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I’m starting this blog with a bit of history. In the 19th century there was a practice in American bars of offering a "free lunch" in order to entice drinking customers.

The customer would need to buy just one drink to get a free lunch. It was a tempting offer, but the lunch that was provided tended to be cheap and included high-salt foods, and the customer would go on to spend more money on beer.

The concept went on to become an economic buzz phrase for ‘opportunity cost’ – what you could have bought if you hadn’t spent your money on something else. Economist Milton Friedman even titled a book “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”.

Our end of year figures show an increase of 50.84% in premiums over the year.  Thank you to each and every one of our clients (especially the 0.84% who enable us to say our business was up ‘by more than 50%!).

It’s a great result and it shows …

Whether you choose to buy your clothes from designer stores or from 'George' at Asda, you'll still be covered - and if you choose the latter, you'll save yourself some money.

But follow the same principle with your locum insurance and you could be severely exposed.

The recruitment crisis in GP practice goes from bad to worse, with news that Leicester City Council now has to offer £20,000 ‘golden hellos’ just to attract new GPs to the city.

The council made the offer after Professor Azhar Farooqi, co-chair of the local CCG and a GP, showed in a paper that older GPs are retiring in droves, while more and more young GPs are opting for salaried or locum status. Hardly news to anyone who works in general practice!

Another report has confirmed what GPs already know: average GP income is falling because the costs of running a practice keep rising.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre’s GP Earnings and Expenses 2012/13 Report* shows that:

  • Average expenses for contractor GPs leapt 2.9% between 2011/12 and 2012/13: an increase of £3,000 in real terms
  • As a result, GPs’ pre-tax income fell by an average of £2,100 in real terms, from £104,100 to £102,000
  • Income declined even as average gross earnings increased by £1000, from £270,800 to £271,800.

The increase in expenses was mainly down to premises and employee costs. And the expenses figures don’t even include the cost of GPs’ pensions!

It’s all part of a decade-long trend of squeezed margins for GP practices.

Have you seen the ‘Don’t pay a premium’ campaign being run by Which?  As a result, the ABI announced recently that they are in talks with the FCA calling for renewal documents to include the premium that the customer started the year paying, shown alongside the renewal quote for easy comparison…

The aim here is to make it abundantly clear to clients whether their renewal premium has increased and, if so, by how much.

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