This week’s Personal Column features: This week’s column… | UK economy grows faster than thought | Women missing out on workplace pensions | Who were the biggest Valentine’s Day spenders?

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This week’s Column…

This week’s top stories

The latest official estimate has revealed that the economy grew by more than previously thought in the last quarter of 2016. But is this enough to make the UK the fastest-growing G7 economy in 2016? Read more about the reasons behind the figures and how the UK compares to Germany. Read more..

This week Citizens Advice has reported that tens of thousands of women are missing out on workplace pensions. But why is this happening? Read more..

Don’t miss your last chance to register for the Personal Touch Workshops. Book your place today!   Read more..

Who are the biggest Valentine’s Day spenders? Find out in this week’s ‘And Finally’ piece. Read more..

Inspiration Library

 “Knowledge is the only form of capital that doesn’t get smaller when you share it.” – Unknown

Do you frequently use advertisements to promote your business? Maybe you haven’t tried it before, but it’s on your list?
Whichever camp you fall into, we’re proposing something for everyone: an Inspiration Library.

What would it look like?
This would be a membership-wide effort, designed to involve businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’d be a place to display a variety of advertisements and ideas to inspire you and help you grow your business.

How can you get involved?
If you’re interested in sharing some of your inspiration, please e-mail

Finance News

UK economy grows faster than thought

The UK economy grew by more than previously reported in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest official estimate.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.7%, up from 0.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The upward revision is mainly due to the manufacturing industry having done better than thought.

The ONS cut its estimate for growth in 2016 as a whole to 1.8%, down from the 2% it forecast last month.

This downward revision pushes UK slightly below Germany, with an estimate of 1.9%, in the G7 growth league, said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, “though the difference is well within the margin of error on any such early GDP estimates.”

The downward revision appeared to have been prompted by weaker North Sea oil and gas production during the first six months of 2016, and did not reflect the underlying strength of the UK economy, he added. 

“Excluding oil and gas output, estimated UK GDP growth might actually have been revised up in 2016,” added Mr Hawksworth.

The third revision of the figures will be on 31 March, after the Budget on 8 March.

“Unfortunately, this means that the chancellor won’t be able to say that the UK was the fastest-growing G7 economy in 2016 in his upcoming Budget – Germany grew by 1.9%,” said Capital Economics UK economist Paul Hollingsworth.

The ONS also said there had been a slowdown in business investment, which fell by 1% compared with the three months to the end of September.

It attributes that to “subdued growth” in investment in information and communications technology equipment, as well as “other machinery and equipment”.

Source: BBC News (published 22 February)

The article is now available to share with your clients! Here’s the link for you to share on social media: The UK economy has grown quicker than first thought, but by how much? Find out here: 

Mortgage News

Less time chasing cases. More time chasing business.

Virgin Money has improved their case tracking to make doing business with them as easy as possible. They are committed to:

• Telling you what you need to know, when you need to know it.
• Cutting out unnecessary email updates.
• Contacting you only when there’s a real need.
• Giving all their emails simple actions.

Win a Virgin Experience Day
Think of the time you could save with their new improved case tracking. To be in with a chance to win one of 10 Virgin Experience Days vouchers worth £100, tell Virgin Money what you would do with the time you will save.

Would you use your time to add more customers to your books, spend time with the family or take up a new hobby? Whatever you would do with the extra time, they want to know. Terms apply.

Enter the prize draw!

To find out more visit or talk to your dedicated Virgin Money BDM.

Source: Virgin Money Update (21 February)

Protection News

Approach Letters

Why not revisit your client base to remind customers about their existing policies. Their needs may have changed, which could be a protection opportunity for you.

Why not take a look at Royal London’s library of ready-made approach letters to help you?

Source: Royal London e-newsletter (received 21 February)

Protection News

Simplifying your protection business

You might be looking at your own business and seeing where you can create some efficiency or just save yourself some time. If you’re looking to outsource your protection administration – or just can’t find the time to write life policies, you should look at the services provided by LifeQuote.

They provide a valuable tele-underwriting service, whereby either you or they arrange a convenient time with your client to collect all the medical application data and re-key it into the insurers systems. This saves you lots of time at the application stage, avoids any difficult or embarrassing medical questions and importantly it’s all recorded so no “non-disclosure” issues in the future.

The Hub has been using the admin service and this works very well for them. No more chasing or arranging medicals, and all the case tracking for all insurers in one place.

They have recently built their admin links from iPipeline’s SolutionBuilder and have some different commercial models that you may find attractive.

If you want to find out how LifeQuote could help your protection sales and save you time, call Neil McCarthy, LifeQuote’s sales director on 07957 175758 or e-mail him on making sure you say you are with Personal Touch.

Source: LifeQuote e-newsletter (received 17 February)

Protection News

Key3 Critical Illness Insurance for sole trader protection

Running a business can be tough for a sole trader, as they have a lot more things to consider than someone working for a company. 60% of private sector businesses are run by sole traders1, but on the whole these people are underinsured when it comes to critical illness cover – despite the impact a critical illness could have on them.

A self-employed business owner might believe they can keep working no matter how sick they get. But with some illnesses, such as cancer, heart attack or a stroke, they may simply not have a choice.

In AIG’s latest blog post, their technical sales consultant highlights why the characteristics of AIG’s Key3 Critical Illness Insurance make it a viable alternative insurance for sole trading companies.

To discuss this further, please call their sales team on 0345 600 6829

Source: AIG e-newsletter (received 16 February)

General Insurance

Building and Contents Insurance for Equity Release Customers

Covéa Insurance accepts risks where the policyholder has used an equity release scheme to remove some equity from a property. The provider of the equity release must guarantee no repossession in the client’s lifetime.

If the equity release provider requires their interest to be noted on the policy; this must be included within the mortgage lender field in order for them to apply an endorsement to the policy noting the interest.

Please note that this is subject to all other acceptance criteria being met as per the standard question set and underwriting rules.

Don’t forget that Covea is on our GI quote engine in Toolbox, making quote and apply even easier.

Source: Covea Insurance Update (13 February 2017)

Wealth News

Women missing out on workplace pensions

Tens of thousands of women are missing out on workplace pensions as a result of having more than one job, according to Citizens Advice.

To qualify for an auto-enrolment pension, workers have to earn at least £10,000 a year.

But more than 100,000 people – most of them women – do not reach that threshold, because they work for several employers.

The government said that it is planning to review the issue later this year.

A separate study shows that women still receive far smaller pensions than men.

According to the insurance company Zurich, the average woman will have £47,000 less in her pension pot than a man by the time she retires.

Citizens Advice said that 72,000 women were missing out on auto-enrolment pensions, which require employers to pay a pension automatically, unless a worker deliberately opts out.

The charity said too many people were being shut out of the opportunity to be paid a pension.

“Many people – particularly women – work several part time jobs, which helps them manage commitments like childcare or study,” said Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“But while in many cases they earn over £10,000, and pay tax on this combined income, they don’t have access to a workplace pension and miss out on the opportunity to save for their retirement.”

The government said in December that it would examine the issue of workers with multiple jobs when it reviews the auto-enrolment programme later this year.

“There’s more to do – especially for people with more than one job – and we’re currently reviewing the policy to see how it can be improved,” a spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said.

The Zurich analysis found that between 2013 and 2016 men received 7.8% of their salary in pension contributions on average, compared to women receiving 7%.
It said men tend to work in sectors with more established or generous pension schemes.

In addition, women are more likely to take career breaks.

“This difference in the contributions that they receive from their employer presents a serious – and growing – problem,” said Rose St Louis, Zurich’s head of partnership development.

“The triple effect of smaller salaries, career breaks for women and lower contribution rates needs to be addressed: we can’t ignore a £47,000 shortfall,” she said.

Source: BBC News (published 22 February)

The article is now available to share with your clients! Here’s the link for you to share on social media: Women missing out on workplace pensions:

Events News

Last chance to register for Personal Touch Workshops!

Our latest series of sales focused workshops are kicking off on 07 March in Wetherby and will be touring the UK throughout March. There are still limited spaces remaining so if you’re interested in learning some new skills, networking with likeminded advisers and earning some valuable CPD – register to book your place today.
Workshop schedule
09:30 – 10:00: Registration, tea and coffee
10:00 – 10:20: Personal Touch update
10:20 – 10:35: Presentation 1
10:40 – 10:55: Presentation 2
11:00 – 11:15: Presentation 3
11:20 – 11:35: Presentation 4
11:40 – 12:00: Coffee break
12:00 – 13:00: Buzz sessions x 3 (round tables)
13:00: Lunch and close

This year is all about taking control, seizing each and every opportunity and making 2017 your best year yet. Our next series of workshops echo this vision with a tailored agenda of sales and business growth inspired content from some leading market experts.

Take your first step towards making 2017 your best year yet and register today for a workshop near you…

Here’s a preview of what the events will bring:

  • How to grow your business through protection.
  • Meet some of our panel’s specialist lenders.
  • Updates on the upcoming Buy-to-Let changes.
  • Presentations by subject matter experts.
  • Buzz sessions giving insight into various hot topics.
  • Networking opportunities with the key Personal Touch staff, as well as other successful advisers.

Dates and Venues
The full list of dates and venues are:

  • Tuesday 07 March – North East (Wetherby Racecourse, Wetherby).
  • Thursday 09 March – North West (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Knutsford).
  • Tuesday 14 March – Scotland (Houstoun House Hotel, Livingstone).
  • Thursday 16 March – Midlands (Windmill Village, Coventry).
  • Tuesday 21 March – South (Apollo Hotel, Basingstoke)

Thursday 23 March – London (Victory Services Club, London)

Book today!

Source: Personal Touch Events Team

And Finally…

Who were the biggest Valentine’s Day spenders?

Brits were predicted to splash out in excess of £128 million on gifts, hotels and dining out in the run up to Valentine’s Day, according to Worldpay.

Analysis of consumer spending patterns on February 14 2016 found that the classic combination of flowers and a romantic meal for two remains the gesture of choice for those looking to spoil that ‘special someone.’ For restaurant owners up and down the country, Valentine’s Day is worth an extra 42%** in sales, compared to an average night at this time of the year. Florists also expect to see their takings nearly treble**.

Hoteliers were among the biggest winners, taking advantage of the post-Brexit staycation boom. Last year, bookings increased by 20%** over the Valentine’s weekend, but with the weaker pound pushing up the price of a romantic getaway to Paris, even the most lavish spenders may opt to stay closer to home.

According to 2016 transaction data, Liverpudlians are some of the most generous on Valentine’s Day, spending nearly 50%** more than average. Couples in Cardiff are not far behind, forking out 43%** more. Meanwhile, Edinburgh residents are languishing at the bottom of the lovers’ league, spending 3%** less on their loved ones than on an average day.

Brits looking to push the boat out on dinner, jewellery and flowers have previously spent £182***. But the average UK spend was £44.

Worldpay’s transaction data also found spending in the run up to Valentine’s day increased by 9%**** year-on-year, with consumers spending more than ever on romantic treats.

*Calculation is based on the assumption that total sales processed by Worldpay in 13/02/16-14/02/16 equate to 40% of total card transactions over that period.
**Analysis of card transactions processed by Worldpay on 14/02/16 compared to the average for February 2016.
***Calculation is based on an analysis of consumer spending patterns in UK towns and cities on 14/02/16.
****Analysis of card transactions processed by Worldpay 1/02/16-14/02/16 compared with the previous year.

Source: Worldpay Blog (published 10 February)

The article is now available to share with your clients! Here’s the link for you to share on social media: Who were the biggest Valentine’s Day spenders: