Meet The Kingsbridge Team – Lauren Costello, Client Services Advisor

As promised, here’s the next installment in our ‘meet the Kingsbridge team’ series.  Our next victim participant is Lauren Costello, champion show-jumper and future zoo keeper.  Thanks for taking part Lauren.

Name: Lauren Costellolauren

Role:Client Services Advisor

How long have you been working with KPSOL?

Since November 2011

What does your job role include?

I speak with at least 50 people a day on the phone as well as responding to email enquiries.  Most of the conversations I have are with freelancers and contractors who are interested in the KPSol insurance package and either want to put a policy in place or have questions about the cover levels and whether it’s the right policy for them.

I also work with some of our business partners.   Often accountancy firms are keen to ensure their contractor and freelancer clients have the necessary insurance in place and many recruitment agencies insist on it before they’ll add them as candidates.  KPSol works closely with them to help them provide an end to end service.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A famous show jumper, a vet or a zoo owner (I’d actually still like to own a zoo)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Making a difference for a client is important to me and when I can do that I get a real buzz.  I also count myself as lucky to work with some brilliant people so just being in the office is enjoyable, even if I’m having a tough day.  We have a lot of fun.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Last year I went to the Gastech exhibition at ExCel in London.  One of our specialisations is in providing cover for Oil and Gas professionals and this is a huge, global event for the industry.  It hadn’t been held in the UK for 40 years (it’s in South Korea next year!) so I was really lucky to be able to attend and meet so many people in the industry.

What is your favourite thing about the company and what makes them different to work for?

The company has grown quickly over the last few years and it’s given opportunities to and invested in a young team (myself included) and it continues to do that.  Although traditionally the Client Services team would probably be referred to as a call centre, we’re encouraged not to be robotic, to build a real rapport with our clients.  We’re involved in planning and agreeing processes and we have regular communication from senior management around strategy and developments in the business.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Horse riding and watching the rugby.  I’m also a cinema addict!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

When I was younger I won the regional Jump Cross event on my horse, it’s a mixture between show jumping and cross country.  I was also on a TV show with Eddie Izzard once, I can’t remember it though!

Any advice you could give to someone looking to get a job in a similar environment?

You need to be very proactive.  Although most of the enquiries the Client Services team deals with are inbound, we still have to actively build relationships with our clients and make sure we’re answering their questions quickly and accurately.  You need to have a passion for customer services and also a willingness to learn and develop a good understanding of your clients’ needs and the insurance industry in general.  It’s hard work, but really satisfying.

What do you think makes Kingsbridge stand out from other insurance providers?

We’re often able to cover people who haven’t been able to get insurance elsewhere, or who thought they would have to pay thousands to get cover.  The set package of insurance is designed so our clients have peace of mind that they have the right cover, without the time and confusion they can experience from sourcing separate policies from multiple providers.

Any advice you have for freelancers or contractors looking for insurance?  

It’s vital that you’re adequately protected and equally, that you’re protecting anyone who might be affected by the work you do.  Don’t assume that you are automatically covered by your agency, your accountant or your professional body.  This is not always the case and we have so many contractors getting in touch, panicking as they won’t get paid until they can provide proof of insurance.

 Where do you hope to be in a few years’ time?

The plan is to get more involved with the work that the team that manage our partnerships and affiliations do.  I’m training with them at the moment, working towards a role as an account manager. 

We’ll be featuring more Client Services profiles over the coming months.  If you need to talk to a member of the team for a business insurance quote you can call on             01242 808740 or send an email to enquiries@kpsol.co.uk.

 

May Contractor News Round Up

Your monthly round-up of May’s top contractor news.

There are so many information sites for Freelancers and Contractors (see our Top 10 sites for freelance and contractor news post) and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to stay up to date with the latest news.  So, we thought you might appreciate a monthly roundup from some of our favourite sites.

Youth entrepreneurship is soaring:

New figures have shown, that despite what people may think or say about the youth of Britain, that many are trying to become productive members of society by going down the entrepreneurial route. Many are taking the option to become self-employed instead of waiting for the right job to be available for them.

The stats were found in a YouGov study, with 30% of those questioned saying that they would be self-employed in the future, whilst a quarter said they’d be their own boss within five years. If these young people followed through on their plans, then it would see an increase in 5% on top of those young workers who are currently self-employed.

Since 2008 the amount of young self-employed has risen by 71,000. This is obviously due to the lack of employment options for graduates. So it does make sense for them to try working for themselves which can only be good news for the economy

Umbrella companies are suffering from low usage from freelancers

According to new stats, only 15% of freelance workers are using payroll umbrella companies. There are thought to be around 1.6 million professional freelancers in the UK and so this new statistic means there are over 1.35 million who are not using an umbrella company to help them manage their earnings.

Main issues people had when surveyed were the costs associated when using an umbrella company and misunderstandings over the role and benefits from these types of companies.

Phil McDonald the Managing Director of Paraplus, who conducted the survey said, “These findings should be a wake-up call for the umbrella industry. It makes for tough reading that 26.5% of freelancers don’t understand exactly what an umbrella company does and 14.5% don’t even know that one could help them.”

Will the self-employed be re-categorised as employees?

The taxman now says that there are two situations in which individual LLP members will next year be treated as if they were employees and therefore liable to pay income tax.

There are two situations in which, from April 2014, LLP members will be treated as if they were employees of the LLP, who will then have to operate PAYE on payments to the member.

These are the two situations:

  • On the assumption that the LLP is carried on as a partnership by two or more members of the LLP, the individual would be regarded as employed by the partnership by reference to the normal tests of employment.  These deal with matters such as control, the requirement for personal service, financial risk, the ability to profit from sound management, and so on. In some cases it will be plain that the terms on which the “salaried member” is engaged are indistinguishable from employment: in others (especially in ‘eat what you kill’ partnerships) it may be very easy to show that relationship is not one of employment.
  • Alternatively, HMRC proposes to treat a salaried member as an employee if he or she is not an employee under the first test but is nonetheless someone who:

– Has no significant economic risk (loss of capital or repayment of drawings) in the event that the LLP makes a loss or is wound up;

– Is not entitled to a significant share of the profits beyond the “fixed share”; and

– Is not entitled to any significant share of surplus assets arising on any winding-up of the LLP

That’s our May round-up of Freelancing news. If you have any comments or questions, leave a post below.  We’d also love to hear from you if you have any other sites to reccommend or regular features you’d be interested in reading.

Meet The Kingsbridge Team: Liam Green, Senior Client Services Advisor

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do.  We’re proud of our Client Services team which has doubled in numbers over the last six months and we thought our blog readers would like to meet them.  Meet the Kingsbridge Team is a new series on the blog – over the next few months I’ll be introducing the team, starting with Liam Green, Senior Client Services Advisor, rugby captain and champion apple bobber!  The rest of the KPSol team are also looking forward to finding out some embarrassing interesting facts about each other!

NameLiam Green

Role:  Senior Client Services Advisor

How long have you been working with KPSol? 

Three years now and it’s flown by. The team is much larger than it was when I first started as an advisor.  I was new to the insurance industry but now I can’t see myself doing anything else.  I’ve completed five training courses in that time and I’m a member of the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) and have a Cert CII accreditation.  I’ve also gained two qualifications from the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management).

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

A fireman or a professional rugby player.  The rugby passion has never gone away and although I’m far from a professional, I do play regularly.

Can you tell me a random or interesting fact about yourself?

I’ve been the first team rugby captain for my local team, Evesham RFC for the last two years and have just accepted the captaincy for a third year.  Rugby has always been important to me (have I already said that?) and it’s a privilege to captain my team.

How do you think your colleagues and/or friends would describe you in three words? 

Hardworking, fun and fair.

What do you like most about your role? 

Definitely speaking to our clients: Each person is so different and can often throw up some very interesting conversations!  I also get a lot of satisfaction when I’ve been able to offer advice and get insurance cover for someone who’s really struggled with other providers.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

It’s a close call between renewing a client while his wife was giving birth in the same room or being the ‘top apple bobber’ in KPSol last Halloween!

What do you think makes Kingsbridge Professional Solutions stand out from other insurance providers? 

I think it’s our dedication to a very specific group of people.  Freelance and contractor professionals make up a significant percentage of the UK’s workforce and have really specific needs when it comes to insurance.  The policy we provide is designed for them which means our pricing and cover levels are very competitive.  We understand the freelance and contractor marketplace and the challenges they face as a group but we also maintain a very personal touch which means we can provide advice and appropriate cover for individuals too.

Do you have any advice for readers considering taking out freelance or contractor insurance?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need insurance! Nearly all contractors will need some form of insurance, whether it’s to settle contractual obligations or to cover the work they carry out or any members of the public who might be affected by their activities.

 

We’ll be featuring more Client Services profiles over the coming months.  If you need to talk to a member of the team for a business insurance quote you can call on 01242 808740 or send an email to enquiries@kpsol.co.uk.

Contractors – Who To Follow On Twitter

With so many people out there using social media sites like Twitter, it’s hard to know who you should be following. So, to try and help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together a list of who to follow on Twitter. (We’re on Twitter too! Follow us @KingsbridgeCI for freelance contractor news and updates. )

Susie Hughes – @Shout99

Susie Hughes, aka @Shout99, keeps us up to date with the latest tax news and information for small businesses, freelancers and contractors, with links to some insightful blog posts.

PCG – @InsidePCG

PCG keep followers up to date with regular networking and Q&A sessions for freelancers. Follow them for tips and advice for freelancers, which are relevant to current events.

Maria Schneider – @MariaSchneider

Maria Schneider works in Marketing Communications. She worth a follow for her for social media tips and links to publishing, writing and social media articles; particularly if you’re a copywriter or marketing freelancer!

Freelance Advisor – @FreelanceAdvice

Freelanceadvisor.co.uk provides some great insights and advice for freelancers; from updates on working regulations to the answers to questions such as ‘What is a limited company?’ Their Twitter feed is mostly made up of links to their blog articles and RTs from relevant articles and business.

Laura Kuenssberg – @ITVLauraK

Laura Kuenssberg is the ITV News Business Editor. She keeps her account up to date with business and economy news, alongside insights into her work and commentary on the latest industry events.

Freelance Switch – @FreelanceSw

Freelance Switch links to some insightful and interesting articles, including some great advice for using social media. Although a lot of the jobs advertised are U.S. based, the issues they discuss are often still relevant to UK freelancers.

Guerilla Freelancing – @Gfreelancing

Guerrilla freelancing provides ‘marketing tactics straight from the trenches’. Their Twitter generally links to their blog articles, which include posts such as marketing tips from Hulk Hogan, which puts a bit of an interesting take on a usually pretty dry topic!

Contractor Calculator – @ContractorCalc

Contractor Calculator regularly shares links to articles which relevant to freelance and contractors, including HMRC updates and sector-specific (such as the construction and financial sectors) trends.

Contractor UK – @itcontracting

Contractor UK tweets tax, news and agency updates. These are particularly relevant if you are an IT freelancer or contractor.

Freelancing Matters – @FM_Mag

The UK’s dedicated freelance business magazine keeps us up to date with their handy articles. Follow them to join in with conversations around freelancing and business.

Freelance Folder – @FreelanceFolder

Freelance Folder link to industry and freelance articles. Follow them if you want to help increase your skills, learn from tutorials and keep up to date with industry trends, particularly for web and design.

Jane Friedman – @janefriedman

Jane Friedman is a US based freelance editor, who shares tech and media articles. Follow her if you’re a writer or media freelancer looking for a bit of business inspiration.

Brookson Accountancy – @AskBrookson

‘Ask Brookson’ is an Accountancy firm with personality! They hold regular Q&As and give some great financial advice for freelancers and contractors, with the occasional plug from their favoured sports team (Warrington Wolves).

APSCo – @APSCo_org

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies is the professional body representing the interests of recruitment organisations.

 

Bring on 2013

As 2012 draws to a close, KPSol are reflecting on a busy year and looking to the future.

We’ve launched a new website, making it simpler than ever for freelancers and contractors to obtain quotes, access their insurance documents and find helpful information about what cover they need to insure them against risk.

Our team is growing and we’ve made some exciting new appointments in order to better meet the needs of our customers.  We’ve invested heavily in system development to make sure our customers can access their information 24/7 and 2013 will see these investments continuing.

As a result of feedback from our customers, from 2nd January 2013 we’ll be extending our office opening times.  The KPSol Customer Service team will be available from 8.30 – 17.30, Monday to Friday and we’ll continue to talk to our customers to ensure we’re always providing the best service possible.

This will be the last blog post of 2012 but look out for posts about new products, industry awards, prize giveaways, events and more in 2013.

I’d like to take the opportunity of wishing you an enjoyable festive season and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

How Do Freelancers And Contractors Keep In Touch?

Kingsbridge MD, Steve Wynne, tests his reactions at Gastech

It’s been a busy few weeks for KPSol, both in and out of the office.

We’ve been raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness, attending exhibitions and strategy planning for fast approaching 2013.

All of this activity means we’ve been connecting with colleagues, partners and clients more than ever and I’ve been thinking about our Freelancer and Contractor clients who don’t always have the luxury of someone sitting across a desk from them.

So how do Freelancers and Contractors connect with one another?

One sector that appears to be actively encouraging networking amongst its peers is that of the Oil and Gas sector.  What would outwardly appear to be an insular career path is just not so when it comes to Oil and Gas Freelancers and Contractors.  KPSol are regularly invited to attend conferences, events and trade shows within this industry and we were delighted when, on the 8th October, Gastech returned to London after 40 years.

Our stand proved to be a popular installation with the inclusion of a reaction testing machine, used by Formula One teams for driver training.  It wasn’t easy to resist the challenge, as you’ll see from the image of our very own Managing Director, Steve Wynne.

Professor Brian Cox OBE, Research Fellow, Author, Broadcaster, CERN Project & BBC Television had this to say about the conference and exhibition;

“To be able to talk to the people at the cutting edge, you know, you’ve got your people here who are important, influential and employers of people that I and my colleagues in the university sector educate, so for me, that’s a real value.”

However, not all industries hold regular events and what of Freelancers and Contractors working offshore, overseas or those who simply can’t afford to take the time away from their businesses.

Social media is one option but it’s also a hotly debated communication method amongst the business community and this includes Freelancers and Contractors.  One school of thought and the generic advice has been to only connect with those companies that could offer you a contract immediately.  The thinking is that if you are using social media as a marketing tool, then you should only target potential clients and that other connections won’t lead to paid work.

But who knows where your Freelance and Contractor connections could lead?  Today’s entrepreneur may well be the next Steve Jobs or your Freelancer contacts may make the move back into a traditional environment and a position that could provide you with future contracts.

Freelancers have many and varied skills which often complement each other.  Knowing someone you can team up with could make the difference between you winning a contract or not.  Knowing your industry and your peers and keeping a regular dialogue with them also means that you’re first in line when it comes to work referrals.

Of course, like any networking method, relationships take time to develop and if you view social media purely as a method of generating new business you’re likely to become disillusioned fairly rapidly.  But if you’re looking for a way to stay connected to your peers, industry news and for a method of getting a quick and candid opinion, it could well a medium worth exploring.

New Website for Freelancer and Contractor Insurance

We’re always looking for ways to simplify the process of obtaining freelancer and contractor insurance and we think our relaunched website does just that.

With all of the functionality our clients have come to rely on and some exciting new features, we believe you won’t find a simpler way to get cover for your business.  Live chat allows you to connect instantly with a member of our team and our Insurance Guides and FAQs make it easier than ever to get access to the information you need as a Freelancer or Contractor.

Combine this with Instant Quotes and Policy Documents within 10 minutes and you’ll find kpsol.co.uk an invaluable resource.

You can also take advantage of our Price Promise Guarantee and Refer a Friend incentive, making KPSol’s Contractor and Freelancer Insurance Package the best possible cover at the lowest possible price.

We hope you enjoy navigating the new site.  We’re always looking for ways we can improve and we’d love to hear from you if you have any comments.

 

Contractor Insurer attends Ignite! – 9-10 October 2012

Having travelled the world for the last 40 years, this year Gastech is back on home turf at London’s ExCeL.  In 2014 the event moves to Korea so if you haven’t already, book your place now as who knows when it will be back!

Visit KPSol at ignite!
9-10 October 2012

2012 sees an exciting change to the world’s premier gas conference and exhibition with the inclusion of ignite!, the new Energy Recruitment Event taking place alongside Gastech and KPSol will be there.

In partnership with OilCareers.com ignite! is one of the leading Recruitment Shows for the Energy world, supported by influential companies and significant industry bodies. Co-located at Gastech, ignite! will give the foremost oil & gas companies and qualified job seekers the opportunity to meet one another face to face.

That’s where we come in; visit Zubair and Lauren at stand i80 to find out how KPSol can take the pain and confusion out of insurance for freelancers and contractors.  Whether you’re a recruiter or an industry professional who’s looking for contracts we can simply and affordably address what cover a freelancer or contractor should hold and with our price guarantee, we’ll make sure it’s available at the best possible value.

Meet the experts face to face and be ready for a few surprises as we dispel the myth that insurance is dull!

Ignite! Runs alongside Gastech on the 9th and 10th of October and both exhibitions are free to industry professionals.

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Ltd – Proud to be Chartered Insurance Brokers

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Ltd have recently been awarded the prestigious Chartered Insurance Brokers designation by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
This is the industry’s gold standard for firms of insurance brokers. It confirms that we have satisfied rigorous qualification criteria by retaining highly-qualified staff who subscribe to the membership conditions of the CII.
It also involves a commitment to continuing professional development and adherence to an industry standard Code of Ethics. You can view the Code at www.cii.co.uk/code.
There are less than 100 Chartered Insurance Brokers in the UK. When you use a Chartered firm you are dealing with proven professionals. The CII is empowered by the Privy Council to award Chartered status, and the award is only made in deserving cases. And while Chartered titles are steeped in history, they remain the benchmark of professional excellence and integrity.
Only the UK’s premier insurance broking firms qualify for Chartered status. If you wish to know more about how using a Chartered firm can ensure you get the best possible advice, service and support, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Note: With over 93,000 members, the CII is the world’s largest professional body dedicated to the insurance, savings and financial services sector.