Online Commercial Insurance Brokers Offer More Than Simply Business Insurance Price Comparisons

Consider a commercial insurance broker the next time you buy insurance online, until a recent resurgence of interest due to new online commercial products, they have not had a good Internet experience.Brokers provide service, knowledge, quality products, claims help and advice as well as comparing insurance quotes, qualities that are rare or missing in the alternative self-service world of the online price comparison websites.When direct personal lines cover became an acceptable method of selling and delivering insurance via the Internet, the soothsayers of business doom were crying the tolling of the death knell for the insurance broker as a profession. Even more so for the business insurance specialist intermediaries.Commercial insurance was notoriously difficult to provide auto-quoting underwriting systems for and it was believed by the mandarins that commercial policies could not be sold online to an ignorant public.It was imagined that all insurance business would be dealt with direct either by phone or online and the broker trade would decline.What these people failed to realise at the time though, was that the broker business model, one based on comparing covers and tailoring policies to suit individual needs, was a time tried and trusted method that would re-emerge online as the peoples favourite method of buying insurance, albeit in a new bigger form of the price comparison site.Commercial insurance price comparison websites were then predicted to replace the broker, as in effect they are providing the same comparative quotation service as the brokers but on a much larger scale.Commercial Insurance Brokers realised that they were missing out unless they embraced the comparison site competition. Many of the larger and more Internet savvy brokers decided to take on the comparison sites and offer comparison websites of their own, often with great success.They took their back office comparison systems and web-enabled them to provide a user-friendly interface. The larger commercial insurance sites now rival the big four price aggregators and many offer a wider range of covers.With the ability to offer specialist products a broker has an advantage over a price comparison site, however many Specialist schemes from commercial insurance brokers can now be found on price comparison sites. You will often need to look deep and really research the market of quotes offered, to find them though.Although many smaller brokers have signed up to the large price comparison websites, when you search for their products you are rarely shown these offerings. This is because many brokers have put tight underwriting criteria to the type of business they want from the comparisons site.Often these restrictions mean that the price aggregator cannot quote their policy because of the restrictive terms imposed.All online commercial comparison websites suffer from rigid acceptance rules defined by the underwriting company.The fact that if for example, an office does not reach strict security requirements, then the office package comparison system is algorithmically instructed to decline the business.Computer says No!Consequently when the comparison sites quotes compared are returned to a prospective buyer, they are usually displayed in the order of cheapest first, showing those without any endorsements or cover restrictions.Those smaller but maybe more relevant schemes that are maybe slightly more expensive or need some adjustments to the information entered to quote, are not getting a look in against the large insurers who can compete on price.Many people, especially small businessmen on a tight fixed budget, mistakenly believe that the cheapest insurance is sufficient for their business needs.This is particularly true of the sole-trader or self-employed tradesman who resents being told he must have public liability insurance to work on a building site for example.His likely first port of call will be a search engine followed by a big brand price comparison site looking for the best deals.Most commercial insurance brokers do not want this type of cheap liability business anyway, which is more trouble than it is worth if there is a claim.They do want good bona-fide small business and registered companies for which they have the advantage over the price aggregators of offering not just specialist packed policies for shops,office, restaurants, pubs and commercial property but also a human face.Today, more and more trade specific packaged policies are appearing on commercial insurance websites each month as bringing the product to market becomes easier.Online brokers can offer telephone help, callback services, claims services, market knowledge and advice over price, human versus computer or simply just service. All things that are missing from the price comparison sites.The new online commercial broker is taking back the initiative and levelling the playing field for the distribution of Insurance on the Internet.On the whole the future looks rosy for the forward-looking broker who is willing to adapt and change from his Main Street outdated business practices and embrace the Web for all its potentiality.On a cautionary note, many a local broker with traditional product offerings who does not adapt, will not be found by the general public and his market reach will always be local.The Internet has allowed online commercial insurance brokers to introduce specialist risks and cover to the business market that would probably not previously been aware of the policies.It has also spawned new risks itself such as cyber risks cover, professional indemnity and liability for consultants in every IT and online profession, and even commercial property insurance for web server farms.The local broker is now international if he has the placement facilities.Niche brokers with niche schemes are now providing these services to new global markets.

Land Investment in the UK – Eight Things Smart Investors Know

UK land represents some of the best investment land available. These eight facts, presented by a land planning and land investment expert, will tell you what wise investors already know about investing in land1) Investing in UK Land is a real assetYou can see, use, and most importantly, build on investment land. You hold the legal title deeds to your investment land as surety. There are no complicated concepts in land investment, just a burgeoning demand for a finite amount of UK land.2) Investing in Land yields strong returnsA finite supply of UK land partially explains its historically rising value, and implies it is unlikely to depreciate. Mark Twain said, “If something is unable to be manufactured and the underlying demand for it is constant, then its value will tend to rise.” Demand for UK land is, at the very least, constant. The property market increases reflect soaring demand for houses from an ever-growing population. Therefore, investing in UK land offers strong returns. It is reasonable to achieve the equivalent of 30-35% annually in a 5-year land investment project. This equates to compounded returns of around 400-450%. Such returns are hard to realise with other UK investments.3) Land Investment is an investment in “the real world”The value of property assets is clear and transparent. This is not the case with all UK investments, such as derivatives. Even with traditional equity investments, the average investor rarely knows whether the equity is genuinely under-valued (buy signal) or over-priced (sell signal).Stock market scandals resulting from accounting malpractice highlight the limitations of the average investor’s understanding of their exposures. UK land investors are usually already active players as homeowners, so they already have some market experience.4) UK Land has a lower entry point compared with buy to letThe price tag on a typical UK property is around £200,000. A plot of UK investment land that offers substantially larger relative returns is priced at just around £10,000! Remember that the Iron Law of Investment is diversification, commonly known as “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Because land investment has a significantly lower entry level than property, wise investors can more easily practice the Iron Law.A typical UK investment requires around £200,000 but a diversified land investment portfolio could be created for less than £50,000! Investing in land, with its lower entry point, therefore gives the investor more ‘chances’ to pick a lucrative UK investment. However, it is by no means essential to build a huge portfolio of land investments: the key considerations for anyone considering investing in land are two-fold: choosing good quality UK land, and choosing a good land investment provider. The 12 Land Investment Guidelines, located at http://www.land-investment-uk.com/homepage/index.html will help you make these two choices.5) Investing in Land capitalises on UK’s housing crisisInvesting in land is the most lucrative means of capitalising the UK’s housing crisis. Supply pressure is being felt in both affluent and less affluent areas up and down the country. The number of UK council homes has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, while homes rented from social landlords has increased dramatically, and owner occupation has doubled.The combined effects of the above factors make investing in land a sensible choice when allocating assets in a UK investment portfolio.6) Investing in land is passive and hassle-freeAll UK investments demand careful consideration when entering and exiting the investment. However, some UK investments also demand active management during the life of the investment (e.g. equity and commodities trading). Land investment, on the other hand, is entirely passive, which makes it popular with many investors. Investment land is easily managed and investors should be fully apprised of their investment progress.7) Land Investment has low volatility of returnsVolatility of land investment returns is an important consideration. It refers to the extent to which the value of the investment rises and falls in its lifetime. Less volatility makes it easier for the investor to know their wealth at any given time.UK Land investing is not volatile and is actually relatively predictable. The value of a land investment tends to follow a linear path: in a 4-5 year project, the value of the land investment in years 0-3 will tend to rise relatively modestly by the effect of ‘organic growth’, (what we commonly term ‘inflation’). The land investment typically rises sharply in value during years 4-5 (should permission to build on the land be achieved). The land investment may be divested of at this time for maximum profit.The wise investor knows that they can more easily estimate the future value of their portfolio with land investments than with other asset classes. The land investor can plan for critical future funding requirements such as school and university fees, retirement planning, and healthcare expenses. More concrete future planning may not be so easy if the investor has exposures that are more volatile than investing in land.8) Investing in land creates real wealth by compounding returnsAs we have seen, returns of 400-500% in a 4-5 year project cycle are entirely possible if an investor chooses good UK land and an experienced land investment provider. Therefore, an initial investment of £10,000 could grow to £50,000. If these returns are then reinvested into another land investment project with comparable returns, then the initial land investment could grow from £10,000 to £250,000.Some of the most successful individuals are enjoying the financial benefits from compounding in land investment. This approach requires a slightly longer-term view, but the rewards are significant. Compounding in land investment can offer more than just good investment returns: it can create very substantial wealth!

Do You Make These Mistakes in Choosing Your Health Care Plans

There are a lot of details to consider when you are choosing a health care plan, whether it’s one offered through your employer or one you buy on your own. No matter what age you are, your health should be a primary concern, although young people often act as if they will live forever and sometimes postpone making health care decisions.Here is a list of common mistakes that people make all the time when choosing a health care plan. They are in no particular order, and all are important to consider, carefully and completely. If you are not conversant with all the terminology or are finding it difficult to make the decisions, you should ask for help from a neutral third-party such as family member or friend. Don’t ask a health insurance company unless you want to hear a sales pitch!Common mistakes
- You don’t check out your doctor, or any others – Although some healthcare plans require you to use a physician in their own network, other plans are more inviting. If you already have a physician, and are buying your own insurance, check with the doctor to see what plans he is a member of. If you do have to choose a new doctor, you should look into the health plan doctors’ credentials by contacting the AMA.- You forget “location, location, location” – The location of your doctor or clinic, and the travel time required, are other factors you should consider when considering health care plans. Find out where the doctor is located and also look into the regular and emergency hours of the facility.- You don’t consider specialists – If you already need specialist care, or think you may need to in the future, you need to know the health care plan’s procedures on using them. Some plans require you to contact a primary care physician, while others allow you to make specialist appointments directly.- You don’t consider your own specialist – You should definitely find out if your current specialist is in the health care plan you are considering. If not, perhaps your specialist can refer you to one who is.- You forget to check the policy on “pre-existing conditions” – Even though this should be a “no-brainer,” people forget to ask about the policies on pre-existing conditions. Coverage for pre-existing conditions varies widely among health plans. Some exclude them entirely, and will not even consider coverage, while others cover them fully. Many health care plans fall somewhere in the middle, offering coverage after a certain amount of time, or for a certain amount of time or expense. Rules promulgated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guarantees you coverage for your pre-existing conditions if you join a new group plan offered by your employer after being insured the previous year. Do your research to make sure you know what your policy covers.Less common oversights
- You don’t ask about physicals and health screenings – Again, it seems an obvious thing to ask, but if you appreciate getting regular physicals and health screenings you should ensure that they are covered. Most “managed care” plans do cover these types of procedures, usually on an annual basis, but there are some plans that do not cover them. If you have children, make sure to ask if “well baby” check-ups, physicals and immunizations are covered.- You forget about additional services – Everything, from prescription drug coverage to mental health care, is an important consideration. You need to consider which of the various additional services that you may need are, in fact, covered when you are comparing health care plans. Other examples of these additional services that may be important to you are drug and alcohol counseling and treatment, home health care, nursing home or extended care, hospices, experimental treatments, alternative and complementary medicine, chiropractic care and physical therapy.Bottom line considerations
- You don’t price things out correctly – Once you know what you want in your health care plan you need to compare costs, and you need to do it right, which means covering all the bases. You will need to know exactly what deductibles must be paid first before the health care plan coverage starts paying, and don’t forget to ask if the deductible needs to be met before certain services can be utilized. Find out about “out of network” charges if you anticipate having to go beyond your plan facilities or physicians. Finally, there are co-payment, cap amounts and total-care limits you need to know about. Some plans have lifetime limits, some have lifetime and annual limits, and others have mixed formulas for making this determination. Get all the facts.- You don’t check the exclusions – If you don’t read the exclusions list, you will not know what is not covered. You need to see if any condition you currently have, or that you expect to contract in the future, is included. This is an important bottom-line consideration since, if you don’t get this settled and dealt with up front, you will likely spend a great deal of money down the line to treat excluded conditions.It is a difficult thing to look at your health in a dispassionate, dollar-oriented way, but that’s life. As we age, more of our energy goes into thinking and planning against death and disability, but the subject need not be morbid or depressing. Do your best to get a health care plan that covers what your particular needs are, and remind yourself that you are worth the trouble – and the expense.