Thursday, 21 April 2016

Idle ruminations

We recently had some work done to a roundabout on the A65, the main road from Leeds out to Otley/Ilkley and Skipton which runs through the suburban towns of Horsforth, Rawdon, Yeadon and Guiseley. The roundabout in question is between Rawdon and Yeadon and know as the JCT roundabout for reasons I won't bore you with.

The work was just the addition of some pedestrian paths and only took three or four days of work to complete. Obviously it was scheduled to last four weeks and the work remained outstanding for nearly three weeks after the noted end date but that's the public sector.

The funniest thing of all was that on the Sunday afternoon all the plant machinery, material and portaloo's etc arrived and then Monday morning was a hive of activity setting up road restrictions and other ways to slow down rush hour. After that workmen were only visible on site for two reasons. First of all from 11.30am to 2.00pm you could see them in their cabs drinking tea and reading the paper or in Sainsburys nearby buying sandwiches. Never actually saw them doing work. Except ... funnily enough whenever a guy in a suit wearing a hard hat turned up then all of a sudden there were about 20 workmen scurrying about. Strange that ? Oh my council tax just went up £ 10 a month as well. Brilliant.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Kitchen Progress

Following on from last week's post the kitchen is now over 50% complete. It's been a stressful few days, even including the weekend as the plaster was here for both days plus both dogs have been ill and to make the weekend perfect my daughter was injured at school on Friday, she's alright now but not before I spend midnight to 4.00am in the Leeds General Infirmary A & E Department. Then home to get up at 7.30am for the plaster  to arrive at 8.00am. Of course he actually turned up at 11.00am on Saturday morning !

However, stress aside it is all starting to take shape, things are going in now rather than being ripped out/destroyed.

We can start to see the bones of the new layout taking place. More on this as it develops.

In the meantime my old kitchen is for sale on Gumtree - if you are based in Yorkshire and fancy a deal on a decent second hand kitchen then just drop me an e-mail on - would suit someone renting out a property needing a kitchen update or someone just starting out - the kitchen is in great condition and was taken out fairly carefully. As per the ad it also includes a number of appliance - the price is now at £ 1250 but i'll consider offers !

Thursday, 14 April 2016

How using a specialist advisor for medical insurance can give you the gift of time and more money as an IFA

Why would an IFA pass their private medical insurance business to a third party like myself as a professional introducer ?

There are a number of rationale that I think break down as follows :

Insufficient time to devote to marketing, keeping knowledge up to date and the administration of clients business.

They will make more money if someone else does the heavy lifting.

A desire to offer clients a more holistic/professional advisory service

Don't have a good grasp of products and no inclination to get up to speed.

Uneasy about transferring business between insurers - clients with previous claims might make moving technically a challenge and time consuming.

Happy to let existing clients auto-renew where they are.

Not at all active in that sector - for example a full time pensions or investment adviser may just not touch on the advice at all.

Had problems with PMI historically.

I am sure that there are probably others I haven't come up with for the purposes of this blog post but I think the most important one is the first : time.

Not being able to have the time or resources to divert away to selling private medical insurance is I think the main rationale and one from which many of the other reasons then flow. If you don't have time to boost your knowledge on medical insurance products then you certainly won't have time to learn how each insurer treats underwriting or switch business. If you're only active in investment advice then you're unlikely to respond pro-actively when the client ask if you can review their PMI.

The gift of time is then what an adviser like me can add to your practice. I am looking at clients PMI (it fells like sometimes) 24/7 and can easily help you with any aspect of your PMI sale from a simple introducer relationship where you just pass over your PMI clients to me to a full consultancy and administration service where I can teach your team how to become more active and professional in this complex advisory area.

My business is structured to slot into how you deal with clients - I do not impose on you my way of working,  rather I take my cues from you as to how you and your clients like to work together. There is no one size fits all introducer to my practice. Just clear, simple advice to help the client and help you make PMI a profitable part of your portfolio.

If you'd like to discuss working together just e-mail me on : or call on : 07792 075748

Look forward to speaking.

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The problem with Batman V Superman : The Dawn of Justice

WARNING - This is not a work based blog post. Please veer away if you want to know about medical insurance !!!!

I always really liked Superman II the sequel to Christopher Reeve's initial outing in the red cape and boots. We'd got all that boring origin story out of the way and got some interesting villains that actually had to be punched (the ultimate reason for any comic book story surely - the punching ?) and a bit of other losing power, gaining redemption style shenanigans going on in the plot that meant there was enough story to sustain the length of the piece.

Reeve was comfortable and confident in the role and although it was still a little too tongue in cheek for my sensibilities there was a sense of joy de vive that meant not only could you enjoy the action but the characters felt about right too. After all when you think about it, when Ursa and Non aren't punching him in the face, as a general rule Superman seems to enjoy being the most powerful being on the planet.
I know this is Marvel not DC - I do mention Civil War in a bit ....
Then we had Superman Returns or as some have called him, Emo-Stalker Superman, hanging about outside Lois' house abusing his X-Ray vision privileges. The only thing going for this semi-sequel re-boot was that it is a notional sequel to Superman II (and has THE music) but the logic fails in this premise alot and when is Superman going to do anything except lift heavy stuff ?

I did have high hopes for Man of Steel but once again we had to have the whole Kryptonian soap opera thing as the origin story. By the way,  how many more times am I going to have to live through Batman, Superman and Spiderman's origin story again ? It seems that Henry Cavill's Superman really takes many Emo to a new level - sorry Brandon Routh you just can't keep up. I don't need to mention the destruction of Metropolis (it really was all Kal's fault - he crashed the ark ship into Metropolis on purpose it looks like, although to be fair in Into Darkness Kirk does the same thing by crashing the Enterprise into downtown San Francisco) or the death of Zod at Superman's hands. Too dark, not Superman enough and although it was nice to see Zod getting a kicking once the title character retreats too far from the source material then it stops being Superman and becomes some thing else - maybe that's why 'Superman' isn't in the title ?
Finally a DC picture - not a big fan of New 52 Superman though although I do like Lee and Synders Superman Unchained
So we can finally move on to BVSDOF (?). I did enjoy it, strangely enough. Loved Batfleck aside from the judicious use of murder (doesn't becoming the Punisher mean that ultimately he becomes the very thing he's sworn to protect Gotham against ?). As a screen presence Batman was clearly the best thing in the movie and he looked, acted (generally) and fought like a Batman we'd expect from the comic material. Wonder Woman didn't have much to do but what we saw was great, especially her attitude during the boss battle fight at the end (thought I was watching the end of Norton's Hulk during that fight scene). Even Henry Cavill was ok insofar as the limited script he had which allowed him to mope around being all philosophical and Jesus-y.

Let's not get too far into the enormous plot holes on this one - what did Lex want to achieve, how is Batman receiving telepathic signals from Apokolips, how come Lois knew to go fetch the Kryptonite spear when she wasn't party to the conversation between B & S, what are the chances (SPOILERS) of Batman and Superman's mum having the same name and how the hell is that possibly relevant, why did the employees of Wayne Enterprises stay in that building, come to think of it why did everyone at the Daily Planet do the same thing when the spaceship crash site went all lightning storm at the end, why didn't Superman X-Ray vision that dudes wheelchair in Congress, how come Superman couldn't be bothered to save everyone in the desert - just Lois, what did the Flash want when he sprang out of Batman's console - was it a dream (part of the previous Knightmare), a new dream, a new message form the future ? If you're going to show us the Flash along with ParaDemons etc why not a line of dialogue explaining what the hell is happening. Don't say that" Lois is Vital" because we all know that she flipping isn't - cue gratuitous bathtub scene - what demographic were they going for there because I guarantee you that 45 year old comics fans were going to see the film anyway and Amy Adams semi-nude is not going to get any under 21's hot under the collar ?

Sorry said I wasn't going to do that about plot holes ..... so logical flaws aside the film fairly rattles along, then it all starts to fall apart following the explosion in Congress. For me that was the first wrong note. We get that Henry is 'conflicted', a lot ! and that Lex is evil but if Superman is to blame in any way for that explosion (which of course he's not) then either follow up the plot point and make everyone hate him and not just Bats - we know Bruce hates Kal because of the Wayne Enterprises deaths. I suppose that the Congress scene was a plot deus ex to get Bats planning the beating he was going to give Supes a bit faster but it wasn't necessary and it made the whole shooting match miserable. Let me repeat that. Mass death, all the time is upsetting. Isn't the point of superheroes to stop that sort of thing rather than miserably participate ?

 Then Lex kidnaps Lois and Martha Kent - now it's both personal and even more miserable (cue the flamethrowers). But Superman fought Batman in a restrained way anyway even with the threat to his family - so why bother. It wasn't Superman who wouldn't see reason it was Batman - flaw after depressing flaw in a simple premise, Batman hates Superman and needs to take him down. Lex could have orchestrated this all without the extra murdery kidnappy elements and never risked going to prison - LIKE IN THE COMICS. Lex always had a way out. A rogue employee who stole the SupermanKillerArmour or the 'industrial accident' that leaked the synthetic kryptonite. The plot devices to get from a) (alien) to b) (Bat beating) were too far from the source material and too sad, too murdery/depressing and ultimately unnecessary. I haven't see the film yet but I bet not too many people need to get murdered to set Cap and Iron Man fighting in Cap 3 Civil War. Were I a gambling man I'd hazard a guess and say that we'll see Tony Starks arrogance and hubris build up in counterpoint to Steve Rogers unshakeable principles. Totally in keeping with the characters (both comic and MCU).

Best scene in the movie is though the rescue of Martha Kent by the Dark Knight - then again we all saw it in the trailer, still the best bit of bat fighting ever.

But here's the thing. One can enjoy a film like BVS on the level of seeing the two titular leads of against each other on screen and the general thrust of the movie : Wonder Woman, introduction to the JLA and so forth whilst at the same time acknowledging that the whole thing is ultimately joyfully a bit naff. But that's the problem. Batman V Superman isn't naff but neither is it in the slightest joyful.

Batman cannot be a wisecracking hothead. He's not Spiderman or QuickSilver. Neither though is is a humourless psychopath. There needs to be a middle ground.

Can't Superman take one second to appreciate how awesome it is to punch Batman through a building. He needs actually to be the cheerful bright counterpoint to Batmans darkness. Didn't Lex even say that at one point :  "day versus night".

In BVS though it's really : dark miserable day versus upset psychotic night.

In the DC Extended Universe it seems there can be no happiness and that is the problem with this movie. It is a better film in terms of mixing elements, visualisation (on screen) of the characters and plot drive (not plot coherence mind you) than it deserves to be. Unfortunately it is comic books re-imagined for the bi-polar age, for 20 something millennials who like being depressed and want their entertainment to match their mood.

Like I said this isn't a bad film, it's more of a missed opportunity. Some of the elements of Man of Steel could have played well here if Zach Snyder hadn't been so earnestly out to hammer home the message of depression that seems to exist in Superman's soul.

As a finishing thought, let's just hope that Suicide Squad, a comic which really could and should explore the darkest side of the DCU will do so with a little more confidence in the comics creators and actually make the Joker scary but funny and Harley Quinn psychotic and erotic.

Dark is ok but comics movies can be fun, escapist and even funny. You might even argue that that is why we enjoy them ?

What are the right segments to target for personal private medical insurance ?

Looking to find the clients most likely to need advice on private medical insurance ?

When working with my IFA and Accountant introducers one of my roles is to help them find or isolate those current or prospective clients who either have personal private medical insurance and need advice or who are likely to want it in future.

Obviously there is no 'catch all' category of PMI clients or magic bullet for marketing purposes but I often advise them to consider looking at client around the age of 50 to 55 and upwards. They can be potentially good clients for a number of reasons.

Firstly if they have personal cover at the moment there is a very good chance that they will be paying too much for it. Broadly clients are more likely, statistically to have cover with the big four insurers : BUPA, AXA PPP, Aviva and Vitality Health. All four insurers have historically had very active direct sales forces. Any plan sold direct will likely not be currently supported by the insurer in a proactive way and if there is no other broker or intermediary involved then the plan has almost certainly been auto-renewed over time and the client will most likely be paying too much.

One consideration is previous and current claiming patterns if we are looking to move a client with existing cover. Switch underwriting is a complex area but in many cases it is possible to move people between insurers and I take this up on an individual client depending on their exact circumstances.

One other advantage of PMI clients in the age range is that being older they will tend to be a bit more senior in their work roles and therefore we might also be able to discuss PMI (and indeed other insurance covers) for other senior managers or directors within their business.

Whether we are looking at existing policy holders, new plans or even group cover the good thing (in the context of a medical insurance advisory process) is that clients of this age have some solid life experience when it comes to their health and that of their family - this means that when painting a picture as to the reasons why they might want medical insurance the job is halfway done before we even speak to them.

If you have any prospective medical insurance clients you would like to discuss with me or even a general query on the PMI market just call or e-mail using the contacts below.

The Joys of Kitchen Design

Well it's only the end of day 2/beginning of day 3 of the kitchen re-model but already it feels like the wheels are coming off.

The situation is, I should say, not assisted by the fact that I am at home in my office trying to work whilst at the same time my dog (Jasper - see previous blog posts) has taken a bit of a turn for the worse and is not well at the moment.

What seems to have happened is that the sales person at the showroom who did all of the initial measuring has not fully taken into account the size of the corner pillars needed at the end of the main run of kitchen units to allow for silly little things like doors opening, you know, small details. He also it seems never bothered to take into account that gas pipes project from a wall and this (apparently) affects how far stuff like dishwashers stick out from walls.

Long story short, without moving some gas pipes (which may cost me several hundred pounds and of course delay the schedule potentially) or moving some stuff about which is in itself problematic as (the fitter keeps pointing out) the tolerances on some of the stuff we are fitting is pretty tight.

By the end of yesterday after being dragged away from work five or six times plus an emergency trip to the vet at 4.00pm I was pretty much ready for the fitters to leave. Then they called me down at 5.00pm for the discussion on the issues above and that took over an hour, with at the time no resolution. To finish the day off nicely Mrs Localventure had to come home from work early because she's running a temperature.

On a business learning level the interesting thing is that taking the night to mull on it I think we have a solution to the problem.
Just took a bit of time and distance from the immediate frustration of the problem I think - but should I really be coming up with them for the fitters ?

Shell of the gutted kitchen 12th april 2016 - Beginning of Day 2

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Interested in a kitchen ?

As I noted in yesterdays blog I am in the process of re-modelling my kitchen.

The old one has been removed and I am interested in finding it a good new home. I've asked my fitters to 'gently' remove the old appliances and units and it is all now safely stored in my garage.

There are several base, upper and corner units for a medium to large kitchen plus the breakfast bar. All the units are solid wood in good conditions, plus there's the sink, Franke mixer tap, double cooker and gas hob, extractor and dishwasher - everything is fully functional in good kitchen.

work surfaces pretty destroyed during removal - you can have them if you'd like but pretty useless.

The old one is around 9 years old and we are only updating because we want to not need to.

If you're interested this would suit someone buying their first home who needs a decent starter kitchen at a low cost, someones who's had some water or fire damage and needs a quick replacement or a landlord who's updating a property.

Either way I'm adverting on gumtree ( at £ 1,650 for everything mentioned above (pictures on the ad) but obviously will negotiate if that's a bit rich for you.

Breakfast Bar, wine rack, sink and tap + units

Cooker, hob extractor fan and run of units

There's a good amount of stuff included so you'll definitely need a van to collect. I'm not including the American fridge freezer (that's for sale separately) and the washing machine which is going in the new kitchen,

Any questions call on : 07792 075748 or e-mail me on



Monday, 11 April 2016

Blog update

Have been a little quiet on the social media front due to the odd Easter holidays break for the kids and having to take a bit of time off to entertain the wee ones.

Even though it now seems an age since Easter itself one of my kids is still on holiday, going back next Monday. Fortunately Easter is one of the quieter time of the year so it hasn't impacted on work deadlines too much, however I am still going to be in a bit of a catch up situation as I am (starting today) about to have my kitchen ripped out and re-modelled so I am working very much locked in my home office with the fitters about to start their work.

I am back, hopefully, in a normal work routine though so will theoretically be getting back to business topics on this blog. Fingers Crossed !

Saturday, 2 April 2016

You Tube Links

Follow me on Twitter to find out more about me.

I'm either @localventure1 or @localventure2 or @whisky1 - if you find me there you'll find some old and more recent You Tube Videos I just posted.

To find more of my video content just go to either :


If you have questions on my work with clients or introducers or indeed any aspect of medical insurance just let me know - 07792 075748 or