Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Back to Iphone

Readers of the blog will know that earlier in 2014 I took the decision when my mobile phone contract renewed to move from IOS over to Android. So I mothballed my old iPhone 5 and moved over to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

To be honest the Note was a fantastic handset - the perfect size for both work and pleasure (videos, games, You Tube and so on) and with the SnapDragon 800 chip on board fairly whizzed along. I wasn't initially a massive fan of the Samsung Touch Whizz skin over Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) but over time I learned to navigate and ultimately it stopped bugging me.

One of the main drivers to the move was the screen size of the iPhone 5 being just too small which was the reason for choosing the enormous Note. At that time (April 2014) Apple just didn't offer a larger handset.

So when the fruity one launched the 6 and 6 Plus I decided to make the move back to IOS on the 5.5 inch screen of the 6 Plus.

I've now been rocking my 6 Plus for a full week and am enjoying it immensely - it's a more solid and well made version of the phone the Note wanted to be, the screen is awesome, especially in full sunlight. However I am finding IOS buggy on the 6 Plus - in particular the Audible, You Tube and Netflix apps are prone to jamming and requiring a re-boot of the phone. I also remember the iPhone 5 running IOS 7 at the time) never being laggy or slow when swiping between screens and in fact faster for this than the Note. However I am seeing a little slowness around the OS on the new iPhone using IOS 8 - maybe the OS isn't fully optimised for the new hardware or maybe with only 1gig of RAM on board the processor isn't quite fast enough to handle the screen and the demands of the OS simultaneously.

Still the device is beautiful and I'm still not out of the 'honeymoon' phase - do still fancy an Android as a back up nd I'm considering trying to lay my hands on a HTC One M8 for a play.

Will update on my progress with the iPhone in subsequent posts.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Bid for my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Black 32GB on 3) on eBay

I'm selling my 7 month old Note 3 to raise cash to replace it with an iPhone 6 Plus.

I put the auction up on eBay last week and there's now only two days to go. You can visit the auction at : Visit Ebay

The phone is in mint condition and comes in the original box with all the accessories (charger, unused earphones etc). I loved this phone and am only selling it for the change really and will probably end up back on Android in a few months when I get sick of the iPhone again.

In the meantime this would be a great gift, ideal as a second or replacement phone - really enjoyed using the Note and I will miss the multi screen feature and the stylus.

It's currently on '3' network but they will unlock for free as long as you have a PAYG sim in the phone - so essentially it is unlocked.

Please visit the auction and have a look - as I type I've had over 600 views and have 3 watchers but so far new bids - the auction starts at £ 200 (free postage) and on eBay/Amazon these are going for the £ 280 mark so given the condition it's possible you might get a decent bargain.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Early December round up

Welcome to the blog - here you'll find all things business, medical insurance with a bit of comics, SF and fantasy thrown in for good measure.

Today is my fortnightly 'social media' work day where I put aside a bit of time to catch up on the blog, twitter and also record new episode of my podcast on medical insurance : PMICast

I also record new editions of my video podcast 'Purely Medical Insurance' for my You Tube Channel.

You can find them as follows : PMICast : www.pmicast.podbean.com (also on iTunes, Stitcher etc)

This weeks episode of PMICast is the 61st and we're now settled into the two weekly recording schedule which makes everything a little less frenetic and rushed I think and as opposed to the weekly schedule gives me a chance to aim for better. more cogent content. This weeks covers a range of issues as usual for both purchasers of insurance and also introducers - I think it's the best PMICast I've ever done and is definitely worth a listen if you have chance.

Purely Medical Insurance : www.youtube.com/channel/UCvecpE3OUT58rFNkskSykXw

The aim of the first few videos on this new channel is to offer fairly high level guides to key issues on medical insurance. So video one is a general guy to medical insurance, the second covers PMI for personal clients and the third I put up this morning (www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwupDj_fywc) is a guide for company paid medical insurance.

The last of my 'foundation' videos will be posted in a fortnight and will cover off my work with introducers - so watch out for that one.

As a general principle I think that in this day and age an on-line presence and use of social media effectively is absolutely vital - I regularly pick up clients and introducers on the back of twitter, the podcast and now the YT videos - so please subscribe, keep current and feedback if you want to chat about becoming a client, working with me or just want to interact.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Always read the small print

There are several bits of important 'kit' in my pdf 'briefcase', one of the most important things are the insurers plan features documents that I send out with every client report to show the client what each insurer recommended offers.

It's pretty important when buying anything to read the small print and of course understand it. This is of course especially important when it comes to buying medical insurance. The product features documents that we intermediaries send our clients along with quotes, reports and terms of business etc. are documents that tell you about all of the insurers plan features - remember then that they include all the features not just the ones you've chosen via your discussions with me - so there may be things described on these pieces of literature them you haven't got. For example, if you buy medical insurance without an excess, the product literature will still cover all about the insurers range of excesses and how they work (the documents are of course general purpose and not bespoke to each individual client) but unless you tick the box on the application form to have an excess you won't have one - these then are optional features.

So if you're ever not sure what I have priced for you or what options you've chosen you have just to ask me and I will confirm exactly what product you have in detail.

In a similar vein, if you ask me for something you're going to get it - so if you tell me that price is the over-riding issue then I won't add in lots of little product features that increase the basic cost. As mentioned above, I tend to give clients what they ask for rather than engaging telepathy - so the best course of action is to read through the information that you receive and double check if you're ever unsure of which bits of plan benefits you have.

I'll talk about these issues a bot more in the next episode of PMICast due later this week but wanted to just outline this important issue on the blog today.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Private Medical Insurance - a guide on my You Tube Channel

Individual medical insurance can be a bit of a minefield. There are lots of insurers out there all offering different variations of product and plan options.

There there's the question why do you need the cover in the first place ?

In the latest video on my new You Tube Channel : Purely Medical Insurance I've just posted a new four minure video that simply take you through what medical insurance is, who should have it and why then what to expect from the cover.

If you're interested in speaking to a professional FCA regulated adviser with over 20 years experience in the field please feel free to contact me as below  :

Telephone - 07792 075748
E-mail - philknight@pch.uk.com

You can also subscribe to the You Tube Channel, direct message the video podcast at pmicast@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @philknightpch

Disgraceful reporting by Good Morning Britain over I'm a Celebrity

First of all can I start this post by sending condolences to the family of Craig Charles this morning. I found out overnight that the Red Dwarf and Coronation Street actors brother passed away yesterday at the age of 52 - I have been a fan of Craig for many years (as a life long SF fan and watcher of Red Dwarf from day one) and thus far he had been the highlight of this years I'm a Celebrity.

That being said I was outraged this morning when Good Morning Britain presenters Richard Arnold and Kate Garraway spent seven or eight minutes interviewing one of Gemma Collins TOWIE cast mates about her comedic departure from the show (I'm A Celebrity) yesterday. Having had a good laugh about that (literally) the follow up to that segment was to mention that Craig Charles was also leaving the program following the sudden death of his brother. That was it, no commiseration or discussion of his input into the show and then worse of all, they went back to laughing about Gemma. Garraway managed to get out a "very sad news" comment between guffaws but that was it. The story was largely ignored when it should have lead and the way it was treated was brutally insensitive and I hope none Craigs family was watching.

How is it possible that a death in the family should play second fiddle to an obese and talentless reality star who for four days did nothing but utter inanities.

I think it shows a level of unprofessionalism and journalistic poor judgment on the part of both presenters on GMB and the editorial staff. I would complain directly to them but of course, a reality TV star is always ratings gold and GMB can't afford not to pick up the floating TOWIE viewer.

This really is tabloid TV appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Friday, 14 November 2014

My new You Tube Channel - Purely Medical Insurance

You can find my new You Tube Channel by clicking on this link :


The plan is to put new vides on medical insurance related topics every fortnight. The first video is a general introduction to me and my practice and then the next video planned is an overview of personal medical insurance.

If you'd like to know more about this kind of insurance or need some help with your cover there are full details on the videos.

** 20th November 2014 update **

Ive just added a new video giving an overview of personal medical insurance cover - please check it out at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0wOdjaZtGs

Friday, 7 November 2014

You Tube and PMICast #59

Two main issues to cover off in todays blog post.

Firstly the new episode of PMICast (the UK's only podcast devoted to medical insurance) is now live and downloadable in all the usual places plus on-line at www.pmicast.podbean.com. Even though I haven't had the chance to record and upload an ep for about a month the downloads are still looking good and several thousand people per month are listening so please continue.

I have also today set up and begun to upload to a new, more salesy You Tube Channel which hopefully over time will become a companion piece to the audio podcast.

You can see the first video, an introductory affair over at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGqeCi75qgQ

The aim of the new channel is to have a single issue video-cast between 2 and 6 minutes long that is scripted (as opposed to the off the cuff podcast). In future editions I'll talk more about my practice, work with introducers and other specific PMI related topics. I have some interesting ideas for the channel so please watch this space.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who has been returning to the blog over the last three or four days. From posting virtually nothing in October I've been trying to get some content up and running and the site visits have been exceptional - Wednesday was the second highest number of visits to the blog ever and it looks as if today might actually beat the target - so please keep reading and tell all your friends !



Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Setting up a new IFA Introducer

I had this idea this afternoon to run through on the blog (and other on-line sources) a current case study running through the process of finding, working with and then setting up a new introducer for private medical insurance. I've found these blog posts covering my work with introducers to be amongst the most popular on the blog and immensely useful to me from a business point of view - my google searches for this area are very strong and I regularly pick up new introducers on the back of people reading my copy and replying or feeding back.

Finding the introducer

The case I will use as the main 'inspiration' in this article is a Wealth Management multi adviser IFA practice based in the South East of England. I first contacted them in April/May this year.

We came across each other via Linkedin and I began speaking initially to their compliance manager. After a week or two of send e-mails back and forth I arranged to meet one of his colleagues for a coffee in Leeds when he was visiting one of their advisers in the local area. This session was really a 'getting to know you' meeting and we discussed in the main my experience, advisory process and both organisations due diligence process for working with other parties.

I tend to find my introducers in one of two ways, the first is fairly obvious as I work with a number I have had dealings with in the past, primarily advisers I interacted with between 1994 and 2007 when I worked as a broker consultant for a variety of medical insurers (WPA, Guardian Health, PPP, BCWA Healthcare, Standard Life Healthcare and First Assist). I do also regularly find them via Linkedin (check out my profile here) and find this business social network enormously useful and I suspect I will use it more and more in coming years.

Building the relationship

The initial session described above went extremely well (to the point that the individual I met with referred me to his brother who is an adviser with another company to look at a case for him) and following referral upwards to director level I ended up travelling South in early October to present to the person who historically had dealt with non-regulated products in the business and was keen to include PMI in a suite of general insurance products he was putting together. As is often the way we were really speaking from the same song sheet and we were able to agree a plan whereby I would present to the teams sales meeting in the near future. The presentation format was agreed and I actually did this presentation earlier this week.

Sales Presentation

The basis of my sales presentation to this kind of audience is to keep things high level and non-technical. My job is not to teach advisers about PMI but rather to give basic knowledge and thus confidence to raise PMI with the right kind of client. So I generally use a five or six slide overview of
me and my practice including details of the medical insurance market, how my advisory practice works with introducers and their clients and finally some key sales and client segmentation support.

The Premier Choice Healthcare introducer process.

Again this presentation went extremely well and we are now in the process of filling in the paperwork to set up the introducer agreement. I am also awaiting details to quote on the IFA's own medical insurance scheme to review as well !

Although I won't detail all the paperwork and admin process here, the introducer agreement process we use is a two stage affair. Firstly I need to collate some basic regulatory, due diligence and identity information in an introducer 'fact find' which I then send over to the Premier Choice compliance team who check with the FCA database and then issue the final introducer agreement for checking and final sign off.

The above process whilst not necessarily 'standard' (some introducers take more work and some less) is certainly representative of the kind of work I do when creating the relationship with a new introducer, particularly in the IFA sector - of course, having done all this is when the hard work of developing business for and with the new introducer begins in earnest.

if your practice or anyone you know would like to work with me in developing medical insurance as an income stream for your business and to offer better advice for your clients please do feel free to contact me :

07792 075748

I look forward to speaking.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Shameless Plug for medical insurance

I'm a medical insurance intermediary.

If you either need new medical insurance or a review of your current plan I can help.

I also work with IFA's, Accountants, General Brokers and so on who refer their medical insurance clients to me in return for a share of the commission.

You can visit my medical insurance website at http://pch.uk.com/consultants/phil-d-knight/
for further information on who I am, what I do and which products I can help with.

Suffice to say I work with individuals, families, companies, the self employed, high net worth clients based both in the UK and around the world.

Feel free to contact me for more information - philknight@pch.uk.com or 07792 075747.

I'm fully FCA regulated via my compliance provider : Premier Choice Healthcare FCA number 312878.

Important changes to Linkedin and my You Tube Channel

Been another busy few weeks and having come back from holiday at the weekend there are no signs of change.

However I am keen to work harder and more effectively on my marketing and client support. With that in mind I am planning to revamp a few things.

The PMICast podcast will evolve and change - more on that in coming weeks.

I've already started to overhaul my Linkedin profile - see more about that by checking out my Linkedin page - uk.linkedin.com/pub/philip-knight/1a/b47/58b/
I've already updated the background, added a better image picture and changed the website links so they firstly describe what they do but also actually work !

I am also planning to re-launch and update my You Tube channel to make it both more professional and also useful to clients. Hopefully I can also popularise PMI a little bit more and get a few more hits in the process. As it stands I have a few plans and will update on th blog as we go, in the meantime please feel free t visit the current Channel at : https://www.youtube.com/user/pkn439/videos

So the message as usual is to watch this space !

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Episode 58 of PMICast is now up on iTunes

It's been a busy few weeks work wise and personally so I haven't been updating the blog in terms of business blogging too much recently so apologies for my laxness.

I have just found time to record the latest episode of my medical insurance podcast.

You can stream live at www.localventure.blogspot.com or find us on iTunes (or you're preferred pod catcher) by searching for PMICast.

In the ep this week we're discussing how important it is to have your PMI reviewed regularly.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Teaching karate - harder than you might think

This is probably a bit of an daft point to make but teaching karate is a lot harder than you might think.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle a my club last week, the senior instructor and myself (I'm the assistant club instructor) were both away from training last Wednesday and we had to leave things with one of the other more junior (in terms of age, although technically he is a higher grade in Shukokai karate than me - he's in his early 20's and I'm 44) black belts to run the club for the night.

The problem was a group of quite young junior grades who from the sound of it kind of run rings around him and basically messed him around all night. Cue complaints and comments from watching parents and so forth. Ironically the parents said, after the fact, pretty unanimously that the kids should have been treated more strictly and the junior black belt felt he couldn't shout at these juniors for fear of upsetting the parents - bit of a catch 22 situation.

Teaching karate and in particular kids takes a lot of skills beyond knowing your stuff technically. You have to have strategies. Strategies for dealing with parents, with higher grades, lower grades and especially for kids. You have to create a lesson plan, even if it is only in your mind (after 34 years of training and 28 years as a dan grade I kind of do that more or less automatically) but be prepared to be flexible as the session evolves. In particular you need to develop a style of teaching that whilst confident and authoritative matches your personal style of communicating. My personal style is to have a zero tolerance to chatting, untidy gi's and lack of discipline but once the class is quiet and focused I like to relax and enjoy - have a joke but keep people on point. With kids I make sure they know what they're doing and throw in the odd extra set of press ups to make sure when their mind wanders they know there are consequences.

The important thing to remember is that these skills and strategies do not develop overnight - when I started this new (to me) style of karate in 2010 it took me a few months to get into the mind set of the new style and years to understand the changed teaching methods - even now I sometimes struggle for the next thing to pass on to the class - the important thing though is not what you say or teach to the class but rather that you do it with some authority - expect to be obeyed and people will obey you. Dither about and people will be unsure, especially kids and when kids don't know what to do they revert to type and mess around.

So the message to the junior black belt is to work harder on developing their style and not being afraid to 'take charge'. We've also had to have a rethink in the short term and make sure one of the senior guys is there regardless.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

24 Hours in Police Custody

Watching the first two episodes of this Channel 4 docu-series on 4OD (WTF broken web and Android apps BTW !!?!) and enjoying (if that is the right word for revelling in others apparent misery) it immensely.

However, extremely concerned with the casual sexism and swearing employed by the boys in blue. Given that this is clearly going to be toned down (because the police participants know they are being filmed) Seeing a sergeant in the domestic abuse team flirting/bantering with his WPC colleagues engaging in 'knob gags' seems both insensitive and inappropriate. This happens in episode 2 about 15 or so minutes in to the program.

Personally I love swearing, banter and knob gags for my sins but I would never do any of that at work and importantly I am not a public servant in a department primarily targeted at protecting women from abuse by men - the mind boggles.

That's the ironic thing about irony .... it's ironic

This morning at 9.30am the BT phone book was pushed through my letter box by someone paid to deliver (it wasn't the post man).

At 2.10 pm on the same day (8 minutes ago) a second person delivered the yellow pages.

Seems a bit wasteful not to give both books to the same person (they're much smaller than in previous years) but piling on the irony, who uses the blinking paper phone books anymore ???


On a separate subject, I'm out of the office on Wednesday and Friday this week all day so may or may not have chance to record an episode of PMICast this week - watch this space.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Top Gear departs from Argentina - we've managed to offend the Argentinians

According to (virtually) every news outlet, the Top Gear team has been hounded out of Argentina where they were filming a special.

There are a variety of reports mentioning the crew being stoned outside the airport and so on. What piqued my interest was the reporting of a Porches number plate being used in the program.

Here's a picture of the vehicle :

You will note the reg plate is : H982 FKL

The rumpus seems to be around the fact that the BBC took that vehicle into Argentina which obliquely mocks or is intended to mock with the phrase '1982 Falkland'.

That's fine, no one enjoys a bit of edgy comedy more than myself however, the executive producer of the program, Andy Wilman is quoted pretty much everywhere as saying the following :

"Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue."

A bit like that statement is almost certainly untrue.

Hmmm, let's just consider that for moment. A TV program (which incidentally I always watch and enjoy), known for it's presenters slightly right wing, overly patriotic views, which has often been criticised for being jingoistic in the past took THAT reg plate into Argentina inadvertently.

Maybe it isn't Jeremy Clarkson who is responsible for the 'gaffe's' on Top Gear but rather the production team whose grasp on reality and credulity would provoke me to the following comment :

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dr Who - Series 8 'Caretaker'

I have made no secret of my disappointment with this series about Dr Who.

Time and again Capaldi hovers on the brink of greatness.
Capaldi on the brink
But then the writers add in a ridiculous or non-sensical plot conceit and the reality of just how poor the stories this season have been comes flying back in and I feel like weeping.

This episode is however a classic for quick fire banter. Capaldi and Coleman are on fire with their mastery of one liners and ascerbic comment. Danny Pink even (finally) gets something to do and we have some development of Clare and Danny's relationship that (kind of) makes sense.

Oh, but then there's the story. It's - you guessed it - another bloody robot. The weirdest, cheapest looking killer robot it has been my misfortune to see. It was like seeing the love child of Metal Mickey and Twiki writ large. Who cares, I will say it again, Steven Moffatt... WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT ROBOTS.

They do not make good villains, they have no emotions or character, they are not scary and we do not care.

The sad thing is that next weeks episode looks pretty dull with another space based near Earth romp that has been done a million times. Looks like we're back to episode 2 of each season which is a future space story where nothing happens but we're actually halfway or more through this season - when is something meaningful going to happen ?

Ho hum.

Superior Spiderman

Ok, so the idea of a mind swap in comics isn't particularly new or sensible.

The idea of killing off (?) the hero though and implanting the mind of his arch nemesis into his brain is pretty cool.

What's cooler though is having the hero turned villain then turn hero again as he struggles to inculcate himself into the life of his heroic counterpart.

Otto Octavius, or Doctor Octopus was always a villain who's mouth wrote cheques that his physical capabilities could never match and an adversary that Peter Parker defeated repeatedly sometimes with the minimum of effort. The run of Superior Spiderman, which recounts the journey of the self styled 'Superior' Spiderman from Parkers 'death' to his return in the new run of Amazing SM is all in all a pretty fun group of issues. Otto has lost the spider puns and gained a flair for winning by planning as opposed to relying too much on spider powers and native wit. He also calls everyone a 'dolt' which is pretty fun too.

All in all an excellent run, a little spoiled I thought by the goblin nation story line which distracted (my) attention away from Otto/Parker and more onto a fussy and prissy version of the Green Goblin whose main claim to fame is converted 'goblinised' followers. I haven't finished the run yet on Marvel  Unlimited but am about to embark on the critical 30th issues and can't wait.

So suspend disbelief (it is a guy with radioactive powers who has been in his mid twenties since the 1960's) and enjoy !

Arghh ! What can I write ?

This week I have been desperately trying to come up with something interesting/relevant to put in a blog post and failing quite miserable.

I spent nearly an hour on Monday evening righting a particularly scathing piece of satire about the pricing policy of one of the insurers I work with. It descended into an awful analogy about supermarket pricing that frankly could have ended up with me in court and it still didn't really make the point I wanted to.

Then I considered starting a piece about why Garageband on my 2009 iMac crashes my broadband and decided that no one would really care.

In the end I decided to list the things I didn't write about !

Really boring sorry.

Friday, 26 September 2014

General catch up for Friday

Just a general catch up for this week.

There are two new podcasts to listen to this week.

There the new PMICast - the only UK medical insurance podcast and also my 'rant' podcast 'Afternoon Train' where I talk about anything that tickles my fancy.

Make sure that you try them out - you can find both in the PMICast stream on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com.


If you're interested in karate in Leeds there are two 'Premier' clubs to try - there's our Yeadon club in LS19 - we train twice weekly at 6.00pm for 90 minutes on Mondays and Wednesday. I am the Assistant Club Instructor working with Sensei Michael Tattersalls (6th Dan) and would be happy to answer any initial questions you might have.

If you're over the other side of Leeds, Sensei Tattersall also runs the 'Halton' side of the club (in LS15) on Tuesday and Thursdays at a variety of times depending on grade. He has also recently re-located the Halton Dojo in his new Leeds Premier Karate and Fitness Club - a custom kitted out facility with new gym due to open soon. Check out https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leeds-Premier-Karate-Club/159179260766227 for more details.

Karate-wise we are a shukokai style with the emphasis on powerful, effective techniques with lots of fitness, kata and sport fighting - really something to suit everyone from 6 to 90 (?)

Contact me or Sensei Tattersall for more info.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy blog post .... (actually a post about business conduct and my latest podcast)

Apparently to get hits on your blog you need to cynically link in to some hit movie or Apple device so the title to this blog post is my attempt to do this.

Two things I wanted to discuss, although in my opinion GotG is the best Marvel movie so far and enormous fun - highly recommend both the movie and the 'Awesome' mix tape soundtrack. Back to business....

As I'm typing this blog post I am also uploading the new episode of PMICast - number 56. Back to the weekly schedule although I really must apologise for my nasal and congested voice performance - I'm full of cold this week but did still want to get an episode out so please bear with my nasal ramblings.

This week I cover off a lot of ground for both introducers and more generally on PMI and it it wasn't for the voice it would be a good episode I think.

So please track the new ep down on iTunes - search for PMICast or stream on-line at www.pmicast.podbean.com

I also wanted moan about lack of simplicity in business practice - I grow weary of doing everything twice because people cannot be bothered to tell you they've changed an e-mail address for the submission of new business or even worse, someone doesn't bother to scroll down all the way to the bottom of a document to find the information they need to complete something. Why should I re-send the info, spend 30 minutes trying to track it down and then re-type an e-mail I sent three months ago.

Companies should create simple, robust processes that work for people and then stick to them - doing things twice and constantly having to chase everything that isn't done when people say it is drives me nuts !

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

My personal on-line brand

If you have the time, inclination and opportunity please take a moment to check me out on Google Plus.

You can find me at the following link : https://plus.google.com/116316601747539224729/posts

The advantage of this site is that you'll get all of my blog posts from www.localventure.blogspot.com as well as most of my work Twitter stuff (@localventure1 or @philknightpch).

I've had over 40,000 views on G+ since I started using it a year or two ago and it's worth following me there if you would.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Is medical insurance 'morally wrong'

Someone said to me (by e-mail) today that someone buying medical insurance is 'morally wrong'.

Everyone of course is entitled to their opinion and so of course I am about to put mine forward.

I have to take exception to this on a number of different levels. First of all, objecting to an entire multi-billion pound industry that supports thousands of people's livelihood is clearly wrong. Perhaps better to target the tobacco or alcohol industries instead ?

Especially given that private medicine clearly makes a lot of people better when they are ill. You might not like that the care provided is paid for (although of course the NHS care is paid for through direct taxation and most people pay a hell of a lot more tax than they spend on medical insurance premiums). It is true to say that not everyone can afford medical insurance - there is a financial price to be paid. However, the medical insurance industry pays tens of millions of pounds back into the NHS - all PMI insurers regularly send their policy holders to use private facilities within the NHS as part of their treatment and without this infusion of income many NHS Trusts would be further financially embarrassed than they are. Categorically it is not the fault of the private sector that the publicly funded NHS is in a bad state in some areas or treatment specialisms - that is solely the responsibility of the managers within the NHS and the central government bodies that are supposed to run them efficiently.

The NHS regular uses private hospitals to supplement NHS hospitals by using private facilities for tranches of treatment - for example in Leeds the Nuffield Hospital has been regularly used for NHS patients - freeing up time and space in various NHS teams. One assumes that it was more cost effective to provide this treatment this way than in NHS facilities. Even if it was just to reduce waiting list numbers - that isn't the private sectors fault, it is the fault of the government body that made the decision to undertake this course of action and it certainly reflects in no way on the end purchaser of medical insurance !

It is also worth noting that those people with PMI do not form part of NHS waiting lists and so are actually allowing other people to be seen earlier - with the private sector banned (as my correspondent seemed to want) can anyone actually imagine there would be more capacity or money with the NHS ?

I can understand that some people may have a political objection to private insurance on the basis of supporting the NHS - I have encountered this mindset many times in my career and whilst not agreeing with it I am open minded enough to understand their objection.

I would however ask the following questions - are private pensions morally wrong because the government pays a state pension - how dare someone save to get more than the old age pension.

Is sickness cover on your mortgage payment an outrage - the government provides after all social security and unemployment benefit it I am too sick to work.

It is sometimes very easy to knock something that we haven't taken the time to understand and consider fully but I find it morally wrong to condemn private medical insurance without first considering the logical extension of the argument being made.

Friday, 19 September 2014

PMICast and Afternoon Train podcasts this week

I really had the best of intentions to record episodes of my PMICast podcast and probably also a new Afternoon Train.

Unfortunately time has caught me again and as well as being busy I also unfortunately have a family funeral today so I am really going to struggle to even plan the podcasts let alone record and upload.

I will try to get back to it next week (although I have another funeral on Tuesday) and I am also hoping to make Afternoon Train a bit more regular (probably fortnightly at least).

Keep checking back her and on Twitter (@localventure1) for more info.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Focus on your business

As an atheist and skeptic I am generally not greatly moved by old adages and home down wisdom but every now and then life comes along and pulls the rug from under you.

There is a saying about people needing to focus on their work and in times of stress or difficulty you need to do your best work under pressure when you least feel like it and over the last few weeks I have discovered a little of this for myself.

As my business builds I find myself as busy as I ever have with both existing clients, new business and my on-going work with introducers plus the usual marketing and social media work. However we have had two recent deaths in the family and not to be a martyr it is a challenge to carry on 'as usual' when needing to support the family and be available for funerals and other issues as required.

It brings home the need to be focused, organised and of course fit in odd bits of work late in evenings or over weekend to catch up and so on.

Doctor Who Season 8 initial thoughts and a bit of a Gallifrey Gallivant moan

OK I've kept silent on the subject of Peter Capaldi's 13th Doctor for long enough.

Before I start, I am tired of people calling him (Capaldi) the twelfth Doctor - Paul McGann was the Eighth doctor and in the minisode : Night of the Doctor we saw him regenerate into John Hurt (The War Doctor and also now the 9th Doctor) and then into Eccleston (the 10th Doctor) who became Tennant, the 11th - all of the back story around Tranzalore, the Silence and the Fall of the 11th for Matt Smith (the 12th Doctor) was of course based on the fact that the Doctor from Ecclestone onwards kept his 'War Doctor' incarnation secret from everyone, seemingly also to himself on some levels due to his actions during the Time War, which of course we now know was actually his redemption and the necessarily secret removal of the planet Gallifrey from this universe.

However, here goes on the main body of my thoughts on series 8 so far (not season, we're not Americans !).

I think Capaldi is an inspired choice for the Doctor, loved his previous work - Malcolm Tucker is a work of genius character creation and an unbridled if evil, joy to watch.

However up to press, following episode 4 screened on Saturday 13th of September 2014, Capaldi is I think being poorly served by the writers, including Moffat. The season opener : Deep Breath was watchable if eminently forgettable fare : a Russell T Davis lite spectacle but little in the way of subtlety or depth and aside from excellent character turns by Capaldi and Coleman (mainly the restaurant scene) left me with no memories but that hideously poorly rendered, massively out of scale T-Rex. I did loathe the  slapstick Sontaran element but the inter-species lesbian love debate that arose from the story did cause me send positive feedback on Twitter and Facebook at the time.

An adequate if uninspired Dalek episode follows (when oh when will they temporarily retire the daleks to make their re-appearance actually shocking or meaningful?). On balance I thought this was a re-tread of previous Dalek stories including Robert Shearmans excellent 'Dalek' and the less brilliant season opener introducing the 'Clara-Dalek' (Asylum of the Daleks).

Then Robot of Sherwood. What can I say about this one. Each year Mark Gatiss is asked to write an episode. I idly wonder, if Stephen Moffat asks Gatiss to write 'the worst, silliest episode you can manage' because that's what he does, every year. At least he's consistent.

Robots are boring. They have by their very nature, no emotions or character - so why the hell should I care about their Promised Land - the answer is of course I don't. I suspect that the effort of creating and sustaining the crack in the wall, tardis exploding, silence is falling etc series arcs have left Moffat with nothing left to give but a wholly obvious and frankly tiresome arc that given the involvement of robots will also leave the rest of the audience not caring either. Maybe the Baker era Giant Robot will turn up in the Promised Land - Yawn !

So that's two episodes out of four that have a boring and pointless adversary - where are the Weeping Angels or Vashda Nerada when you need them ?

Which takes me to 'Listen' the fourth ep. On the surface a scary, character driven piece that finally delivers something of promise that Capaldi can work with. Enjoyed it immensely as a stand alone episode but the plot holes ..... aaarrrggghhh 111111

Who was on the bed during the scene in the children's home because if Clara was the cause of the whole 'grabbed by the ankle syndrome back on Gallifrey then there actually aren't any perfect hider monsters. Of course that doesn't work because we know there are, otherwise who pencilled 'listen' on the chalk board in the Tardis. Let's put aside how the telepathic Tardis never spotted a malevolent alien hider in the first place. Whilst we're at it we'd also better forget about the new telepathic console as well because that was never there before (we'd definitely have spotted a giant goo computer at some stage).

Of course if there aren't any ankle grabbing aliens then why does every human being in history have the same dream ?

Lastly and most importantly, if the planet Gallifrey is time-locked, a fact established throughout the first seven series of new Who then how on earth did the Tardis just stroll onto Gallifrey to allow Clare to visit a young pre-Academy doctor ?

The following article comes up with some good ideas on how and why so please check it out :


I do slightly disagree, although the Moment and the War Doctor did change our previous understanding of the Time War and it's conclusion my impression was that the Time Lock was still implemented by Rassilon (Timothy Dalton) following the events of the Day of the Doctor - the Gallifreyan council we saw was at an alternative location and I think they even referred obliquely in the episode to Rassilons War Council and the Time Lock plans.

Unless the Time Lock exists, the events in End of Time make little sense as the 'evil time' lords attempted to breach their own Time Lock'.

Whichever way you look at it, to obtain an (admittedly) shocking plot twist Steven Moffatt has put in place a real continuity problem that the destruction of the Time Lords and the Time War were created in 2005 to prevent. Davies admitted when re-booting the series that the Time Lords existence caused too many deus ex machina and continuity issues and effectively wrote them out of the plot for that reason.

At this point in time I am only half heartedly watching Dr Who - hoping for an improvement but not at present really expecting it.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Episode 55 of PMICast is now available

Managed to find the time to record and post this weeks episode of PMICast this morning.

Should appear on iTunes, Stitcher etc later today but you can stream on line now at www.pmicast.podbean.com

This week I have a talk again about renewal pricing on personal plans.

As always please forward comments here or use the podcast e-mail : pmicast@podbean.com

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Apples Key Note - 9th of September 2014

As a tech lover and Apple afficanado I absorbed the announcements yesterday with some interest. Having said that I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Iphone 6

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus look great but I'm still not over my iPhone 5 which functions more than adequately and my problem is that in June I ditched the 5 for the larger screen Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (as my daily driver) which has proved a great addition to my tech arsenal and having fully acclimatised to the Android 4.4.2 with the Touch Whizz interface I'm completely happy with the integration into my work flow and even the 5.5 inch 6 Plus isn't going to attract me back to IOS on the phone.

I do look forward to seeing IOS 8 in action on the iPhone 5 and my iPad 4 but don't see it as a major driver to my moving back to IOS on the new phones.

Apple Watch

I am actually in the market for a fitness/notification device and the fact that the Apple Watch doesn't work with my daily driver phone is a problem. I could switch back to the iPhone 5 but the truth is I don't much like the square form factor of the new Apple device. I was also slightly disappointed by the original iPad quick decent into slowness and inadequate sensitivity to touch enough to be wary of buying a first generation apple 'prototype' device at the moment.

I suspect strongly that I will probably end up going for a later version of an Android wear device but time will tell - I like the look of the Moto 360 but am wary about battery life issues. I've also checked out the Samsung Gear Fit but it does have very limited functionality.

Apple Pay 

To me this is the really interesting idea. For years I've been trying to ditch my wallet and replace with just using the phone but in the UK the opportunity to use contactless payment via the phone is very limited. An integrated payment solution that could replace my debit card would be massive for me and in future iterations could tempt me back over to IOS on the phone but it simply doesn't exist in the UK yet but I'm hopeful that as Apple pushes their system other providers in the Android space will also ride on their coat tails to offer other more comprehensive options than we have now. Regardless until the system within retailers stores becomes available proper phone based payment is just a pipe dream.

Medical insurance renewals

I spoke about increasing medical insurance renewals on last weeks PMICast (http://pmicast.podbean.com/e/pmicast-54-back-from-summer-hiatus-talking-introducers-and-late-renewals/) and will probably touch on it during the new ep which I'm planning to record tomorrow all being well.

I've spent most of this last week going through my personal client renewals and due to larger than expected increases doing market reviews to make sure my clients aren't overpaying. In the normal course of events I am loath to move individual clients between insurers very often - it isn't fair to the client or indeed the insurer but if in one year an increase on a plan is over £ 50 per month (I've had two cases where a £ 100 premium has gone up to £ 150 per month in one renewal) then I have no choice. Incidentally these cases I'm discussing are not due to claims related increases but just medical inflation, age band movement and fundamental alterations to how products are priced.

Bottom line is, assuming no major claims we can usually find a way to save some money against an expensive renewal so don't panic if there is a large increase. I'd also say that these increases are not market wide many insurers are putting in more standard 3% to 10% increases which is about what I would usually expect.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Summer hiatus for podcast is over ... episode 54 is now available

As regular readers of the blog and listeners to my podcasts will know, my weekly podcast : PMICast which covers all aspects of the medical insurance industry takes a break over the main holidays (Christmas and the Summer in particular) when the pressures of both work, family and recording podcasts inevitably come into conflict.

So rather than soldier on recording in small bursts or late at night I take a break and return when things settle down (i.e. the kids are back at school). With this in mind I m pleased to announce that PMICast is formally back with a long (20+ minutes) episode catching up on some key issues for the end of summer. The last recording was in mid July so I've had a 7 week gap but am now back (hopefully) on the usually weekly schedule.

As always this episode includes news, PMI product tuff and of course some introducer based content. You can listen to it on line here : http://pmicast.podbean.com/e/pmicast-54-back-from-summer-hiatus-talking-introducers-and-late-renewals/ alternatively it will be available from iTunes later today and all the usual places (Sticher and so on).

Make sure you check it out and if you have any comments please post here or e-mail me at pmicast@gmail.com

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Identifying introducers clients for private medical insurance

When people ask me what I do for a living I often remark that rather than 'selling medical insurance' which is, at the most basic level the nuts and bolts of my main role, that I am a marketeer. This is because although I do advise clients on all aspects of medical insurance I see my main task as always being on the look out for ways to acquire new clients whether this be by networking, client referral, social media or more traditional telephone or client mailings. Whatever the method I get more excited in some ways by obtaining I new lead than I do in actually fulfilling the clients need for cover although both are clearly vital parts of the process.

So when I am talking to my introducer clients I always try to bear in mind that although they need to know the nuts and bolts (at a basic level anyway) of how PMI works it is actually far more important to discuss how they can find the client in the first place. Clearly without a client there is no one to advise !

The good news however is that if you are an IFA, Accountant, General broker, solicitor etc and you have more than a handful of clients then almost certainly there is some medical insurance business to be ferreted out of your existing client bank without having to a) locate brand new PMI clients and b) do too much hard work.

My advice is that for both SME and individual clients when you do an annual review meeting or discuss other on-going issues with them it's just a case of asking them if they have medical insurance, if they want it and if they do have it can we review if for you ? This then becomes a warm lead for me and the client gains access to a set of advice on their medical insurance that otherwise they would never have had. We therefore, with very little work on the part of the introducer create a 'virtuous circle' : I get a new client; the introducer derives additional income from the client they would not have ordinarily received and the client receives professional advice on an important insurance protection.

So my role here is to 'sell medical insurance' but moreover it is to advise the introducer as to how, quickly and easily to derive more income from their existing clients.

If you are a professional adviser who would like help with medical insurance for clients please feel free to call on : 07792 075748.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Police Accountability

Following my blog post yesterday I have watched a number of videos where members of the public have confronted and filmed police officers in the course of their duty and it makes for quite scary and depressing viewing.

Most of the filmmakers are polite, intelligent and informed, as one supposes you need to be to have the presence of mind to film an encounter with a police office and ask cogent, intelligent questions. In return almost without exception the officers are confrontational, aggressive and sadly, often ignorant of the law.

I understand that police officers often have to deal with difficult situations and dangerous criminals however, the law is set up to protect everyone not just the police and the rights of criminals. The rest of us, law abiding people who go our of their way not to become involved in criminality have rights too and the police would be well advised to consider this when dealing with people outwith of criminal investigation type situations.

I would suggest this video as a starter : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7BQvt3XeAY 

It shows a member of the public, who seems to have done nothing more than make a minor traffic error - which incidentally he denies - and is then pursued quite aggressively by a police officer who frankly makes a total idiot of himself based solely on his lack of knowledge of the basics of his job. After all if a police office doesn't know when and in what situation he is able to arrest someone or ask for their personal details following an incident with a push bike then what earthly use is he in the face of a serious crime.

The mind boggles and my advice is to always film any encounter with a police officer, it is totally legal to film the police at work in public under any circumstance except for one exclusion based on Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 (see http://content.met.police.uk/Site/photographyadvice) and this only applies if the images taken could be deemed to assist a terrorist, in all other circumstances it is perfectly legal to film the police and given the way officers seem to act when on camera I would be unwilling to be questioned off camera for fear that the officers in question would abuse their authority, whether out of ignorance or malice.

I'd really advise people to do some research around this subject on You Tube - it is totally fascinating.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The limits of law enforcement accountability

I came across this piece of video in my FaceBook feed today and watched it with my mouth agape. Of particular interest is the last four or five minutes as the camera man is effectively intimidated by two uniformed police offices in his own home.


Now, I cannot discuss the rights and wrongs of civilian personnel working in marked police vehicles in this way, although the positioning of the speed van in the narrow road and the fact that the operator seems determined to hide his face seems suspicious but I just don't know whether the police van was being used correctly.

However, it really takes some gall for a police officer to clearly trespass on a private citizens property on camera - despite repeated requests to leave - then to challenge the mental health of an individual who it seems to me was showing some admirable restraint in the face of what seems to be quite provocative behaviour by the police officers. Remember at this stage they have no warrant, no suspicion a crime had occurred or in fact any proof that the camera man was even the person involved - I'm a white male, in my 40's with a beard and own a video camera - it could have been me !

It occurs to me that if anything the gentleman filming said was inaccurate the officers wouldn't have slunk back to their patrol vehicle in the way they did.

I will be keeping an eye on this story for further developments - fascinating stuff about the limits of what the police and public can do and how the police, like any public body need to be accountable for their actions.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Specialist marketing services for senior doctors

One of my businesses that I don't often mention on Localventure is Medico Legal Marketing (www.medicolegalmarketing.co.uk).

This is a specialist business working solely with senior doctors, surgeons, consultants and GP's assisting them with increasing their revenue from their medico legal practice. The business has been active since 2009 and we have a wealth of contacts in this sector that enable us to increase flow of business for doctors from the specialist/expert witness side of their practice. This can be a lucrative area for doctors who are interested in using their medical skills in a more entrepreneurial way.

If you're a doctor (probably registrar level or higher) working in a senior position and have access to consulting rooms it is likely that we can help you add value and income to your knowledge.

Click on the above web link for full information.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Read an article this morning ...

I read a piece this morning from a health industry website this morning.

I rarely have time to sit and read the articles they produce although I do receive two or three link bait e-mails from them daily for some reason. This article piqued my interest as it purportedly aimed to discuss the ramifications of advances in information technology and its effect on business.

As a business person/entrepreneur and big fan of tech I was interested to hear the thoughts of the  guest blogger on this site.

However on reading the brief (3 paragraph) piece I was disappointed. I won't embarrass the author by naming them in this post but in essence the writer told us that the internet was invented 25 years ago, employees can't get away from being on-line and sometimes answer e-mails out of hours and this is a bad thing. Oh and only 14% of people plan to see themselves working in a traditional office environment in the future.

Frankly there is so much more to talk about in terms of tech and work/employment - and I've already written the same amount as the writer just moaning about his piece - what about the effects of tech and the time saved in travel both for meetings and home worked, are employees more or less happy, did people ever want to work in an office in the first place and so on ?

I'm slightly frustrated by seeing this kind of low end, non-comment as I did discuss writing blog posts and creating a podcast for this outlet with them a couple of years ago and nothing ever got off the ground. In some ways it seems to me, reading some of their output that they are in fact simply producing content for the sake of doing so to generate hits to create ad revenue.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Mac Mail finally working again

After nearly a year of using Mavericks on my two Macs, yesterday after much effort and many hours of googling and adjusting settings in preferences I have managed to get Mac Mail working properly.

Initially on downloading and installing Mavericks on release in 2013 I had the same problem as most gmail users that mail wouldn't replicate from the google properly and as a result, overnight I'd had to stop using Apple mail client almost completely.

However the main problem I had was a work related issue where my outlook server wouldn't accept the password on my new Mac Book when I tried to set it up on mail in April earlier this year. The account had historically worked reasonably well on my older iMac. I realised yesterday that one setting in the advanced interface on the Mac Book was wrong and when adjusted to be the same setting as the iMac, magically everything started working perfectly. In addition I discovered that in the intervening time period gmail has started working across the Mac system as well so my e-mail folder system has now replicated across both gmail and my two macs.

Trouble is of course now my work flow sits predominantly in gmail, aside from sending client e-mail - so need to come up with a system that uses both apps to the most advantage.

Phew - good things come to he who waits !

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Welcome back to work

As readers will know I've been away on holiday for a few weeks and in that time period I haven't blogged at all and only put a few non-business items up on @localventure on twitter.

I am however back this week and hope to begin blogging more regularly again as work settles back down and we begin the pull towards the end of 2014.

Whilst I was way I asked Roger Edwards from the MPAF podcasts to write a guest post for me covering off his love of business podcasting and giving some insight into the genesis of his podcast project. You will find this post immediately below this one. So please do read over Rogers comments and make sure you listen to his new podcast. You will find a link to his webpage at the bottom of his post and also an on-line streaming link to my interview on MPAF a few weeks ago to the right of this post - click and listen from here !

Lastly, PMICast will be back next week - watch out for news here and in the Twitter feed.


Guest Blog Post from Roger Edwards from the Marketing, Protection and Finance podcast

I’ve been listening to podcast for years. To my mind they are the ideal way to suck in knowledge and learn new skills and hear inspiring ideas. Admittedly they are much more popular in the States than in the UK mainly because our American marketers are about five years ahead of us in all things digital. Great shows like “The Mad Marketing Podcast” by Marcus Sheridan, “Content Warfare” by Ryan Hanley and “Six Pixels of Separation” by Mitch Joel.

After a little research I realised that there wasn’t a UK Podcast aimed at advisers and providers covering the marketing of protection and finance propositions. I became very excited at the prospect of filling this gap in the market. I could provide a useful resource and also use it as a vehicle to promote my marketing consultancy business.

So I asked a few people what they thought of the idea.

I heard the question, “What’s a podcast?” from quite a few people. Did this put me off launching the Marketing Protection and Finance Podcast? Not at all. I am convinced that the medium is as attractive to the UK audience as it is to those in the US. I just had to be prepared to spend time educating my potential audience to the benefits. A podcast is of course effectively a radio show that you download to listen to at your own convenience. That means you can listen to it in the car, on the train or on the treadmill. Shows of between 15 and 30 minutes fit with commute times and treadmill sessions.  

“Roger you must use video,” came the advice from an agency friend of mine. Whilst I believe that video is good I think audio is better. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) watch video when you’re driving a car. It’s difficult, and shaky, to watch video on a treadmill. Audio works wherever you are and however long you have.

And the best thing about podcasting and using the interview style I’ve adopted for MPAF, is that I get to talk to lots of interesting people. By talking to advisers, marketers and experts I’m learning new stuff at the same time as I’m creating content for my audience. Though when I interviewed Phil there was a real danger that we might veer off the subject of social media and start talking about science fiction instead.

MPAF is now 6 episodes in and I have another 5 in the bag. I’ve actually have people approach me to appear on the show and I’m very pleased about that.

So please go and download a few episodes and have a listen. If you want to be on the show get in touch.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

MPAF interview now live on line

My interview on the MPAF podcast is now live and available for download on iTunes (search for MPAF podcast) or you can listen directly from the MPAF site at :


You can also listen here at Localventure by clicking the play button on the top right of the page.

The podcast is all about inspiration ideas for finance professionals and during our chat Roger, the host of the MPAF podcast and I talk about all things PMICast - it's actually a pretty good listen so if you're interested in this blog, me, PMI, insurance or business (podcasting) generally I'd recommend a listen both to my episode and also to the other episodes of the MPAF podcast.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

**!* Public Service Announcement **!*

It is my birthday today.

No one is allowed to shout at me or be mean to me today.

End of announcement.

Thanks You.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Update blog post

There is not one but two podcasts in the PMICast stream (www.pmicast.podbean.com). First of all there is the usual weekly PMICast. This is episode 53 and it's the final one prior to me going away on holiday on the 24th. It's a slightly abbreviated version this week due to it being a bad week time wise but it has vital updates on a couple of issues so it's definitely worth a listen.

I've also uploaded a new episode of my personal non-business podcast : Afternoon Train - this is a train of thought podcast covering off issues of interest to me : work, comics, TV, SF and so on - try it out.

As I mention in this weeks PMICast I am away on holiday from the 24th of July until 11th of August. Whilst I am away I am available on the phone and e-mail as usual :

07792 075748


I will be able to provide client reports as usual so if you (or if you're an introducer) need a report and review I will be able to work within my usual turnaround times for this and also any issues or problems that may arise.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

New episode of PMICast (Number 52) available now !

Have just recorded and uploaded episode 52 of the podcast - on iTunes (search for 'PMICast') or listen on-line at www.pmicast.podbean.com

Have a listen if you're into business podcasting or insurance generally.

This particular episode ties in very closely to this blog so you need to read the last weeks posts to understand fully what I am rambling on about.

Enjoy !


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Gently 'Critiquing' Clients

When running a business one very quickly learns how flipping important your clients are.

Without them you simply don't earn money, you can have the best 'processes' or business idea in the world but without some prospective clients to push in at the top of your marketing sausage machine all you will get out is air not an income - obviously this is horrible analogy but you get the idea.

So in my honest opinion you really shouldn't moan about clients but in the interests of education today I am going to break that cardinal rule but only for the sake of ultimately helping them out.
But first let me dissemble slightly. My clients are generally pretty good - courteous, good to deal with and largely, they don't create too many problems.

Something seems to happens to both clients and prospects when it gets warmer. They start thinking about barbecues, summer holidays and sport (insert preferred item here from : World Cup/Wimbledon/Tour De France/Test Match/Common Wealth Games ad infinitum). As a result they do one of two things or both. Firstly they begin to focus on getting tiny, annoying issues off their desk before they disappear on holiday - I know I am the same.
This means for me the low level, easy to solve but  time consuming niggles begin to appear and eat into the day.

Secondly and far more frustratingly is that no one will sign and return an application form - I have literally never been so busy but clients will simply not send back their forms regardless of my gentle cajoling.

So here's a message to clients around the world, some of us are also going on holiday too and we need to sort your case out before we disappear so that your cover/contract/service agreement is in place when you go away on holiday.

Let me give you a case in point. I set up a plan for a client for 1st of June 2014 start date. The form came in fine and the plan is now up and running fully. He called me this morning at 9.30am to check he was covered for a leg injury he just suffered whilst away on holiday - I was able to re-assure him that as cover was in place there would be no problem and he can claim on his return.

Imagine for a moment that this person was one of the eight or nine clients from whom I am currently awaiting forms to put cover in place from 1st of July or August. I'm really not whining because I want to get paid on your cases (OK so I am a little bit) but mainly, if things go wrong and your cover is not in place because you didn't return my application form then it really is the clients fault and no one else's.

On a more serious note, it really is important to ensure you're covered and part of my job is to chase up these things to make sure everything is sorted and we can all go away on holiday with the peace of mind that nothing will go wrong.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A skeptical approach to medicine

In my 'day job' I am an independent FCA regulated adviser on private medical insurance advising clients in the UK and around the world. I have worked in this field since 1994 and as you might guess do a lot of work with clients on involved and technical plans covering a range of scientifically proven medical interventions.

Or so you might think.

Away from this day job I am what is termed a 'skeptic' - someone who wants, nay demands to see evidence for any given claim whether it be medical, scientific, stories in the media and so forth.

Is it surprising therefore that many medical insurance plans include a range of benefits for which there is absolutely no evidence for their efficacy. In fact I would go further. They cover some interventions which are in potentia quite harmful - in so far as using them without considering more effective treatments could result in harm as medical problems are left untreated.

I am of course talking about what can be deemed 'Complimentary and Alternative Medicine or CAM's.

Here's some extracts from insurers literature on this area :

£1,000 combined overall limit for therapists (physiotherapist, osteopath and chiropractor), acupuncturists and homeopaths charges.


f you’re suffering from back or neck pain, food intolerances or other general ailments, your GP or specialist might refer you to a therapist. Therapies we cover include:


Physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy
On specialist referral

These product literature extracts are from three of the largest UK private medical insurers and as you can see all three of them would cover between them :

Chiropratic treatment, Osteopathy, Acunpuncture and Homeopathy.

The problem is, these are clinically ineffective therapies that do nothing beyond acting as a placebo (incidentally, from an ethical standpoint real doctors are not really supposed to prescribe placebo treatments although many do).

Lets take these four modalities in turn and gently mock them.

1) Chiropratic

This method of manipulation of patients was in fact invented in 1895 by a gentleman called D D Palmer. 

Chiropractors are not doctors, they are not 'medically qualified' (unless they happen to be medical doctors or nurses or physios who have trained to be a chiropractor. The basis of this practice 'chiropractic subluxation' has no robust significant evidential support. There is also some evidence to show that there a significant, albeit rare risks associated with this modality that may lead you to think that the benefit:gain ratio simply isn't worth the risk - probably a good idea to check before you visit one.

2) Osteopathy

Kind of like Chiropractics poor cousin, osteopathy was invented in the USA in the 1870's.

It relies on the following principles :

  1. The body is a functional unit. An integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit ("Man is Triune" – A.T. Still[20])
  2. The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself
  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated
  4. Rational therapy is based on consideration of the first three principles

Sounds really scientific doesn't it ?

According to the British School of Osteopathy you can train to become an osteopath in a  couple of years, oh and there's no evidence it works beyond placebo. Here's what the NHS website says about this modality :

When we use a treatment and feel better, this can sometimes happen because of a phenomenon called the placebo effect, and not because of the treatment itself. To find out more, watch avideo about the placebo effect.
This means, although many people treated by osteopaths report good results, it is not always clear how effective the treatment actually is for certain conditions.
3) Acunpunture

So Chi and meridians anyone ?

When someone shows me where my chi lives I might try acupuncture. Dozens of (largely) poorly conducted studies have tried to justify acupuncture over the years. The larger and more professional and rigourously conducted the trial the less the effect this CAM seems to have.

The problem is, there are dozens of different versions of this treatment, all claiming different meridian points and so on - here's what the NHS says :

However, for the majority of conditions for which acupuncture is used, the scientific evidence is inconclusive or there has been no attempt to collect good-quality evidence. For a small number of conditions, there is evidence that acupuncture does not work.
More research is needed into the effectiveness of acupuncture on a wide range of conditions.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say that acupuncture is an effective treatment for persistent lower back pain.

Incidentally, a luke-warm hot water bottle is also an effective treatment for lower back pain and it doesn't cost £ 40 an hour - who knew ?

4) The ultimate is non-scientific nonsense - Homeopathy

This was invented in 1796 by German : Samuel Hahnemann.

In essence Homeopathy says that a substance that causes a symptom can, when diluted to teeny tiny concentrations in water actually cure the problem. That's right - the poison when diluted will cure you. 

Depending on the dilution of the 'remedy' a homeopathic potion or pill could have not one single atom of the starting substance (a 12C dilution is only 60% likely to have one molecule left and any thing over this dilution level is just water) but that's ok because homeopathy uses a method of whacking the potion with a leather book called 'succussion' this enables the water to retain a memory of the original substance.

To get a feel for how homeopathy works and how utterly bonkers it is try this video :

Putting aside the fact that there is no possible scientific method for any of this rubbish to work - think about it .... there are actually NHS Homeopathic hospitals - in London and Bristol

So that's all right then - that's money well spent.

Lastly the Commons Science and Technology Committee reported in 2010 that homeopathy doesn't work beyond placebo - but the conservative government refused to act upon this report and ban this mumbo jumbo on the NHS.

For the full scoop on homeopathy can I suggest that you watch this 'documentary' :


So whilst most elements of a medical insurance plan are scientifically based, this one bit certainly isn't - I'd always recommend against using these kinds of modality but if you are considering them either via your PMI plan or (horror of horrors) paying for it yourself maybe do a bit of research about what it is that you're considering and then go and see a real doctor instead.