professionalism to enter into the process with an additional income stream over time in to my new media activities.

I'm also going to offer free sponsorship (no strings attached) and adverts in all media for the first couple of months with no oblation as well to enable supporters to get a feel for what I'm doing and also make sure that the sponsorship process works for them or their business. So if you or anyone you know would like to engage with me to in the first instance get some free advertising please feel free to get in touch - pmicast@gmail.com or pkn4395@gmail.com or call on 07792 075748.

In addition I'm also looking to expand the two podcasts I currently run into a kind of mini media network. I'd also like to co-host a skeptical podcast and one centred around business more generally. To include these new 'casts I would definitely need some kind of additional funding to justify the time involved - if you'd like to be involved from either a production, co-hosting or sponsorship standpoint please do feel free to let me know.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Where's Wilson - Episode 5 now available

The latest edition of my science fiction and fantasy podcast : Where's Wilson is now live on iTunes and at www.whereswilson.podbean.com - this ep is a review of 2 summer blockbusters : Iron Man 3 and also Star Trek Into Darkness.

There's the usual banter, disagreements and point scoring and hopefully you'll laugh, cry and cheer for us. For some reason there's no Dr Who but watch out for that in ep 6 !

Please download, visit the site and listen plus tell all your friends !

Health News Updates

Just wanted to highlight a couple of health news stories today.

Firstly the right to die campaigners are back at court today. Link to news item : www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22506309

I find the fascination the press has with this story bordering on the morbid - that is not to say I do not empathise with the campaigners or support them. My personal view is that euthanasia should be legal with relevant protection in place to protect the vulnerable and that no clinician should ever be punished for an assisted suicide - my concern is the depth of the coverage compared to other important medical issues and the relish with which the media report this story.

Secondly and this is pretty scary www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22502143 a virus linked to SARS with a death rate of 18 out of 34 victims - although I suspect the stats are being massaged by news outlets to make the story more news worthy and that the actual mortality figures are somewhat different in reality as is the likelihood of transmission. This story, interestingly has not had the prominence of the above euthanasia story (which has been on every TV bulletin I've seen today so far.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Weekend news and updates

As always at the weekend I try and offer a little something different for my blog post.

Today let's go for a smorgasbord of content :

1) Lets start with some business updates - had nearly 1,000 visitors to the blog in May to date and still hoping to get over 3,000 readers this month - please tell anyone you think might be interested to check it out - there's a new business post everyday with stuff like this over the weekend. 

As you might see from a previous post one of my articles on Talk Health (www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/author/phil-knight/) is trending as one of their most popular blogposts. Given that Talk Health is one of the most popular health websites in the UK this is a real coup and hopefully positions both Talk Health and this site as 'go to' destinations for up to the minute comment on medical insurance, health and so forth. Please take time to check out the content and let me know what you think. 

Lastly on business matters there is a new episode of PMICast now available for download - Ep 9 covers more important information for anyone interested in buying or selling medical insurance. We have around 2,000 people visiting the site to listen (www.pmicast.podbean.com) and around 1,000 downloading via iTunes. With over 3,000 listeners we've needed to upgrade the podcast hosting to offer enhanced bandwidth and so forth - again, please check out the podcast - we receive good feedback and the content should be of interest if you like this blog !

2) Film Review - In the old days, before the re-launch of Localventure as a more focused business blog I sometimes used it for lighter topics and so I'm going to include a quick review of Star Trek Into Darkness. WARNING - SPOILERS - do not read if you don't want an idea of the movie plot !

Great movie very exciting. Interesting pre-titles sequence - reminiscent of an episode of the original series and in fact I'd probably have enjoyed seeing more of the same to be honest in preference to the actual movie plot. 

The main plot, an amalgam of the original series episode Space Seed and Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan fairly buzzes along for the first two thirds of the films length and whilst fairly predictable there is so much going on that frankly you don't care. There are problems with some character motivations - god knows why John Harrison is used as he is by Star Fleet and some of the phaser fire sequences are so intense they're difficult to follow. But there is plenty going on and we see some great character interplay between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Again, Simon Peg fairly steals the show as the Grampian Engineer Montgomery Scott.

The problems with the film lay in the denouement - part homage to Wrath of Khan and part lazy re-imagining, life long fans of the franchise (like me) should all groan at the gratuitous re-shooting of the reactor room scene at the end of Star Trek II - surely some new plot twist could have been employed ? This was only redeemed (partly) by a swapping of Kirks famous communicator shout at the end of Wrath of Khan to another lead character.

The end of the movie uses a well know SF maguffin to save the life of a character and was again lazy but slightly fun (use of a Tribble to herald the 'plot twist').

In summary, enjoyed (it's Star Trek for gods sake) but would ask JJ Abrams to rethink plot/originality in some more detail for the next movie and hope that he'll be more original and less homage for the forthcoming Star Wars re-imaginings too.

There is also a new episode of Where's Wilson - my SF podcast due to go live which includes fun reviews of both Star Trek and also Iron Man 3 - watch out for it next week on iTunes or at www.whereswilson.podbean.com

3) Lastly, here's a reposting of an article from the news page of Premier Choice Healthcare (www.pch.uk.com) this one covers protection insurance for your family. Please make sure you check out this site regularly - I post on PCH usually twice a month.

Family Protection - why life and health insurance for your family is vital



We all know that it is important to 'cover' the life and health of our family. But whilst it is very easy to talk about this subject, many people find taking practical action far more of a challenge. There always seems to be other priorities on our time and finances.
In this article I am going to cover three scenarios that demonstrate the importance of some key insurance policies that can protect you and your loved ones.
What if the worst happens and your partner dies?
No one wants to imagine that the very worst can happen to a loved one. However, illness and accidents do happen and unforeseen elements are a key consideration of any financial planning process. Putting aside the emotional trauma for a moment there are obvious implications of losing an income coming into the home. Money clearly cannot replace a loved one but it might alleviate some the more immediate problems. A lump sum payment can help around issues like childcare, replacing a company car, taking time off work during the grieving process and so on.
Many people will already have some life cover attached to their mortgage but is that going to be enough ? It is surprisingly easy to purchase additional life cover on either a single or joint life basis and simple level term life assurance is very commoditized, cheap to buy and offers a straight forward solution to the above problem.
You have a serious but non life threatening medical condition
We all rely on the National Health Service (NHS) to a greater or lesser degree and it is a wonderful institution but has some important shortcomings. It is still likely that for non life threatening conditions you will wait for some weeks to see a specialist or surgeon and longer again to have the treatment and clinical follow ups or recuperative care you could require.
With busy home lives and careers it can be both painful and frustrating to sit on an extended NHS waiting list. The answer could be a private medical insurance (PMI) policy. No longer to be considered a 'luxury' purchase, modern medical insurance is available on a modular basis that provides as much or as little benefit as you need and of course planning your exact requirements means that you no longer need to pay for benefits you don't want. Plans begin from a few pounds a month and with good advice from us in this complex product area it is possible to put in place a product giving enormous peace of mind.
For most people with busy family and work lives PMI is an essential purchase that assures your health and well-being is looked after on your terms and that the very best treatment, if required, fits around your needs.
If I'm unable to work through illness, my company will look after me, won't it ?


So there you go, hopefully something for everyone.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Trending on Talk Health

One of my posts over at Talk Health is trending in their top five most popular - check it out if you have time, it's on a skeptical approach to medicine : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/a-skeptical-approach-to-medicine-part-one-supplements-complimentary-and-alternative-medicine-scam/

Thanks

Being a leader or a follower in business ?

Had a bit of an odd situation arise a month ago and I will not go into specifics. Suffice to say that an idea I'd had that was pretty unique and I think good for my business was queried by someone.

I don't enjoy or encourage confrontation but nor do I take criticism (constructive or otherwise) well
as I'm sure Mrs Localventure would second. I suspect the critique I received was based on an incomplete understanding of the process in which I was engaged but I considered quite an aggressive response nonetheless. In the final analysis however I went with a more conciliatory approach and am, happy not to have burned any bridges.

In the final analysis as a business owner I tend to go with my gut and what I think is best for my clients or business without too much regard for what others (who are not as involved or informed as they might suppose) think.

It goes to show though that when you try something new or take a lead there is always someone waiting to take a shot because of fear, jealousy or simply being pedantic.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Quick correction for PMICast Episode 10

In todays episode of PMICast I inferred that WPA are the only insurer that offers an individual community rated product. What I meant to say was they're the main insurer I deal with who does - of course others do offer this style of plan : CS Healthcare and Exeter for example (as was quite rightly pointed out to me this afternoon by a colleague) - I think I mention later in the podcast that many insurers offer a mixed or no claims discount style of plan - hoping that listeners would pick up on the point that not all do - I should have been more explicit - however the nature of the podcast medium is that the broadcaster often speaks in an unscripted way, off the cuff and every now and then an inadvertent, perceived inaccuracy creeps in.

Sorry !

I'll add a quick note to episode ten mentioning this too.

PMICast Episode 9 now live

We're rapidly moving towards the 10th episode of PMICast - honestly I thought with the time it took to set up things I'd never get past eps 2 or 3 but in actual fact it's been much easier and yes, fun, than I expected.

The original monthly goal for each episode has been replaced by a weekly schedule (although with the Bank Holiday this week and and 'busyness' issues I am two days behind with the recording and upload - but better late than never !). In addition we've also made a couple of improvements to the podcast site so please go and check it out.

Ep 9 continues on with the theme begun last week which was discussion of key issues for individual purchasers of medical insurance and here I talk you through some of the logistics of reviewing an existing PMI policy and how the 'no underwriting' or CME (continued medical exclusions) switch process might work and also a brief overview of no claims discounts on medical insurance policies.

In the news section we briefly discuss Simply Health's new SME proposition launching in July this year and also a brief hint on important upgrades to my professional introducer process to make it more robust, transparent and professional.

Find the podcast on iTunes (search under 'pmicast') or at www.pmicast.podbean.com

Enjoy !

__________


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Outdoor Blogging

Following a meeting this morning I am in Otley (small market town neat Leeds) having the brakes and tyres checked on my car by my local Kwikfit branch. As no formal appointment was available I dropped the car off at 11.30 and have to wait. It's now 13.41 and no word yet. 

I am however blogging from the nearby Garden of Remembrance (with benches, quiet and out of the way whilst still bring just 50 feet from Kwikfit). Normally I would find a local coffee shop and camp out there - however when I found a place earlier this morning with free wifi and sat down to order lunch and a drink I happened to ask if they accepted credit cards. Apparently free wifi is ok but the ability to accept a debit or credit card has not yet percolated to Otley's cafe culture yet. So I had to leave and just went to the local Sainsbury and bought my lunch there. 

Is it really any wonder that small businesses go bust when I'm left in the daft position of spending less money at a national supermarket chain than I would at a local cafe just for sake of convenience ?

Monday, 6 May 2013

International Private Medical Insurance

This is a bit of a 'cheaty' post.

I'm actually writing this over the weekend with a view to posting it on Tuesday as my daily business post. Advance posts are not usually something I like to do as I usually post about what is relevant to me a the minute - often expanding on something that has happened to me during the day or I've come across in the media or on Twitter - I think it keeps the blog more spontaneous, diverse and interesting that way.

However, having been busy over the Bank Holiday weekend and then I know I'm out of the office all day today I thought I'd make a quick post on the subjecy of one of my meetings : International PMI.

This is a subject that is not a massive daily part of my practice but I do have a range of clients across the world including india and the far east, the USA, Caribbean and of course France and across parts of Europe so I regularly look at iPMI both for existing and new clients.

It is an interesting product area - more complex and technical perhaps than UK PMI with slightly different issues to watch out for both for me as an advisor and also for the clients - in general cover is more expensive but tends to be more comprehensive for two reasons - firstly, it needs to be (who wants to get caught whilst working or living abroad without the NHS as a back stop) and also because we tend to be dealing with companies or high net worth individuals they will have the income/resource to pay the premiums and ergo demand better cover.

Having said the market is more technical it's also less mature than the UK market and as such the providers (who with one or two exceptions are different from the UK insurers - AXA PPP, Aviva and BUPA are all active in the sector to varying degrees of competence) tend to be more affable in terms of client support and also bespoking or flexing a proposition for larger clients - in other words there is a high degree of compliance as the insurers compete to acquire non standard business.

iPMI is a subject I will return to here and also on the podcast (PMICast available on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com it's not a massively lucrative area for me but clients need support when considering setting up a non UK policy and there is a dearth of qualified and experienced advisors in this sector.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Skeptical Approach to Medicine - Part 2

A brief update for Bank Holiday Monday - I have just uploaded my latest blog post for Talk Health - all my posts at this site (the largest on-line health resource in the UK) at :


www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/author/phil-knight/

This is the second of the articles covering a bit of my background as a skeptic but focusing on on how skepticism as a world view can free the mind from the shackles imposed by the media and the 'prevailing view' and enable us to understand the world around us. Obviously given the nature of the blog I'm focusing in on the medical side of things and discussing vaccination, alternative medicine, autism and so forth.

Now is a good time to review your medical insurance

It's actually always a good time to review your personal or group medical insurance.

If you don't have cover in place already what PMI (private medical insurance) does is enable you hould you or anyone covered become ill, to receive quick effective diagnostic and treatment support at a time that suits you with the treatment provider you want to see in a nice, local, clean, modern private hospital.

In short, there are no waiting lists, you have total choice about who treats you, where and when. Plus you know that you and your loved ones are protected against the nasties : heart problems, cancer, major orthopaedic problems and of course all the small niggling problems that might not be life threatening but are annoying and for which the NHS when it does get round to treating you will take an age to establish what the problem is and make you wait for the privilege.

In a company paid context having medical insurance cover for your employees means two things - first of all it is a great perk to ensure a bit of staff loyalty, making your employees feel appreciated - and of course helping with recruitment and retention. Plus, secondly and vitally if your staff are ill (and by definition off work) they can be treated quickly and effectively - this means less inconvenient time off work, staff downtime generally and all associated costs such as : locum staff to cover absence, re-training temporarily deployed staff, lost sales or client, sick pay and so the list goes on. I would argue that compared to the costs of having one or two key staff members off sick the annual cost for PMI of around £ 300 to £ 600 per person (on group cover) makes company paid PMI a 'no brainer' at least for key staff, managers and directors.

Fora those with current plans in place you need to ask yourself the following key questions :

1) When was the cover last reviewed
2) Do the plan benefits and structure still suit your requirements
3) Has the insurer dealt with you fairly and offered a good service
4) Who deals with your PMI cover - do they know what they are talking about and are they available when you need to discuss your cover. In particular, is there an on-going service or have they moved on to the next sale ?

You see I would view medical insurance as vital for my clients and making sure everything about the plan works properly is important - medical insurance plans go out of date, insurers inevitably charge more to existing clients than new purchasers and frankly, things go wrong in terms of admin and sometimes claims and this may need to be put right or altered.

So it is always a good time to look at your medical insurance cover - contact me for a full review of either a new plan for you, your family or your company. Alternatively, if your plan is coming up for renewal in the next two or three months get in touch - it's likely I can help save you money or enhance benefits or indeed often both !

__________


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878

Friday, 3 May 2013

Professionalism over administration

I work with a lot of professional introducers. At the moment my work with them and their clients is probably taking up over 60% to 70% of my working time so as you would guess I have a lot invested in making those on-going introducer relationships both successful and lucrative.

My FCA compliance provider is in the process of updating their introducer registration and agreement process to make it more robust, transparent and compliant. This clearly means more forms and more work for me and also possibly at outset of the relationship for the introducer themselves.

Most people would view this as a pain and possible barrier to sales and the creation of such arrangements. However, I take a slightly different view. This is not admin for admins's sake - rather it is creating a more professional approach with the prospective new introducer. Demonstrating that we have a system in place that is there to establish theirs and our professional and regulatory credentials. The process therefore ensures everyone knows, at every stage how the client and introducer will be treated and importantly how the financials of an introducer fee work, in detail, in a variety of real world situations (of course I'm primarily talk about clawbacks when I say this).

In a regulated environment a robust system is essential and I often talk to my new professional introducers that we need to build a 'bridge of trust' before they allow me in front of their clients and so the relationship should also work in reverse - the introducer demonstrates they are committed to working with me and are professional in their own right (in this case by completing a pre-agreement fact find for us to establish their regulatory position, identity and so forth along with a more detailed and transparent introducer agreement).

So I would say that the creation of a more coherent professional process is essential and the more professional we all are the better a service, inevitably we are able to provide for introducers clients.

I'd also argue that putting in place a couple more checks and balances will attract a better class of introducers and I'd certainly be comfortable re-vetting any of my existing introducers on the proposed new basis as they are all professional and open to the necessities of working together in the right way.

__________


If you're interested in a free review of your medical insurance cover (family or company paid) please get in touch :
Tel - 07792 075748 or 0113 3474395

Follow my Talk Health blog at : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2013/04/nhs-versus-private-healthcare-a-personal-journey/

Twitter - localventure1 and philknightpch
Video Podcast - You Tube Channel : pkn439
Audio Podcast - www.pmicast.podbean.com & www.whereswilson.podbean.com - both available on iTunes

Google Plus : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/philip.knight.775

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

I'm a totally independent healthcare intermediary with 20 years market experience, not tied to any insurer, fully FCA regulated and part of the Premier Choice Healthcare Group. FCA Number 312878


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Twitter and me

I seem to be picking up some new followers on Twitter these days - I run a number of different accounts so I thought it might be worthwhile just highlighting the key ones so that people know which to follow and which to avoid.

Please feel free to follow any if you want updates on this blog and my two current podcasts - I autotweet new posts and podcasts on to all my accounts.

Localventure1 - this is my main personal account and I also use it for occasional business thoughts. It's the one I use most, mainly from the phone. If you want all my main business tweets plus personal musings on life, science fiction and martial arts this is the one to follow. Be warned though I do not automatically follow people who follow me here - I try and keep my timeline pruned and have a limit of 40 people I'll follow at anyone time - at the moment I'm at 37 and may prune again in the near future - you've got to be interesting to get a follow there !

philknightpch - this is my main work profile - I follow anyone involved in healthcare here and to be honest don't really generate much original content over announcement type tweets as above - it's more of a feed for me to catch up on the industry - if you work in healthcare or related sectors I'll probably follow you if you follow me.

whisky1 - this account is a throw back to an old business I owned, sold but kept the Twitter account. I keep it running as it has several thousand followers so it's a good well of tweeting out to a larger audience.

MLM4docs - this is the account linked to my medico legal business so it's quite niche and at the moment is a fairly quiet account - would suggest it would interest doctors and agency contacts only.

Hope that's of use and I look forward to welcoming you into my Twitterverse soon !

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Rambling evening update

This morning I posted briefly on the first bit of proper warm weather in Leeds and discussed a couple of related issues. This evening I find myself with the Mac Book on my knees this evening catching up on a few bits of work and e-mails plus writing the second part of my 'Skeptical Guide to Medicine' on my Talk Health blog (www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/author/phil-knight/ please check this out if you get a minute - the first one has had a very positive response and I'm hoping to get part 2 up on the site in the next few days) so I thought I would - with the help of a half bottle of Rose - put up a new post covering various issues.

Second work out of the week at karate (we train Mondays and Wednesdays) - I'm a 2nd Kyu brown belt at a local Shukokai club in Leeds and I also held a 2nd Dan black belt at Tai Sabaki Do (a small local club, now closed down) - I've practiced karate since 1980 pretty much non stop and enjoy it immensely. However at 42 it can be physically traumatic - at the moment I'm guessing that I will ache a little in the morning ! Really painful feet and finger joints are my problems du jour ! A first for this evening though - as the weather improves we're able to get out of the dojo at the start of training to play bulldogs on the school field (Yeadon Westfield Junior School - where I'm incidentally also a governor!) tonight was the first outside session. A great warm up and a little bit different to keep everyone smiling at the club - I really look forward to getting outside and running around like a mad thing.

As readers may know, I am a total Apple fan-boy (sitting with a Mac Book on my lap typing and an Iphone 5 next to me, Apple TV playing a movie in the background and Mrs Localventure playing Sudoku on my iPad) but I did download the new Google Search app this morning (admittedly the IOS version) which includes Google Now - I will see how this works for me but I have deleted Safari from the dock and instated Google Search instead - hopefully it will be useful and I will probably blog about it if I like it.

I mentioned my PMICast podcast this morning but would like to ask my blog readers to check it out if you get chance - it is the only UK podcast covering medical insurance and related issues. I focus on key issues for my medical insurance practice for both clients (individual and company paid) plus my professional introducers. The podcast is totally unique, short ( no more than 20 minutes, so it shouldn't take up too much of your valuable time) and I think is now finding it's feet in terms of content and general feel - if you get chance please check it out - there are now 8 episodes uploaded with new content every week or so. You can find the podcast on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com. Theoretically you can obtain it via any pod catcher for smart phone although I'm finding issues with Pocketcast on IOS at the moment although it works fine on the Apple Podcast app. At the moment I'm getting about 2,000 direct downloads from the above website per month with about 1,500 people subscribing to the podcast via iTunes and other sites - however I would really like to expand the listenership so please tell any friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and so forth whether they have PMI (private medical insurance) and need it reviewing, are thinking about this type of cover or simply like to listen to me bang on about a topic I am passionate about for 20 minutes or so every week.

If you cannot face the prospect of a business related podcast then maybe you could try my science fiction and fantasy podcast : Where's Wilson - this one cover Films and TV plus comics, martial arts and really anything we want to discuss. I host the podcast with my daughter Megan (aged 13) and my seven year old : Ryan is our special video games correspondent. It's light hearted and fun and at present there are four episodes uploaded with one pending (we saw Iron Man 3 last weekend and will be reviewing shortly) - again we seem to be finding our feet with this 'cast and listening back to ep 4 I literally laughed out loud three or four times in a 30 minute 'cast. Please check it out at www.whereswilson.podbean.com and also on iTunes.

That's it for the wine fuelled evening ramble - back to normal business content tomorrow.

Thanks

Phil    


First post for May - welcome to the Spring !

Well it's official, the first day of the year so far I've been able to take my dogs out for a walk (Cocker Spaniel called Muffin and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel : Jasper) without a coat.

Beautiful morning in Leeds today - according to my Yahoo weather app (lovely design and good utility incidentally) a high of 13 degrees to be expected with wall to wall sunshine - Spring it seems has finally arrived.

Why not take advantage of the lovely weather by downloading the latest PMICast episode - ep 8 covers  key questions to consider when buying private medical insurance - in fact you could download all 8 episodes (on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com) and go work in the garden or office car park !

Have a great day and if you can enjoy the nicer weather plus PMICast !