Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Have you tried to update to Mavericks (OSX) as of yet ?

Following the smooth transition to IOS 7 on iPhone and iPad (although I'm still not necessarily convinced it's actually better than IOS6 as present) I downloaded and (attempted) to install the new Mac OS on my iMac and Macbook over the last few days.

On my iMac it was literally a nightmare. Firstly the update kept failing partway through download. I'm guessing this was an artefact of Apples update servers not being able to cope although I waited two full days before attempting the download. Finally managing to download the update the installing effectively bricked my computer. I was forced to start up 'Cmd R' from the safe disk partition following a hard reboot, even then the base operating system was only partially functional and when I final managed to get things working the software refused to install and I had to repair the hard drive in disk utilities before the install proceeded. From there it took another two hours to complete everything. I might 'review' the changes later but in terms of performance there is a definite dip in speed and I'm having to turn off and reboot the machine daily to get things performing at anything like 'normal' functionality. At the moment I wouldn't recommend moving from Mountain Lion to Mavericks until the .01 revisions to improve performance come through.

On the MacBook Air (an older machine in fact) things have been smoother and although it took some coaxing the hard drive (used for Time Machine Updates) resisted the update and I needed to move the back up files to enable it. Having done this, following some quick research on-line the update worked fine and the machine is actually working a little faster than under Mountain Lion. It did take some finessing to get the machine to update to the new version of Pages however (which incidentally I hate along with Numbers - too IOS with missing functionality as compared to the old OSX versions).

All in all I'd probably suggest giving Mavericks a miss unless like me you just like to be up to the minute !

Monday, 28 October 2013

Strategies for reducing the cost of medical insurance

One of the issues I find with clients who are over the age of 50 is that as they make minor claims on their medical insurance policy over the life of the plan the premiums rise disproportionately due to the claims effect on the insurers no claims discount policy and in addition age increases and medical inflation effects can mean that with two or three years a plan that in year one is perfectly affordable can become eye-wateringly expensive in just 24 months.

I'm having this issue with 2 clients at the moment.

The problem is that with recent claims it isn't possible to move insurers and maintain full underwriting for the member. The options then are three fold :

1) remain where you are and pay the higher costs
2) remain but reduce benefits with the current insurer to reduce costs
3) move insurer, accept the increased underwriting but use the saving made monthly to self pay any conditions that are found to be excluded.

Option 3 seems like a bad idea and in many cases it is, especially if the conditions in question are serious. I would never recommend a move if the medical problem suffered were serious or life threatening even in potent. However, the premise of this thought exercise as per my opening remark is the effect of minor claims over time.

Assuming minor recent claims, look at the following pricing scenario (which whilst showing rounded premiums is indicative of real world pricing).

2011 premium : £ 195 per month

2012 renewal : £ 320 p.m.

2013 proposed premium : £ 530 per month

For this client we have decided together to move to a new plan that will impose a couple of minor new exclusions but the new premium will be around £ 250 per month - less than their renewal and over £ 280 per month less than the current insurer wanted moving forwards.

In essence, the £ 3,000 per annum we're now saving would more than cover any required treatment should the old (now excluded)medical conditions re-occur.

In one sense this example is quite extreme and most clients plans do not increase by this amount so quickly but there are as per the above cogent strategies we can put in place when this happens.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Riding the pipeline pony

Being busy for the last three weeks or so you become aware that as the time required to sell, set up and process new business cases and renewals takes over the working day you have very little time to pro-actively market for new clients. The knock on effect is that as the new business 'rush' is over the pipeline for new cases isn't quite as deep as you might like.

The secret is of course to force yourself to work even harder when successful - its true that success breeds success and that the harder one works the luckier you become.

As a side note this is the 500th post on the Localventure blog and in the eight months since I relaunched  the blog to support my business we've had over 12,000 visits to the site - so thanks to everybody who's supported the blog.

Thanks guys !

Friday, 18 October 2013

No PMICast this week

I have been trying desperately to catch up with work to the point that I had the hour or so spare to record the new episode of PMICast this week. Unfortunately for the first time since the podcast launched this year I just haven't been able to find the time.

This does not mean the podcast is ending or in jeopardy, it's just I had other business priorities I'm afraid. I have spent most of today catching up with client chases, processing business and the like today and am around 90% caught up to the point where I have now diaried to record the missing episode of PMICast (which by the way is prepped to record) on Monday at some point.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week. Thanks for bearing with me and look forward to more exciting medical insurance related content next week as usual.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Save Escape Artists

I have been an avid podcast listener for around six years and an SF fan for decades. One of the first podcasts I came across in 2006/2007 was a weekly SF magazine called Escapepod run and hosted by Steve Eley. Since then the company behind the podcast has grown and introduced both horror and fantasy podcasts all offering excellent genre fiction to their listeners for free.

Interestingly all three podcasts are paid markets in so much as they pay the authors of the story professional rates for their fiction and as such have created a new market for SF and fantasy writers to get to an audience. Escapepod is the fourth largest SF periodical in terms of 'readership' now.

They have a problem - financially they rely on listeners donations to make the podcast and business work and according to Metacast on the 13th of October the money will run out at the end of 2013 as subscriptions have dropped.

As a long time fan of these podcasts and weekly downloader I have today put in place a financial subscription via paypal and would ask you to do the same if you're a listener to the podcast - make sure your weekly fix of SF doesn't go away and for propective new listeners - check out the above link and listen to some of the stories that are there for free and then consider stumping up some cash yourselves.



Monday, 14 October 2013

Getting up that bloody hill

Had to take my car in to car hospital this morning to have it's gearbox fixed. The garage I use was recommended to me by a family member and wants to charge over £ 2,000 less than Audi so I'm fairly happy with the decision.

Unlike Audi however there is no courtesy car option, so I drove my car into Leeds this morning from Yeadon - 8.1 miles precisely (as I just discovered) and dropped it in there.

The calculation then is, taking a bus after 9.00pm would consist of around a 20 minute wait then a 35 to 40 minute bus ride home. Or running 8 miles which takes a total of 64 minutes - so in an ideal world it is only 4 minutes slower to run and so I did.

All went well until the 5.1 mile stage and the long pull up from Rawdon Crematorium up to the traffic lights that cross Harrogate Road and the start of Yeadon proper. When you drive up that stretch you really don't appreciate that it is a long steep 2 mile drag up hill - fortunately I regularly run three to five miles so the additional 3 miles didn't hurt that much but I did nearly stop at that one point which of course would have negated the run completely.

Now recovering to prep for 90 mins of karate tonight at 6.00pm - must be mad.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Lovely new podcast episodes for you

Make sure you get over to www.pmicast.podbean.com and iTunes to find the latest podcasts from me.

There's PMICast the only podcast devoted to medical insurance in the UK. This is a regular weekly 'cast and at the moment there are 20 episodes from season 1 earlier in the year. Then another 9 beginning in September with the last landing on Thursday of this week.

PMICast usually gets uploaded on Tuesday mornings and covers a range of issues around PMI for clients and also for introducers. We get around 6,000 downloads a month and if you are interested in considering medical insurance for yourself or business or if you are an adviser who'd like some help the podcast should be of interest.


Then there is Where's Wilson - this is a fun SF and Fantasy podcast I host with my kids, Megan and Ryan.

There are 8 episodes so far and each time we take a fun and irreverent look at various SF shows and movies plus some comics and maybe a little bit of martial art too for good measure.

Where's Wilson has a couple of episodes in its own stream (www.wherewilson.podbean.com) but the more recent ones are now in the PMICast stream too.

Why not search 'em all out and see what the fuss is about.

The new ep (number 9) of Where's Wilson should go live later today (Saturday 12th of October).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Season 2 Ep 9 of PMICast (finally) goes live

Thanks for sticking with me as content has been so low this week and that PMICast is 2 days late - never mind the wait is over the the new episode with features on out-patient cover and factfinding for personal clients in the mix.

Please enjoy and remember to review on iTunes if you get chance.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Extreme business !

Due to my current workload I am not going to be able to get PMIcast up until around Thursday I should imagine so watch out for it later.

This blog is also likely to be quieter than usual - maybe place to watch our for me this week is on Twitter : @localventure1


Friday, 4 October 2013

Apologies for lack of discipline with blog posts this week

It has been one of the busiest weeks I can remember between new clients, new introducer meetings, trouble shooting more than one business, relatives staying from overseas, school governor commitments and so the long day continues.

One of the results of this work overload (aside from long hots!) is the dropping off a cliff of my social media activity which I do view as vital but has to take second place to doing actual work. With this in mind I just wanted to let readers of the blog know I am still here and will post as and when I can but the content cannot be quite as regular as usual.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

No blog post today - or is there ?

Well obviously there is a post today as you are reading it. But it will be a short one as today I am taking a day off (at Mrs Localventures behest) and we are taking her sister who is visiting from Germany into Leeds to see the exciting (Yawn!) Trinity Centre in Leeds and in particular to confirm my contention that the enormous 'Superdry' store there should in fact be called 'Superdark' on the basis that it has no natural light whatsoever and the flourescent lighting is designed to enable them to sell returned goods covered in makeup and grime without customers being able to tell this fact until they get home and their eyes return to some semblance of normal focus in standard luminosity.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

PMICast 8 of season 2 is now LIVE !!!

I habe just posted the latest ep of PMICast - the only UK podcast devoted to medical insurance - onto iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com.

Apologies for the slightly lower volume and 'rushed' nature of the podcast - it was difficult to be as effusive as usual given my house if full of kids off school with the teachers on strike and also overseas family visitors too - bit of chaos and although I was keen not to break my schedule for recording I was also acutely aware I was potentially performing live to a hypercritical home team audience too.

I have listened to the feed and everything is perfectly understandable - please enjoy and tell all your friends and colleagues.