Monday, 23 May 2016

Adding and Deleting members on small group Medical Insurance schemes

One of the day to day tasks that I regularly undertake for clients is the addition of new members and the deletion of members off schemes as they leave employment. Both are pretty straight forward pieces of work that take but moments to log and pass through to insurers.

Of particular importance for the employer is making sure that when employees are eligible to go on cover (many companies have a probation period for staff of three or six months) they do notify the insurer (or preferably myself) that there is a member to join.

If an employer forgets to add someone it is always possible to add them later but there is of course a potential problem. The new members underwriting occurs at the point at which we tell the insurer the member is to go on cover. Then whether the member is joining as a new moratorium or fully underwritten there is generally an exclusion period of medical conditions for five years prior to the date of joining.

As an aside, large corporate and some SME cases are sometimes underwritten differently on what's called 'Medical History Disregarded' or MHD terms - this works entirely differently and is not the situation I am describing.

The problem then is that if you forget to advise us a new member can join and they subsequently develop a new medical problem prior to actually joining then that condition is not going to be covered under the medical insurance plan. Insurers are very strict about this and have all sorts of safe guards in place against this kind of negative selection, not least being unprepared to back date underwriting except in exceptional circumstances.

This scenario to be fair happens fairly infrequently but when it does it can (for obvious reasons) upset employees and cause fairly major problems, even if it is a simple mistake or an oversight on the part of the employee /employee it is unlikely to be something we can fix.

Obviously if the insurer makes a mistake and doesn't add someone when told (i.e. we have a paper trail to show we told the insurer) then the issue is easily soluble.

So my advice to clients is, if you haven't added a process already, perhaps add another step in your HR or recruitment process that suggests or diaries inclusion on the medical insurance scheme for staff as they become eligible.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Kitchen Update

So we are in to week five of the project and the kitchen still isn't complete.

I have a snagging list as long as a tall gibbons forearm and at the moment have the workmen in again fitting a new Amtico floor.

There is still at least two days of work to finish the physical kitchen so it's looking as if the promised two weeks will extend into around six weeks but .... the kitchen is looking pretty good so I'm sure it will all come out in the wash.

In the meantime, if you are looking to replace an old kitchen in the Leeds/Yorkshire area then it's probably worth checking out my two current eBay auctions.

I'm selling all of my old kitchen, units and appliances in one auction and my (nearly new) American fridge freezer in another. The two lots would suit someone wanting to put decent kitchen into a first house at a reasonable price or a land lord wanting a well priced kitchen in a rental - full details are on both auctions but as you can see from the photo's the kitchen was in pretty good condition and would do someone a treat - we even asked our fitter to take things out carefully so everything is in solid condition.

I'm going to finish the two auctions so there will be no pulling of the eBay items or deals off line but happy to chat if you're interested - call or e-mail me :

07792 075748

Fridge auction :

Kitchen units + other appliances :

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Medical insurance costs less than you expect

One of the issues that arises when speaking to clients is obviously the price of private medical insurance, particularly when talking to clients buying the cover for themselves. One clearly needs to justify the cost from most clients monthly budgets as part of the sales process to demonstrate the value of what they are looking to buy (or trying to get out of signing up for).

So lets consider : The price of a cappuccino each day is perhaps £ 3.00 for a medium cup from Starbucks or Costa and that means (assuming you work 20 days a month) a cost for coffee alone of £ 60 per month - how does that compare to the cost of medical insurance, surely a more vital and important purchase to make ......

STOP ....... what a trite and condescending comparison the old 'coffee a day trick' is. It's also an easy blog post for the writer to make a point without having to really think about the actual cost or meaning of medical insurance.
When I was thinking about the concept for this post I got to thinking about what the closest comparable product or service one could use as a comparator against medical insurance. Initially one perhaps thinks about the cost of life insurance or even house and contents insurance - neither are 'required' or mandatory like PMI but both sensible to have for most people. Of course though, neither insurance actually makes you better when you're ill. The comparison then does fall down a little but especially as in fact generally both of those insurances will be less costly per month for the average person.

Lets look at this from another angle - do you have dog or a cat ? Well I have two of the former and one of the latter (2 dogs and a feline) :
Jasper - King of Spaniels

Muffin - Cocker De Spaniel

Molly Pussy Cat
 Now Jasper is 11, Muffin around 13 and the cat around 12 and all three of them have had pet insurance since they came to us. As pet insurance is in fact just people medical insurance payable to vets I think it makes a good comparator to our PMI plans - cover is usually structured slightly differently to take into account that there really is no secondary care system for pets and everything treatment wise (pretty much) is done by the primary care vets but other than that it really is just medical insurance rebranded and with different benefit limits.

So for my pets I pay the following :

Double Dog cover (with Tesco Bank) : £ 114.73 per month

The Cat is with Sainsbury Bank paying : £ 18.72 p.m.

Setting up a new personal PMI plan for a young family will probably not be too dissimilar in overall cost to the above prices, possibly a bit less in fact - so if you are thinking about splurging and buying personal PMI cover perhaps think about the amount you pay towards your pet insurance as the comparable starting point for how much you might consider paying.

Either way, don't feel too guilty about that Costa !

If you'd like help with any aspect of Medical insurance, group or personal just get in touch.

Phil Knight
Independent Healthcare Consultant
07792 075748

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The power of e-mail for finding new Private Medical Insurance introducer contacts

When I first set up my business in 2010 I obtained new IFA and other professional introducers off the back of previous relationships - I had worked as a broker consultant for many years and obviously mined these relationships to track down new contacts who want to work with me, sub-contracting their medical insurance business to me.

This worked very well initially although obviously over time these contacts were exhausted so one moves on to the next strategy. I found Linkedin useful. In a previous iteration of the 'Facebook' for business you were able to mail people in the same group as yourself so I obtained several new contacts by messaging professionals in the same kinds of groups on Linkedin as myself. Then the format of messaging changed on Linkedin and this proved impractical to use as a marketing tool effectively.

So now in most cases I obtain new IFA professional introducers by referral, from social media (like this blog) and of course I sometimes just send likely looking practices an e-mail to introduce myself.

It is surprising how many good contact one can make if you are just open and honest about your intentions from the get go. So if you are an IFA/Accountant or General broker who has received an e-mail and finds your way to this blog, hi there, thanks for visiting and please feel free to contact me to discuss any aspect of private medical insurance (group and personal) for yourself or your clients.

Phil Knight
07792 075748

Kitchen update and the value of keeping your powder dry

Did I mention I'm having my kitchen remodelled ?

You may think it odd that over four weeks in I am about to moan about this again. Odd it is indeed for we were told going in that the kitchen, with no major building work required, would take around two weeks to complete.

However we are now well in to week 4 (worked commenced on the 11th of April) and as you can see below :

Something minor missing - oh yes, cooker and microwave !

One of these things is the odd one out - three cupboards, only two with drawers

The work is not even close to completion. In addition to stuff missing like (?) the cooker - three weeks without anything apart from microwave cuisine, cupboard door, cloakroom door etc but there's also a ton of snagging stuff - missing architrave, light wires dangling, plastering to finish, floor boards to re-lay or secure, broken kitchen tap, leak under sink, damage to some of the units to be repainted and so on - there is at least another two days of solid work to complete things to a reasonable standard.

They were supposed to deliver and install the cooker on Sunday - didn't turn up or tell us why despite two attempts to contact them and us waiting in all day, then this morning they texted to say are they  are in at noon - so no work this morning then.

Problem is (on top of the on-going inconvenience) they cannot come in on Friday because we are having the new floor laid (which incidentally has been delayed from going in today because of the general slowness plus the decorator who was booked for next week has now been delayed at least a week and probably two as a knock on effect.
So we are down to two and a half days (assuming they turn up this afternoon and Wednesday + Thursday.

In short I'm getting a bit miffed. Sure it will look good thought, eventually !

At the moment I'm not complaining though, planning to keep my powder dry and get them to finish as quickly and efficiently as possible - if there are further problems I will push harder and use things like this blog post as leverage to get things resolved. That and the fact I haven't yet paid for the fitting !