September 2023

The latest health and wellbeing news from Towergate Health & Protection

Welcome to the latest edition of Inspire, our quarterly newsletter, designed to keep you informed about issues and developments that are relevant to your business.

In this edition of Inspire, we explore whether ChatGPT has its uses in the world of work, and share two little-known ways you can use your policy to cut costs. We also discuss how you can make a healthy work-life balance a habit, and look at how a cancer diagnosis delayed by just one month can have significant consequences. Finally, learn how to handle bullying and harassment in the workplace, and get updates on the latest news from key insurers.

ChatGPT at work: all bad?

It’s difficult to put into words the explosive impact ChatGPT has had on working life across the globe. To put it into perspective, while it took social media giant Twitter two years to reach one million users, ChatGPT reached that milestone in just one working week.1


An AI-powered chatbot with a knowledge base spanning the whole of the internet, the premise of ChatGPT is simple: users can ask it for information or get answers to questions, and it will respond in natural, ‘human-like’ language.

In practice, however, ChatGPT is anything but simple. Users can use the app to do a vast range of tasks, from planning holidays and finding recipes to writing entire essays and fully customised CVs.

Its apparently limitless capability has made ChatGPT popular with users in virtually all areas of life, for individuals and organisations alike.

A glorified Google?

ChatGPT is not the same as Google, but they do overlap somewhat.

You can ask both Google and ChatGPT for information and both will give you answers – but in a different way. Google is like a smart bookshelf that will offer you suitable excerpts from relevant sources across the web; ChatGPT is like talking to an infinitely knowledgeable, exceptionally capable acquaintance who is willing to help you with just about anything.

The pros and cons

ChatGPT can do a great many things, but it’s not infallible. The problem is that it’s often treated by the people who use it like it is.

ChatGPT, like any other artificial intelligence system, can get things wrong. While it’s got an extensive knowledge base, it can occasionally offer users incorrect information and may also unwittingly plagiarise sources from the internet by lifting exact series of words.

In severe cases, using ChatGPT in a workplace setting could lead to the disclosure of confidential information. ChatGPT uses information users share to ‘learn’, so if users type in confidential company information, there’s no guarantee that ChatGPT won’t regurgitate that confidential information in some form to another user.

In a workplace setting, these issues would obviously cause problems were the ChatGPT-informed content to be distributed to clients. Employees who use content generated by ChatGPT without looking over what has been produced could be sending out incorrect information to customers and clients, plagiarised content, or content that’s being generated for other users around the world.

Even when restricted to internal use, ChatGPT isn’t free from repercussions. An employee could use ChatGPT to write emails, generate ideas, create talking points for meetings, and proofread their work under the guise of having done the work themselves. A worker using ChatGPT to such a significant extent would be unlikely to disclose this to their employer, leading to a lack of transparency and potentially a good portion of the employee’s time unaccounted for (especially if they are home based).

But it’s not all bad. While some people and organisations claim that heavy ChatGPT usage may encourage laziness and cognitive decline in employees, the other side of the coin also bears looking at. Employees who do use ChatGPT to free up time can theoretically devote more time to helping to achieve corporate goals.

Similarly, an organisation that not only allows but encourages the use of ChatGPT in the workplace could in theory be freeing up more manpower to devote to high-level strategising.

The future of ChatGPT

It looks like ChatGPT is here to stay, but it’s up to your business what sort of relationship it has with ChatGPT going forward.

There’s likely no way you can completely outlaw the use of ChatGPT at your company; its usefulness and time-saving capabilities mean that there will likely always be employees using it under the table. Pre-empting common usage errors employees are likely to make, e.g., on sensitive customer data, and providing guidance and rules on the use of ChatGPT in the workplace may be a better route.

1 Threads, Twitter, ChatGPT: Time taken to get 1 million users | EconomicTimes ( 

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Signs someone you know is struggling

The cost-of-living crisis has pushed hundreds of thousands more people below the poverty line1 as inflation, high food prices and rising interest rates leave people struggling to pay their bills.


As a result, millions of struggling families are increasingly turning to credit cards and loans to support their families.2

While interest rates currently stand at 5.25% - an increase made in August that marked the fourteenth consecutive rate hike since December 2021 – mortgage rates have reached a 15-year high.3

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, such high interest rates are expected to see more than one million households in Britain lose at least 20% of their disposable income.4

There’s no arguing with the fact that these are difficult times for many people. But it can be hard to know how to help people who clearly need a hand – especially when it might not be obvious that there’s something wrong.

That’s why we’ve compiled a few tell-tale signs that might indicate someone you know needs help.

Signs someone could be struggling

1.      They’re quiet

It’s normal for people to have days where they’re quieter than normal, but if this turns into a pattern then there might be something wrong. They might be withdrawn in person or regularly not replying to your messages when usually they’re prompt.

2.      Their sleeping pattern has changed

Stress and worry can have a big impact on our sleep cycle, whether that’s not getting enough sleep or getting too much. So be aware of your friend telling you they’ve been struggling to sleep at night, or don’t want to get up in the mornings.

3.      Change in appetite

You might have noticed that your friend keeps on saying that they’re not hungry, or perhaps they’re eating more than usual. Either one could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.

4.      They keep cancelling plans

If you’ve noticed a friend keeps cancelling plans, with you and others, and is rarely leaving the house, then this could be a sign you need to keep an eye on things.

How to help

While some people will find catharsis in being able to open up and talk, others may not feel comfortable confiding in you about what they’re going through. You’ll therefore want to tailor your approach depending on the person.

  • Let them know you’re there if they want to talk
  • If they keep cancelling plans, don’t give up on them
  • Check in on them regularly
  • Let them know about available mental health services. You could even offer to go to a session with them.5

1 UK poverty: the facts, figures and effects in the cost of living crisis (
2 Millions of UK families using credit cards and loans to pay basic bills | Poverty | The Guardian
3 Mortgage rates soar to highest levels for 15 years| BBC News
4 1.4m UK mortgage holders face 20% hit to disposable income from rate hikes | Family finances | The Guardian
5 7 signs your friend could be struggling with their mental health (

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Two little known ways to use your policy to cut costs

The UK’s cost-of-living crisis has seen businesses paying closer attention than ever to their expenses in an effort to cut costs.


Some employers are casting a critical eye on their benefits spend to see if their policies are working as hard as they should be. Reviewing your benefits, and ensuring your cover is helping your company to achieve its goals, is something we can help with.

But there’s also two little known ways you can use your policy to save money.

Make your life cover relevant

You’ll know that businesses with higher expenses have to pay less tax.

The most straightforward way of taking advantage of this is through your life cover, because you’re likely already paying for life cover for yourself or some of your employees, but this doesn’t count as an allowable business expense. But relevant life cover does.

Also called ‘life cover on expenses’, relevant life cover is employer-paid and highly valuable for a few key reasons:

  • It’s tax-efficient for the employer and employee, with no tax deductible and no National Insurance contributions
  • It could reduce tax paid by higher rate taxpayers by up to 53% compared to a regular life insurance policy*
  • It doesn’t count as a retirement benefit so won’t affect your employees’ lifetime allowance**
  • The policy is written in trust, so doesn’t form part of the family’s estate (for Inheritance Tax purposes).

Show your employees their value

Businesses aren’t the only ones trying to save money. Employees have also been taking special measures to cut costs, with some requesting a salary increase.

Many employers feel they have no other way to keep top talent, with some companies even resorting to bidding wars.1

But it’s simply not feasible for all companies to offer their workers more money. And they may not have to, because there are other ways to show your workers their value.

Income is just a portion of the benefits an employee receives, but they likely receive other benefits too, whether that’s childcare vouchers, discounts at gyms, transportation subsidies, or something else.

Representing the employee’s total benefits package can provide a handy reminder to them of the full value they receive from their company. A good example of a total reward statement aimed at employees can be found here, from Aviva.

A total reward statement tool is also something we offer as standard in our 2-in-1 wellbeing and engagement platform Kinetic+.

If you have any questions about how to best represent your employees’ total reward statement, or you have questions about how relevant life cover could cut your business costs, please reach out to your Towergate Health & Protection consultant.


*Based on our understanding of existing laws and HM Revenue & Customs practices for the tax year 2023/24. It may be affected by future changes and individual circumstances

**The lifetime allowance will be abolished from April 2024, as announced in the Spring Budget 2023

1 UK employers increasingly resort to bidding wars to retain staff, says survey | Financial Times (

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Even if you love your job, do this

As it’s International Week of Happiness at Work at the end of September,1 now is a good time to ask the question: does work boost your wellbeing or hinder it?


It is normal to feel stressed at work sometimes, but if the feeling becomes too pervasive, you may find yourself anxious, depressed, and even dreading going to work.

Since the average person spends so much time at work – over 3,500 days in a lifetime2 - it’s important that your work has a net positive impact on your wellbeing.

Anyone can achieve this by striking a healthy work-life balance.

When’s the last time you took stock?

Striking the right work-life balance isn’t a one-time event that you do and then never have to think about again. Instead, it’s a practice, a habitual check-in of sorts where you regularly evaluate the impact of your approach to work on your wellbeing.

You might, without even being aware of it, have developed unhealthy attitudes that cause or exacerbate stress or anxiety.

Even if you are someone who loves their job and has a real passion for it, you’ll still want to adopt the taking stock approach in case things go too far in the other direction; your work might be your ‘happy place’, but your career is only a portion of your life and should be treated as such. Keeping that in perspective will ultimately lead to a healthier balance.

Eliminate distractions

Do you feel focused at work, or is there something on your mind?

Whatever you’ve got going on, if you’re preoccupied while you’re at work you’ll find it difficult to strike a good work-life balance. That’s because, if your focus is elsewhere, you won’t be able to execute the tasks and responsibilities you’ve set out for yourself, which will make it harder to feel like you’re in control.

Particularly while we’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, there may be a number of things on your mind that make it hard for you to feel focused while at work – maybe money worries, or chronic pain, or long wait times to see a doctor.

You can take the worry out of your wellbeing with our platform Kinetic+, which functions as the first port of call for all things health and wellbeing. On Kinetic+ you can book virtual doctor’s appointments, take health assessments, access financial help tools, seek advice from a host of medical professionals, and get discounts on many major retailers and online stores – plus, lots more.

Kinetic+ is helpfully split into four sections according to the four pillars of health – physical, emotional, social, and financial – so you can easily spot which areas of your wellbeing need attention.

Kinetic+ doesn’t presume that if you’re healthy you’re automatically happy. But in the same way you wouldn’t think to go on a hike with a broken ankle, you similarly won’t be able to achieve your objectives – whether that’s happiness at work or something else – without a strong foundation of wellness in place.

If you’d like to know more about how Kinetic+ could support the wellbeing of your people, please contact your Towergate Health & Protection consultant.

1 International Week of Happiness at Work
2 British people will work for average of 3507 days over a lifetime | The Independent

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The astonishing impact of a month-late cancer diagnosis

We all know that a delayed medical diagnosis isn’t ideal, but this is especially true for cancer, the successful treatment of which relies upon spotting the disease in its infancy when it hasn’t metastasized (spread) or grown aggressive.


Now, research suggests that an even slightly delayed cancer diagnosis can significantly worsen treatment outcomes. New data from the British Medical Journal reveals that a cancer diagnosis delayed by just one month may increase a patient’s chance of dying by 6 – 13%. This figure increases the later that treatment begins.1

Long wait times: the new normal?

If you’ve observed that you have a lump that wasn’t there before or have another reason to believe something’s not quite right, the ideal situation is getting an immediate appointment with your GP who will then refer you to a specialist. If you’re found to have cancer, treatment will then begin.

This whole process, from the initial suspicion of cancer to the start of treatment, should take no more than 62 days, according to NHS guidelines.

Due to the strain on the NHS leading to long wait times for treatment, however, these targets haven’t been met for nearly a decade.2

Your health may be more in your hands than ever

If you think something’s not right, you don’t want to be at the mercy of a referral that could come too late.

Aside from that, you also want to get your peace of mind back as quickly as possible, because it’s hard to go about your daily life when you’re worried about your health and don’t have the clarity you need.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait. With a Check4Cancer test, you can get tested for the most common cancers from the comfort of your own home and get a prompt response.

Plus, as a Towergate Health & Protection client, you get a discounted rate off the already affordable Check4Cancer tests. Contact your Towergate Health & Protection consultant to find out more and book your test.

It’s when you’re struggling with your health that you realise how heavily you can lean on your employee benefits. This is what Emma Thomson, Head of Protection Development at Sesame Bankhall, found after she was diagnosed with cancer. You can learn more about her journey through cancer here.

1 Delays in Diagnosis: What is happening with Cancer? | Kingsley Napley
2 Cancer waiting times | Nuffield Trust

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How to manage bullying and harassment in the workplace

With more than one in 10 people in the UK experiencing workplace bullying,1 it’s worth going through how to handle these situations sensitively with due care to all parties involved.


Employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide a working environment free from harassment and bullying, ensuring all staff are treated with dignity.

It is important to recognise that harassment or bullying can occur both in and outside the workplace, such as on business trips or at work-related events or social functions. More surprisingly perhaps, employers must also consider potentially inappropriate conduct by some third parties such as customers or suppliers.

Whilst bullying and harassment are often discussed hand in hand, it is important to recognise the difference between the two.

What is harassment?

Harassment is unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. A single incident can sometimes amount to harassment.

Harassment can involve conduct of a sexual nature or be related to a protected characteristic such as age, disability, gender (or gender reassignment), marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended target, for example if they are a bystander of another being harassed.

What is bullying?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour involving the misuse of power that can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened.

It can also include overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision or inappropriate derogatory remarks about someone's performance.

How to manage bullying in the workplace

If an employee feels they are being bullied in the workplace, it may be possible to raise the issue informally by speaking with the involved party directly or to their line manager.

If an informal resolution is unsuccessful or inappropriate for the particular employee, they may raise a formal complaint in writing as a formal grievance. The grievance should detail the conduct in question, the dates of occurrence (although this may not always be available) and identify any witnesses that may have been present.

An employer must always investigate complaints in a timely and confidential manner. A meeting should then be scheduled as soon as possible with the employee raising the complaint, ensuring the employee is notified of their right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a colleague.

Depending on the severity of the allegation the company may consider suspending the alleged harasser/bully on full pay; however, there are certain issues to consider, which our sister company Stallard Kane covers here in their article about how to know when it’s time to suspend an employee.

The company will also need to meet with the alleged perpetrator, and it is important to note that they will also have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative, in line with your company’s standard grievance policy.

You will then need to interview any witnesses before an outcome is reached and reported in the appropriate manner.

What next?

We mentioned at the outset of this article that employers have a duty of care to their employees; if you have knowledge of harassment or bullying in the workplace, what you decide to do next could be crucial.

The company will need to consider how best to manage the ongoing relationship between the employees involved, whether mediation or counselling may be appropriate to seek to repair the working relationships, and whether more practical working arrangements are appropriate to protect all parties.

Employees raising grievances surrounding bullying and harassment (or indeed on any basis) must not suffer any retaliation as a result, as this could result in subsequent complaints of victimisation. It is therefore important that all allegations are taken seriously and handled appropriately in line with the correct processes.

Managing employee relationships and grievances can be difficult, particularly when associated with sensitive matters like bullying and harassment. It is, therefore, essential you consult with your dedicated HR Advisor to ensure the process and decisions you make are fitting to your specific case.

This article is from our sister company Stallard Kane. The original version can be found here.

1 What counts as workplace bullying? - BBC News

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Latest news from the insurers

Have you heard the latest from the insurers?

Here are the most recent updates from key providers Aviva, AXA, Bupa, Legal & General, and Unum.



26 June - One in ten employers introduce support for retaining over 50s

A new report by Aviva has found one in ten (10%) employers have introduced support for retaining employees over 50 years-old.

19 June 2023 – Aviva calls on government for ‘blueprint’ of pension savings support

The blueprint is designed to support those who will retire in the 2050s and challenges they may face.


17 July 2023 - First insurer to receive Age-Aware Accreditation

The accreditation demonstrates an ongoing commitment to implementing age-inclusive policies.

6 July 2023 - People are planning spending cuts, but optimistic

People in the UK have said they’ll be cutting their spending on takeaways, holidays, and charity donations.


27 July 2023 - Employees delay dental treatment worrying about time off work

Two in five of those who delayed going to the dentist said they were worried about needing time off.

17 July 2023 - Bupa becomes first health insurer to be Plain Numbers certified

The certification represents a high standard of clarity in the way numbers are communicated to customers.

Legal & General

8 August 2023 - Shopping around for an annuity could earn you £15,000 more over the course of your retirement

New analysis reveals that the average annuity income for June 2023 has increased by over £800 compared to June of last year.

26 July 2023 - New research reveals: Financial stability is the UK’s ultimate retirement dream

94% of respondents say their foremost desire for retirement is to feel financially secure and maintain their desired lifestyle.


27 June 2023 – Unum adds Reframe cancer support to Help@hand app as cancer continues to dominate claims

Adding cancer support to the app will benefit employees of companies who have an employer-paid critical illness or group life policy.

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