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Reduce your Health Insurance Premiums

After our fantastic Commercial Insurance blog post recently (available here), we want to share this insightful Health Insurance advice which will reduce your spend within this category.

 

Thousands of businesses across the country have begun the process of renewing their private health insurance. The market now has over 260 plans with more to come next month. So how to ensure you are getting the best value for your money?

 

When starting to review your cover, it is important to reacquaint yourself with the benefits of your existing policy. Without being aware of the benefits you’re paying for, how can you properly compare and contrast with other options?

 

Start by asking yourself a number of questions, or working through them with a professional broker.

 

Don’t be afraid of waiting periods, find out how they affect you from an independent professional adviser or the Health Insurance Authority; have your healthcare needs changed recently and if so, how; does everyone on the policy require the same level of cover; what level of hospital accommodation is important to you?

 

Health Insurance Savings Advice

  1. Cover for private accommodation in public hospitals, in most cases does not guarantee fast access to treatment. Make sure you have a plan with some access to private hospitals.
  2. Check that hospitals local to you are not excluded and that you are happy with the level of excess applied to accommodation. Some newer plans now have excesses of up to €500 per claim.
  3. Check for shortfalls on specific treatments or procedures such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, orthopaedic, cardiac and ophthalmic.
  4. Check that you have full cover for day case treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and colonoscopies in private hospitals – these procedures account for 60 -70% of all health insurance claims.
  5. Try to ensure you have cover for direct settlement MRI and CT scan centres which are local to you. This means you won’t have to wait to get access and you don’t need to pay if they are classified as ‘direct settlement’ centres.
  6. Try to ensure you have cover for major cardiac procedures in the Blackrock Clinic, Mater Private & Beacon Hospitals.
  7. What level of excess applies? Look for a low outpatient excess, this will ensure you get more money back from your outpatient expenses.
  8. If you want cover for day-to-day benefits such as GP, Physiotherapist and dentist ensure that you are getting long term value for money – check the cover for each benefit & how many visits are covered per benefit
  9. Check for any other benefits that may be of interest to you – health screening, maternity benefits, kids benefits etc.
  10. Consider the health insurance needs of all the family individually – consider different plans & levels of cover for each.

 

Feel free to contact us to discuss savings for your Health Insurance (or any other costs which you would like to reduce)

Tips for Reducing Travel Costs

So any holidays planned?

At this time of year, plenty of business conversations end with a chat about travel plans for the summer holidays, with France, Spain and Portugal emerging as popular destinations. Now with the children ‘off school’, we are knee deep in the ‘silly season’ where many decision makers are unavailable for lengthy durations.

However, we have had enquiries recently from clients looking to reduce their Travel Costs. Why not? For many companies, corporate travel is a necessary, and expensive, part of business life. According to some experts, business travel spend is the third largest controllable cost item affecting profitability.

Usually, travelling for business can be costly because you only have a few days notice to book, and that means travelling at peak times/costs. Like all Overhead Costs, keeping business travel costs under control should be a priority, so consider these tips for reducing your company’s travel expenses;

1. Leverage Volume Discounts

Even when traveling solo, you can join buying groups and avail of per-negiotated discounts. Similar to our group deals on Energy Costs, we also leverage the buying power of Roomex when booking Hotel Rooms. Take advantage of their deep corporate discounts here.

2. Invest time in creating a Corporate Travel Policy

Developing a firm travel policy will provide a significant Return on Investment to control all future travel costs. A detailed policy should provide specific details about per diems in various destinations (i.e. have Dublin and London rates versus Cork and York rates), preferred hotel chains with pre-negotiated rates, reimbursements for expenses, and limits that require a signature if exceeded. Strictly implementing this policy while promoting same-day travel whenever possible, will guarantee long-term travel savings for your business.

3. Use a Competitive Travel Agent

Similar to most non-core activities within a business, travel planning should be outsourced to the experts. Even though the likes of SkyScanner and Trivago have created DIY Travel Agents, it is worth noting that Travel Agencies have access to corporate discounts with Airlines and Hotels, while having the in-depth knowledge and systems in place to negotiate better travel deals and greater savings. Such Travel expertise will not just provide you with lower fares (via affiliates and travel partners) but better availability, more options and greater flexibility.

4. Technology facilitates non-travel

Like most cost categories, technological advances enable more efficient delivery of information and services, which means employees can communicate remotely without leaving the office. Be warned that this does take commitment and persistence, while rarely appropriate for first-time meetings. However, it is worth experimenting with virtual meetings with excellent services such as Skype for Business and 24×7 Meeting available. While initially uncomfortable, not in person meetings are an acquired skill and employees will become more comfortable as they use the services over time.

Like all non-wage related Overhead Costs, we would be delighted to assist you benchmark and reduce your business travel costs. We would love to perform a comprehensive audit of your company’s travel program so contact us today to discuss further.

Be Smart to Reduce Energy Prices and Energy Usage

As you have probably heard, global prices energy have increased drastically in the past 12 months, with a severe hike since summertime also. With the possibility of energy prices increasing by over 30% over a 2 year period, what can your organisation do to mitigate such a negative hike?

Arvo Smart Procurement and our Partners’ Smart Technologies are providing a range of solutions to help businesses reduce their Energy Costs such as;

1: Smart Procurement: Correct your MICs/Tariffs, Avail of Time of Use Tariffs, Group Buy to leverage scale or hedge your energy demands with flexible energy contracting to ensure you effectively lower your energy unit rates. Smarter Energy Procurement leads to instant cost savings, while proactive businesses will then invest the savings in Energy Efficient Equipment (as follows).

2: Smart Lighting: Installing light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures is the first step but technology has advanced so choose LED’s with built-in intelligence – occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting and scheduling to achieve savings of up to 90% on lighting. These solutions can be funded from your future savings, ensuring minimal-to-no CAPEX requirement

3: Smart Boilers: Most Hot Water boilers are not smart i.e. they are inefficient, unmaintained and expensive. However, intelligent retrofit boiler controls exist that optimise the efficiency of each individual boiler with guaranteed 10% savings available.

4: Smart Legislation: From SEAI’s Energy Auditing Scheme to the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme (EEOS) to the Accelerated Capital Allowances scheme for Energy Efficient Equipment, many incentives exist to reduce your Energy Consumption. In addition to these incentives, opportunities exist to sell your reduced carbon credits to energy suppliers and obligated parties, which unearths additional funds for your Energy Conservation projects.

5: Smart Alternatives: With Bio, Solar, wind and water alternative Energy sources becoming readily available with appealing businesses models, there has never been a better time to start considering cost effective solutions such as Rented Energy, where savings in the region of 30-50% are the norm.

So what SMART Energy Solution interest you? We welcome any queries you may have with regards the above Energy efficient solutions and we look forward to reducing your Energy prices and usage in future.

While don’t just take our word for it – check out what our satisfied clients have to say: www.arvo.ie/testimonials

3 Reasons your Insurance Costs are increasing

As you would have noticed this year, Insurance Costs are increasing for all businesses as Insurers are applying general rate increases in an attempt to offset overall underwriting losses caused mainly by:

  1. Significant increases in the volume and cost of Liability Claims (see below)
  2. Similar increases in motor accident claims frequency and costs
  3. Severe weather events and lack of attention to property risk management

 

Increase in number and cost of Liability Claims

Several factors have led to rate increases and a reduction in insurer capacity:

  • Between 2012 and 2014, the average cost of claims in Motor Insurance rose by 8%, for Employers Liability it rose by 27% and for public liability it rose by 8%.
  • As for the frequency of claims, the Injuries Board has reported a 36% increase in the claims submitted since 2008
  • The cost of claims in Ireland is too high e.g. the average cost of whiplash in Ireland is €15,000 (while the average cost in the UK is €5,000, or €3,000 in Spain/Italy)
  • Circuit Court Jurisdiction increased from €38,000 to €60,000 and 21 new Circuit Court judges appointed, leading to the average award in the Circuit Court increasing by 21.2% in 2015, following a 13.5% increase in 2014.
  • When the Setanta Insurer collapsed, the remaining insurers are now being asked to price a product to factor in the cost of a competitor failing. Would this happen in any other sector? (for example, Dunnes Stores would not be expected to bail out Tesco if such a default occurred). Quinn and Enterprise Insurances failures are also adding to your insurance premiums.
  • In summation, the average personal injury awards in the High Court & Circuit Court continue to increase – see table below (from Insurance Ireland);

For businesses, it is paramount to note that the excessive levels of award in Ireland are increasing the incentives to commit insurance fraud. So what can you do? At a recent PWC/Willis Tower Watson event in Cork, effective Claims Management was advised as a vital component i.e.

  1. Robust claims reporting and investigation

  2. Invest in CCTV and data recording (including photos and witness statements)

  3. Early detailed investigation enables informed decision making to (a) settle/defend, (b) engage with Injuries Board, (c) pay expenses/earnings etc.

  4. Review procedures regularly and learn from experience

 

Finally, take note of our advice to reduce Insurance Costs or contact us with your queries.