Monday, 22 February 2016

Twitter for my business

I am a big fan of Twitter and use it regularly for both personal and business use.

However, I would like to actually earn money from time spent on Twitter - unlike this blog and my Podcast (click to listen) where I know for a fact over the years I have found and taken on new clients as a result of content iIve put up on Twitter I can't isolate a single new contact or client I've received directly as a result of using Twitter.

If you research this subject on line (assuming you're not actually paying for ads) most people talk about engagement and breaking stories, creating a personality people can follow and so on - lots of intangibles that are pretty difficult to capitalise on, especially in a 140 character environment.

Where I have had some success it trying to tie in the podcast and this blog together into a coherent message and I suspect that leveraging Twitter will ultimately take the same kind of approach.

With that in mind could I ask readers of my blog to perhaps follow me on Twitter and when they have chance to re-tweet my posts if they think they are of interest.

The main accounts that I use are :

@localventure1 - this is my main work and personal account (so you'll get a feel for my personality there if nowhere else. As it's my main personal account I only follow 20 people in whom I have a special interest to please follow me there but you won't get a follow back.

@localventure2 - this is my general work account - follow me here and you'll get one right back straight away.

@whisky1 - this is a second general business account from a previous business venture that I keep going as I have a couple of thousand followers there - follow me here and you'll definitely get a follow back too.

So hopefully you can find me on Twitter and follow me to keep up to date on my work and home stuff.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Issues to consider when advising clients - moratorium underwriting method

As readers of the blog will know I work closely with professional introducers to my business, mainly IFA's, Accountants and General/Commercial insurance brokers. There are a range of issues that crop up when I am advising them and their clients on various technical and sales issues around medical insurance.

An interesting one came up yesterday for a client who had inadvertently fallen foul of the 'moratorium' clause on a new medical insurance plan set up 12 months ago.

The client had needed to make a claim and hadn't realised that the condition they had, as a pre-existing problem prior to the start of the cover would not be covered.

This is the problem with moratoria and despite the terms of the mori being pointed out twice in my report to the clients it is something that people, usually by mistake, end up missing.

Broadly the moratorium underwriting method says that in the five years prior to an application any existing medical problem will be excluded. Then moving forwards, once the plan has commenced if the condition remains in abeyance (with no symptoms, advice or treatment) for a period of two years the problem will come back into cover in full, permanently.  (This technically is a 5-2-2 rolling moratorium and some insurers offer slightly different variations on this same theme but the above is as near to 'standard' as one gets in the UK PMI industry).

The dual purpose of a mori is to offer the client a quick way to get on cover with the minimum of form filling and for the insurer it offers almost identical underwriting/risk profile to a standard fully medically underwritten application. This is why of course with one or two exceptions a new business case set up on underwritten or mori basis will be priced by insurers at the same level.

The potential problem for the client here, despite the warnings by an adviser like myself, is that either they don't remember when the last flare up of a medical problem was or they don't understand that a linked or associated medical problem could easily fall foul of the mori rules and end up with a declined claim. My advice to clients is, at underwriting stage on a new case just to tell me everything that they have wrong with them and with 22 years of experience I can usually give solid guidance as to what will and will not be covered. Any gaps in my knowledge can easily be filled with a call to the insurers underwriting department for clarification on a specific condition or scenario the client might want to explore based on their medical history or sometimes, imagination.

Either way, getting advice before signing on the dotted line is of course vital and another key reason why I would always suggest that a protective purchaser of medical insurance speaks to an independent adviser like myself rather than go direct to an insurer.

For more information please call me on : 07792 075748 or e-mail :

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Increases on medical insurance tax

If you have existing private medical insurance then as a result of tax changes to insurance premium tax in the recent budget your tax burden has increased by 58%.

Did you know this ?

When I come across a client who was unaware of this or has not had a recent review of their cover, whether they are an individual or a company purchaser, I recommend that we have an informal and confidential discussion about their options. Not that moving insurers is necessarily the right option but older plans can be overpriced to begin with (not even taking into account the tax increase) and we may well be able to help by putting in place better cover at a lower cost.

At my specialist medical insurance advisory practice I keep my clients in an informed position and have many options to suit clients with a transparent, whole of market reach and approach.

I don't just 'quote' for clients, I advise and consult ensuring their cover meets their needs now and moving forwards. My service is on-going and as such i am there throughout the life of their plan to support and guide.

If you'd like a review of any existing plan just drop me a line at : or call me on : 07792 075748

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Working with IFA Introducers - good 'starting point' article

This blog post is one I put in place on the blog around two years ago but given some new marketing work I am putting together to get the message out to a range of new quality IFA prospects I thought it really was worth looking at and re-publishing. Obviously the dates and timescales do not match as this refers to a now old introducer who has been up and running with me now for over a year.

I now work pretty much exclusively with professional introducers as my distribution channel and have one of the highest profiles in the UK in this area - it is vital therefore that my prospective introducers can get a feel for who I am and how I work and this article and others on the blog give some vital pointers.

Phil Knight - Independent Healthcare Consultant 

For more information on working with me as an introducer call me on : 07792 075748 or e-mail : or DM me on Twitter @localventure1

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

Friday, 12 February 2016

The problem with @yorkshirebank/Applepay

Since the announcement that Apple Pay was to launch in the UK I had been excitedly waiting for the ability to tap my phone or watch against the payment terminal and stop carrying my wallet with my everywhere all the time.

It turns out that I pop out to the shops a flipping lot : to Morrisons, Sainsbury's Local, Costa, on a run, karate training twice a week and so on. Popping out every day sometimes four or five times daily. Usually all I'm carrying is my iPhone which I have on me at all times. Apple Pay was the solution to needing a coffee or a few bits of shopping unexpectedly and not having to grab my wallet every time just to have my debit card. Sure enough within days of the announcement that Apple Pay would launch in the UK both Marks and Spencer and Mint, my two credit card suppliers had agreed to join. From launch i was able to scan both cards and was up and running in minutes.

There's a problem though. Unfortunately I don't really use either of those credit cards very often and then only for larger purchases - I use my current account with Yorkshire Bank (part of the Clydesdale Banking group) for nearly all of spending needs. I also have my separate business bank account with Yorkshire. Again, unfortunately, YB have not announced any position I can find with regards to joining Apple Pay and are one of only two banks (the other being Barclays I understand) in the UK high street not to offer this facility to their customers.

This is really frustrating and I think this is backward looking and I'm sure they must be losing customers over this - I would have moved banks already except for the hassle of actually moving, plus I have two accounts not one with them and would have to move both to access the facility as I need to. So I'm waiting - for months I have been waiting patiently but no more. I began tweeting to the YB's two twitter accounts - one is @yorkshirebank - the general twitter account and another is their customer service account : @askyorkshire.

I began 'asking yorkshire' @askyorkshire six days ago - search for @localventure1 if you want to see my various tweets - all pretty low key and non threatening I think. So far not a single peep or inkling of a response from YB. Usually when you use a companies official twitter address and start moaning you usually get a response at least, although is you look at the feed for @askyorkshire you'll see that generally they only put positive stuff up there.

I did have a friend on twitter who told me that a friend of his who is employed by YB did post that this Apple Pay service was coming to YB customers in June 2016 but then strangely this post was taken down within minutes of going up. It looks as if not only is YB not answering me but that they are in some way censoring their own employees twitter accounts - really odd !

I think the problem is that the @askyorkshire moderators look at my @localventure1 details and see that I only have 300 followers and so aren't that bothered.  Small fish and all that. They obviously don't realise that across other twitter accounts, all of which I retweet my messages from every time I'm actually reaching several thousands of followers.

Plus there's this blog - a business blog based in Leeds in the heart of Yorkshire with tens of thousands of uniques every year. A good popular post here can be read hundreds of times in a day and do you know which posts are the most popular - that's right, the controversial ones where I take people to task. Everyone loves to moan and hear about the bad stuff. An old boss of mine once said that if a company from whom you purchase a service does something right you'll tell at most two people but if they cock up you'll mention it at least ten times. Let's see how perhaps 10,000 tellings of this story to business people in Yorkshire affects things in the next few weeks  - Maybe this will get Yorkshire Banks attention and they'll send me a response? 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

IFA's, use your own PMI cover as a test case before working with me

Phil Knight - 22 years PMI experience

IFA's and other professionals - when did you last review your own PMI plan?

My name is Phil Knight and I have been advising IFA's, general brokers and accountants on medical insurance matters since 1994. Five years ago I set up a specialist advisory practice advising high net worth individuals and small companies on a range of healthcare products : private medical insurance, dental and hospital cash plans, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP's) sickness absence and health surveillance.
Having worked with advisers for the best part of 20 years I made the decision to solicit business almost exclusively from professional introducers like yourselves. The following brief article explains why asking me to review your own medical insurance might give you some context and confidence in going on to recommend my work with your clients, plus of course you might save some money on your own cover as well !

As you might know I work with a range of Independent Financial Advisers and other professionals helping them and their clients with medical insurance matters across the UK. At the moment I work closely with around 25 practices across the UK with a similar number passing me cases on an ad hoc but regular basis. I aim to be the most prolific and professional healthcare adviser working in this way with professional introducers and you can find details of my work and credentials here on my blog, on Linkedin and more generally on the internet if you simply Google my name and the phrase 'PMI' or 'medical insurance for IFA's'

If we haven't worked together before I am of course asking you to take a leap of faith in working together. However if you haven't looked at private medical insurance (PMI) for a while can I suggest that you might use your own group or personal medical insurance as a 'test case' with me. I would be delighted to review your existing cover and sanity check the pricing/benefits as I would for any client and report back on all aspects of the case.

Medical insurance can be a complicated area of advice and many advisers often neglect their own cover, usually because of time constraints. I'm happy to look at the cover for you and come up with a recommendation that might save you money or enhance your benefits. I work with both companies and high net worth clients so regardless of how your scheme is set up I can offer cogent, no nonsense advice.

As a general rule I would say that if a PMI plan hasn't been actively reviewed for two or more years then an urgent look is required to ensure plans are up to date and the price/benefits still suit you or the client.

Using yourself as a test case has two advantages : first you receive a free, comprehensive review of your own cover but importantly you will also get a flavour of the advisory path I might adopt with your clients and can gauge my professional, transparent approach and judge whether my support might work for some of your clients as well.

If you'd like to chat through your own or any other case please feel free to contact me. You can also catch up with me here on my blog (where there are numerous posts that might be of interest), on Twitter I am @localventure1 and via my website as below.

I look forward to catching up and possibly working together in the future.


Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant
(Part of Premier Choice Group, FCA No. 312878)
T. 07792 075748

Quick update to this post

I have just recorded an episode of my medical insurance podcast : PMICast you can listen to it by clicking this link or searching on iTunes or your favourite pod-catcher for : PMICast.

The podcast covers of in a bit more details information in this post so the two are intended as companion pieces if you can stand the sound of my voice that is !


Monday, 1 February 2016

New Month, New Week, New Plan

Having gotten January out of the way, which is always an 'odd' month. Catching up after being off for  a week or two over Christmas and planning for the New Year plus with various things going on (not work related) in the background I have found that January has been a sporadic and bitty month.

So work-wise February is a little quieter and I am planning to do more marketing and client acquisition work moving forwards (hence me being more active on the blog as well I suppose). Anyway, the new month is a few hours old and I already feel more productive, my idea is that before I delve into my long to do list each day i get on with some important daily tasks and give them priority. So first of all I have some regulatory issues to clear off my desk - I have a client renewal form that I am always in backlog with and also need to update one file per day on my compliance providers internal system - these two tasks are dull but necessary and in total only take around ten to twenty minutes but are easy to put off. Second is marketing - at least one major marketing job per day. Lastly a social media job - maybe a blog post or series of tweets. This work only takes 45 mins to an hour in total - The point is that each morning before getting into the nitty gritty of returning e-mails or processing business or writing client reports etc I am going to get these basic jobs off my desk, the ones that often get left til last thing or put off until tomorrow but are vital to the functioning of my business.

Feel better, have a plan and am implementing.