My name is George and I’m a retired broker. This site is owned by my daughter who lets me do the writing as long as I don’t try to fiddle with the layout or do anything vaguely technical.

Before I got my first job in insurance, I am pretty certain I had given the subject no thought whatsoever. Back then I don’t think it mattered, as when a need for insurance or a mortgage cropped up it was dealt with, usually with a chat at the bank or with the insurance guy who collected money at the door every four weeks from my dad.

Today is very different, there’s a danger of information overload from various media, and the ability to do your own research, which is now taken for granted, was almost non existent in the eighties and before.

I’ve tried looking at today’s marketplace through the eyes of the current generation and find myself asking where would I go to find answers to my mortgage, insurance and general finance questions. I think the pendulum has swung from little and poor information to vast and confusing information.

Where to start before you get started…

The biggest change I have seen is the creation and constant development of regulation and the drive toward qualified practitioners. In fact, we are now at the stage where the question you MUST ask before you actually ask any questions, is whether the person you are speaking to can actually advise you. 

Most of us can accept that when we buy a financial product online, nobody has actually advised us to do so. We complete an online form, press “submit” and we are presented with a series of results from which we choose the one we want. Dealing with a broker is a little more complicated. Simply put, any broker that arranges products with an investment element has to be qualified to advise on them. Any broker that arranges products without an investment element doesn’t. That is ridiculously simplistic and there are a number of exceptions, but its not a bad rule of thumb.

There is no point using a broker that doesn’t advise!

Most of my life was spent broking in some way or another, so it’s with a little reluctance I am writing this, but the current marketplace is such that I genuinely believe that there is no point in using a broker that is not authorised to advise you on what you are doing.

The advent of the internet has changed the way we buy insurance beyond recognition and, I think, for the better. If you have a straightforward car or house insurance need, then it it is impossible to argue against using an online provider such as Confused.Com

You won’t usually get any advice, but it doesn’t matter. All the online providers have more than adequate help sections to get you over any jargon and most offer some form of “live chat” or even telephone support. They pretty much all offer a 24/7 claims service and from what I have seen their levels of customer service score highly.

The effect on the non advising high street broker is marked.  There are still high street providers for car and household business, but they are mainly non advised, use panels or are a franchise with a limited number of insurers to sell. The staff have authority to offer, sometimes illogical, discounts, but cannot offer a qualified opinion on what is the best product for you. In the main, they seem to be the financial BHS and Woolworths of the high street, and will probably go the same way.

The brokers that will thrive will do so by going down one of two routes (or perhaps both!). They will either be specialists for a particular niche and will offer quality advice on particular trades or areas such as specialist motor, charities or hospitality, or they will become Chartered and will advise on products that are commensurate with their qualifications. In the main that will mean only dealing with much higher premiums.

If I was starting out in business today and my insurance premium was going to be over £1500 I would only use a Chartered broker or a specialist broker who understood the area I was working in.


My career has covered many areas including insurance, investments and mortgages. There are others, and I may well touch on them in due course. I have worked for large companies, small companies and had my own business, as well as running businesses on behalf of others. The purpose of this blog is not to give advice on specific products. my purpose is partly to demystify some of the aspects of the insurance, mortgage and finance world, but primarily…

My purpose is to nudge you into asking the right questions before you buy!


Experience has taught me that most people’s dealings with advisers, banks, lenders  and insurance companies could have been so much better with a little more preparation and knowing what questions to ask.

When I arranged my first mortgage for a client, it is likely that a few months beforehand, the client hadn’t even thought of buying a house. Today, I would suggest, it is in your best interest to start thinking about getting a mortgage several years before you want one!

No matter what you do as a job, your age or financial circumstances, you will encounter one or many financial institutions. My aim is to help you by making you aware of the questions you should ask so you get the best from dealing with lenders, insurers and a whole raft of related companies and intermediaries. I will also try and give some tips and ideas that I hope will make the process of dealing with financial companies a little easier.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi George
    I agree with you on the information overload and it is a minefield to know if you are actually looking at the right kind of insurance. There is a very good reason that you do what you do because YOU are the one with the knowledge and advice to make sure we get it right. You wouldn’t build your house with bricks and mortar with instructions from the internet, so why would you not get the right advice for your insurances from someone who has the right knowledge?
    As a side note, you and “cool” obviously do go together! Thanks for sharing your invaluable knowledge!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It is really appreciated! Are there any particular insurance/mortgage topics that you would like to see mentioned on the blog?

  2. Hi George

    I love your about me page! You sound like a really cool retired broker and I’m glad I won’t have to look at boring stock photos!

    Me and my husband are in the thought process of moving houses although at the moment it’s just a case of looking at other peoples houses and being nosey!

    I will look forward to hearing more from you about the questions on mortgages

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I shall enjoy telling the younger member of the family that I have been called “cool”! Good luck with the house hunting. I’ve got a skeleton of a post about looking at the insurance aspects of a property before buying it. I might jump it to the head of the queue now!

  3. As a 23 year old, I’m actually terrified of getting a mortgage some day because I know nothing about it and I want to make an informed decision. Good advice about thinking about your mortgage long before getting one. In your article, I think you should expand a bit on your experience and how you can help others. It was a little on the short side, and I think with another element to the article it will be informative and attention grabbing. Cheers.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. You’re hopefully my target audience. Being terrified is not how its supposed to be. The site is very much a work in progress and I hope to put a lot of content on in as efficient manner as possible, but it is all my own work and I have a lot to learn about websites. Im still not sure how long a post should be, so welcome your thoughts. If thereis anything specific that terrifies you about mortgages – feel free to ask!

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