Nearly everyone is insured in some way or another. Most of us have home insurance, car insurance, travel insurance and perhaps health insurance and employment insurance. For a select group of individuals who depend on their skills to earn huge sums or who can do things other people cannot do, have to insure themselves against injury and loss of earnings. Read on to find out who the most insured people in the UK are.
Rooney is one of Britain’s best footballers, and a major asset to him employer, Manchester United. Wayne will have insurance against some sort of injury which ends his playing career, and the football club will also have a separate policy insuring against the loss of one of their major playing assets. Rooney’s wages are said to be around £13 million annually, and he will be insured for far more. Given that Rooney has a history of foot injuries, this will also boost his insurance premiums.
Ant and Dec
When you are strongly reliant on another person for your television work, it makes sense to insure yourself against the possibility of being left as a solo performer. TV presenters Ant and Dec have reportedly taken out insurance for over £2 million pounds on each other’s lives. Although the death or injury or one half of the duo would not necessarily mean the end of the career of the other, it would certainly curtail the opportunities.
Queen Elizabeth II
When you own as much property and priceless antiques as the Queen, you can expect your annual policies for buildings and contents insurance to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, as the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle showed, most royal palaces are not insured because the annual premiums would be so expensive. Whether the Queen has accidental damage cover on her personal possessions to protect against corgi damage is unknown.
During her last solo tour, singer Cheryl Cole took out an insurance policy worth £2 million to cover her against accidents which may happen on stage during a performance or rehearsal. Dancing and singing isn’t by its nature dangerous, but breaking an ankle can put a swift end to a tour, and cost a lot of money in terms of lost revenue in ticket sales and merchandising opportunities. Now that Cheryl is back with Girls Aloud, the premiums will multiply by 5.
When you are the owner of a small business, one of the many issues which you have to manage is the benefits and salary offered to employees. Although private medical insurance is something that in the past has only been offered by larger employers, there is a growing trend of smaller businesses taking out corporate medical insurance to cover their employees too, and there are a number of good reasons for this.
In a large company with several hundred employees, having someone off sick can be managed by moving other employees around to cover their responsibilities. This is not so easy in a smaller company with just a handful of employees. Being able to offer employees the chance to get their medical problem dealt with quickly and cut the waiting time on the NHS means less disruption to the business and allows both the employer and the employee to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Losing a member of staff and then trying to recruit a replacement is an expensive business, both in terms of the financial cost of placing and advert or using a recruitment agency, and in terms of time required to sift through applications and conduct interviews. Companies which offer attractive benefits such as private medical cover generally find it easier to retain employees, and a loyal, stable workforce is what every employer aspires to.
A certain level of absence due to sickness is unavoidable, but when absence is due to something more long term or serious than the usual coughs and colds, medical insurance can get your employees on their feet more quickly. If an employee is on a lengthy waiting list to have an operation on the NHS, there could well be several weeks or months of absence while they wait for the procedure to be carried out. Having treatment carried out privately means far less of a wait, minimizing absence and the impact on the business.
An increasing number of us are choosing private medical insurance, and there are two main types of policies available. The first type of policy will cover your treatment in a private hospital, meaning you get treated quicker than waiting for the NHS. The second type of policy is known as a cash plan and is a more affordable way of covering the costs of your medical treatment.
When taking out a cash plan the insurer will provide a list of things which are covered. Cash plans generally pay out when the patient needs dental treatment, new glasses or contact lenses, diagnostic tests or scans and even pay a set sum each day when the patient is admitted to hospital. Policies vary from company to company, so check details carefully before signing up. Many insurers also over different levels of cover, so take time to think about what cover you realistically need.
If you work as a contractor or are self-employed, being admitted to hospital or falling ill means you don’t earn. Having a cash plan which pays out for each night you are in hospital can help cover your costs such as rent, mortgage or bills and take away some of the stress of being ill. Appointments can also be worked around other obligations such as work or childcare, and the approach is altogether more flexible than the NHS, where it can be hard to rearrange appointments around holidays and work.
If you are covered by a medical insurance cash plan, you can often skip the NHS waiting lists for x-rays or other tests by using your pay out from the company to have the tests privately. The insurance company can take the stress away by arranging all of this for you, and can also arrange for you to see a consultant more quickly than on the NHS. All it takes is one phone call to your insurer and everything will be arranged at a time to suit you.
The NHS often does not fund complementary therapy such as hypnotherapy and reflexology, but people who have taken out an insurance cash plan have access to funding for these therapies as well as more conventional medical treatment such as chiropody or physiotherapy. This means that the patient can access a wide range of treatments to find the method which most effectively treats whatever condition they are suffering from.
Everyone’s aware of the need to be properly insured, and insurance comes into its own when you have a car crash, someone steals your mobile phone or your house goes on fire. Some people though take the whole insurance concept just one step too far and come out with the most outrageously crazy insurance claims.
The Cheating Boyfriend
Mobile phone insurance is designed to protect us against our expensive smartphone handsets getting stolen or broken. Most claims are settled without a problem, but one woman from Liverpool claimed for a new handset after her HTC Desire got broken when she threw it at her boyfriend in a rage after finding out he had cheated on her. She missed, hit the wall and the handset broke. Unsurprisingly, her insurer refused to pay out for a new phone.
The Vomiting Passenger
A cruise is a great way to have a relaxing holiday on the high seas, and is especially popular with the older generation. One elderly traveller didn’t have such a great experience though and on his return had to put in an insurance claim for a set of new dentures which he had accidentally spat overboard while being violently ill with sea sickness. Despite the unusual circumstances of the loss of his teeth, the insurance company paid out, enabling him to get a new set.
The Violent Peacock
If your car is your pride and joy, there is nothing worse than the thought of it being scratched or damaged by another road user. However, one slightly more unusual claim landed on the desk of loss adjusters at one insurer, when a policy holder claimed for a scratched bonnet after a peacock had landed on his car and was freaked out by the sight of its reflection. The insurer paid out for the deep gouges in the paintwork caused by the angry bird.
The Attractive Girls
One of the major benefits of travel insurance is that it will pay your costs if you fall ill or have an accident while on holiday. One UK holidaymaker put in a claim for hospital expenses after he had injured himself walking into a heavy glass bus shelter on the Greek islands. After investigation, it transpired that the holidaymaker had failed to see the bus shelter as he had been distracted by the sight of two attractive girls in bikinis. The insurer paid the claim, and the holidaymaker learned to take better care of where he was going.
The state of British teeth is a bit of a standing joke with our American cousins, but it’s an unfair accusation that Brits don’t look after their mouths. Basic dental treatment is covered on the NHS, but more complex or cosmetic treatment is charged for. Costs can soon mount up if you don’t know what to expect.
A crown is used when a tooth has decayed to the extent that it can no longer be filled effectively. The dentist makes a false tooth which sits on top of your existing tooth on a permanent basis. It is not removed every evening, and is indistinguishable from your own teeth. Many people opt for crowns for cosmetic and practical reasons, but they are not a budget choice. A basic crown can start at around £650 for one tooth.
Implants are the big new thing in the world of dentistry, and new technology never comes cheap. An implant involves the dentist fixing small metal posts into your jaw bone and then attaching new teeth on top. The advantages are that the procedure is suitable for almost everyone, and the results are permanent and natural in appearance. The cost though is what puts most people off implants, as even a basic set can cost upwards of £3000. As the technology becomes more commonplace, the cost may start to come down.
If you’ve ever wondered how the Hollywood stars get such a dazzlingly white smile, the chances are they’ve had a set of veneers fitted. The process involves a thin layer of porcelain being “glued” to the surface of the tooth or teeth. This makes them look smooth, uniform, shiny and very white. The result lasts between 5 and 10 years depending on the material being used, and the cost can be around £5000 and involves several trips to the dentist over the course of many weeks.
If your teeth are squint or twisted, have a brace fitted is the simplest way to straighten them out. Often the braces will be covered by the NHS, but if the dentist deems that your teeth are not sufficiently squint to be covered, you face having to pay around £2,500. Adult teeth cost more to straighten out than children’s teeth and the process will involve initial consultation along with fittings and regular appointments to check that the braces are working in the correct way.
Although the we usually talk of the UK as a whole when it comes to figures around life expectancy, there are huge discrepancies between different parts of the country, or even between different areas in the same city. Recent studies have drawn a map of UK health, and have shown where the most healthy places UK are.
Kensington and Chelsea
The upmarket London borough of Kensington and Chelsea scores highest than most on scales used to measure how healthy the population is. Cancer deaths in Kensington and Chelsea are 81 per 100,000 compared to areas in the north west of England where deaths from cancer are twice as likely. The average life expectancy in the UK is 76.9 and the figure for Kensington and Chelsea is much higher at 82.2 years.
One of the smaller counties in Scotland, East Dunbartonshire lies to the north of Glasgow and is full of leafy suburbs and affluent residential areas. This is the part of the country with the greatest contrast in life expectancies and health. The average life expectancy for a man in East Dunbartonshire is 79.4 years, almost 8 years longer than a man living just across the county border in the city of Glasgow. In the most deprived areas of Glasgow, the life expectancy for a male is just 54 years, lower than in Iraq or North Korea.
Rural v Urban
Studies have repeatedly shown that people who live in rural areas have a better life expectancy and standard of health than people who live in built up areas, especially large cities. Although some of the difference will be due to income levels, it may well be that a rural lifestyle is more relaxing and factors such as pollution are not as noticeable as in large cities. Small country towns such as Aldeburgh in Suffolk and Hinton St George in Somerset are the most healthy places to live for retired people.
Alcohol and Smoking
One of the main indications of how healthy a population is concerns how much alcohol is drunk by the population. The area of the UK where the lowest amount of alcohol is drunk is the West Midlands, and the highest is the North East and the Yorkshire and Humber areas. 27% of men in these areas drink over 8 units on one day per week. Yorkshire also leads the way when it comes to high smoking levels, with 20% of all adults regular lighting up on cigarettes. The government are trying to address these figures and their knock on effect on health by focusing efforts in these areas to get people to quit smoking.