Inspire summer 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, we look into why B Corp certification is so coveted amongst businesses and how you can become accredited, and we discuss the UK’s crumbling life expectancy. We also assess how the NHS strikes might impact access to primary care, how to enjoy summer on a budget, and advise on how you can protect your company against skyrocketing ransomware rates. Plus, find out the latest from the insurers.

How to become B Corp certified

B Corp certification is highly coveted, and for a reason. Businesses are awarded B Corp certification when they meet certain high standards of social and environmental performance. To date, over 6,000 businesses – of all sizes – around the world are B Corp certified.


What is it?

In today’s world, consumers are growing increasingly more conscious of how they’re spending their money, wanting to ensure that their purchases align with their morals and ethics. Not only do consumers care about social and environmentally sustainable practices, but they expect businesses to, as well. B Corp certification, then, is effectively a stamp that marks a business as being socially and environmentally conscious.

That’s not to say that businesses without the certification aren’t concerned about their social and environmental standing, but the conscious consumer will find it easier to see that a company’s values align with their own if they’re B Corp certified.

Is it worth it?

Whether or not B Corp certification is worth it will depend on your business, but generally it’s seen as a business plus. By trying to meet the rigorous standards it sets, B Corp status ‘inherently sets the standard of your business’s operational success much higher than 99% of your competition.’1

Once you’ve submitted your B Corp assessment, you’ll need to pay a one-off fee of £250 plus VAT, and then pay a fee for each year that you’re a member. The latter isn’t a flat fee, but rather based on your company’s total revenue.

If B Corp determine that you’re facing ‘systemic barriers to business ownership’, you can receive a 40% discount on certification fees. You’ll have to apply for this discount when you submit for verification.

So, how do you get it?

B Corp is open about the fact that it’s very rare for a business to achieve B Corp certification on their first attempt. It takes most businesses a significant amount of time and effort to be operating to B Corp’s strict standards their first time around and earn their accreditation.

The basic initial requirements for joining:

  • Your company operates for profit in a competitive market
  • Your company has been in operation for at least 12 months.

Step one

  • Complete and submit the free B Impact Assessment (BIA), a set of 200 questions taken online that’s used to analyse your company’s social and environmental performance
  • The assessment focuses on five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers
  • The questions your company has to answer will be tailored to the size of its business
  • At least 80 points (out of 200) are needed to achieve B Corp certification.

Step two

  • This step is all about improving your BIA score. As mentioned above, it’s highly unusual for a business to achieve the required number of points to achieve B Corp certification the first time around, so the vast majority of businesses will spend time improving their score
  • Businesses can improve their score using the tools offered by the BIA, including a goal setting function.

Step three

  • Next, your company will need to make sure it’s legally compliant
  • This involves changing the wording in your Articles of Association ‘to reflect a commitment to creating a material positive impact on society and the environment, and to consider the impact of your decisions on all of your stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, suppliers, society and the environment’
  • The changed Articles will then be filed with Companies House.

Step four

  • Once you’ve managed to improve your score to be 80 points or over, and you have completed the Disclosure Questionnaire, you can then submit your application to B Lab.

Step five

  • If your application is accepted, you’ll sign the B Corp Agreement and pay your annual fee. Your membership entitles you to fly the B Corp flag and attend community events and working groups
  • You’ll need to recertify your B Corp membership every three years.

1 Blog: Becoming A B Corp - Was It Worth It?

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The UK's crumbling life expectancy

In the 1950s the UK had one of the highest life expectancies in the world, ranking seventh globally. Today, we rank at just 29th.


Similarly, other metrics paint a troubling picture:

  • 63% of UK adults are either overweight or obese.2 The UK has the fourth highest obesity rate in Europe3
  • One in ten UK people over 40 years-old have type 2 diabetes4
  • Somewhere between 29% and 34% of 16-24 year olds are living with a long-term medical condition, illness, or disability5
  • Britain has the worst healthy life expectancy in western Europe.6

We can’t point to one single factor as being responsible for the UK’s dramatic change in past decades from being a healthy to unhealthy nation. Instead, there may be a few complicated issues at play.

One issue might be our nation’s food literacy. Not only does the UK population seem to have a poor understanding of healthy food vs unhealthy food, but the UK government lags behind other countries when it comes to practical measures that lead to people making more informed choices about their food.

For example, in 2014 Brazil introduced a radical new set of guidelines that particularly targeted processed foods,7 and then in 2022 introduced a mandatory front-of-package warning label (FOPL) for ultra-processed foods.8 There is no similar parallel in the UK that allows us to understand our food in a similarly snapshot fashion. Even processed foods like cereals and margarines which are scientifically understood to be unhealthy feature on the NHS website as healthy.

Our bodies have changed over the last few decades, and this isn’t merely a problem of willpower resulting in a lack of exercise and therefore leading to higher rates of obesity. Instead, the contents of our plates have changed over the years. In the 1940s, we got 32% of our calories from fat whereas today it’s 40%. Similarly, processed and ultra processed foods were not nearly as readily available as they are today, meaning they weren’t consumed at the same high quantities.9

So, where do we go from here?

There’s a lot of information out there about healthiness – how to be healthy, what a healthy food is, what a healthy food isn’t, exercises that actually aren’t that great, and so on. It can be difficult to know what’s true, and to find out what’s true for you as an individual. Afterall, no two bodies are the same.

What’s more, just because you look healthy on the outside, that doesn’t mean you are on the inside. There are some things there are just no way of knowing by looking in the mirror.

That’s what health screenings are for. A health screening takes a deep dive into your health to give you the fullest possible picture. Comprised of a battery of tests, a health screening will tell you precisely where you are with your health and then give you further recommendations for improvement. Plus, as a Towergate Health & Protection client, you have access to exclusive discounts on health screenings. Simply use our clinic finder to find your local health screening clinic and begin your health journey on the right foot today.

1 UK life expectancy growing at slower rate than rest of G7, research shows | Life expectancy | The Guardian
2 Overweight and obesity statistics | Cancer Research UK
3 UK ranked fourth for having most overweight and obese adults in Europe, according to WHO study | UK News | Sky News
4 Number of people with diabetes reaches 4.7 million | Diabetes UK
5 Long-term conditions - AYPH - Youth Health Data
6 Our unhealthy nation - The Lancet Healthy Longevity
7 How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket | Food | The Guardian
8 Global Health Advocacy Incubator - Brazil Implements Front-of-Package…
9 Oh! What a lovely diet | Life and style | The Guardian

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NHS strikes: how it affects you

Nurses and doctors have been intermittently striking since late 2022 in what’s been called a ‘historic’ strike – both the largest ever nurses’ strike and the first time the Royal College of Nursing has voted to strike.1


Though there have been rumblings of discontent amongst NHS staff for many years now, the cost-of-living crisis, which has seen inflation reach a peak of double digits,2 seems to have been the final straw leading up to the strikes.

What happens now?

To date, there hasn’t yet been a resolution, meaning that the strikes will continue intermittently.

Although under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 it’s illegal for a strike to endanger human life,3 ambulance staff, including paramedics, have also been striking in England and Wales.4 This means that not only will the delivery of primary care be affected, but also the delivery of emergency services.

Already, the chaos caused by the strikes can be seen. As a result of strikes that have taken place over the past six months, more than half a million appointments and procedures have been rescheduled.5 According to NHS England, ‘at the peak of the [strike] action, there were 27,361 staff not at work’ but this figure is likely to have been much greater due to issues with data collection.6

Even when the strikes stop, however, that doesn’t mean that the huge impact they’ve had on service users’ access to primary care will. Instead, nurses, doctors and patients will have to contend with the various repercussions of the strikes for maybe years to come.

What can you do?

If you were already struggling with access to primary medical care, then it likely isn’t going to get easier over the next few months should there be no strike resolution.

It’s therefore important that you utilise alternative pathways to care where possible, for instance via your existing employee benefits. For those who do not have an alternative pathway to care, a cash plan can be a cost-effective alternative. Most cash plans include a digital GP component that allow you to book a remote appointment with a doctor about all the same issues you would speak to a doctor about in a traditional doctor's surgery.

What’s particularly useful about cash plans is the preventative component; users can get full or partial reimbursement on a number of health maintenance costs like seeing a dentist, seeing the optician, getting physiotherapy and osteopathy, and more. This may help to alleviate the need to be referred to see a specialist in a hospital and potentially come into contact with cancelled appointments or significant wait times.

If you or your employees do not have access to a cash plan but would be interested in learning more about them, please do not hesitate to contact your Towergate Health & Protection consultant.

1 The history of nursing in trade unionism | RCN Magazines | Royal College of Nursing
2 Consumer price inflation, UK - Office for National Statistics
3 What happens when nurses go on strike? - The Big Issue
4 Ambulance strike: What will ambulances respond to on strike days? - BBC News
5 NHS England » NHS publishes data following nurses strike
6 NHS England » NHS England publishes data on junior doctor strike

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Summer activities on a budget

Being on a budget doesn’t have to limit your summer fun. There are still plenty of ways you can enjoy yourself – for free or for a small fee.


1. Farmers’ market

This is one of those activities that you might find you enjoy for the ‘feel’ and ‘atmosphere’ rather than for what you can buy. It’s true that farmers’ markets are full of fresh, organic, and quality-made produce, but they’re also great for window-shopping, having a chat with one of the vendors, and enjoying the outdoor space.

2. Visit a farm

There are farms dotted all over the place, many of them designated petting farms that allow you to interact with the animals and feed them. If they have an entrance fee, normally it’s only a small one. Simply head to Google Maps to find your local farm.

3. Go for a picnic

Take a blanket, your favourite snacks and drinks, and go for a picnic somewhere scenic. This option also allows you to use up any extra food. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can always have your picnic somewhere you’ve never been before, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

4. Visit your local heritage site

The UK boasts no small number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so named because they have some sort of cultural or historic significance. You can visit many World Heritage Sites for free, but others you can access for a small fee.

5. Create a scrapbook

Why not commemorate your summer by creating a scrapbook? You can personalise it however you like, and you’ll be able to look back on it in the future. Plus, you can take pleasure in the fact that you’re getting stuck into an activity that has nothing to do with technology or screens.

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Ransomware on the rise (again)

Ransomware has been a key issue for UK businesses for several years now and we have seen the landscape change from high volume attacks asking for relatively small ransom demands to a strategy which has seen the number of demands plateauing, but the amounts being demanded from companies that have been successfully penetrated increasing dramatically.


Ransomware and the Russia-Ukraine War

During 2022, ransomware attacks appeared to have slowed down somewhat, probably as a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict (as many of the groups historically involved in the proliferation of such attacks were based in these areas). However, cyber security experts and insurers are now reporting that during the first quarter of 2023, ransomware is once again on the rise.

March 2023 increase in cyber attacks

According to the NCC Group’s March 2023 report:¹

  • Ransomware victims continued to rise with the highest of any month in the last three years
  • February to March 2023 exhibited a 91% increase (240 attacks to 459) and a 62% increase, year-on-year
  • Industrials remain the top affected sector.

When considering cyber incidents, the perpetrators of this type of crime are not teenagers sitting at a computer from their bedrooms - they are multi-million-pound businesses running very sophisticated software attempting many attacks against random targets simultaneously.

Questions to ask

Businesses should ask themselves how they would respond to a ransomware attack. Indeed, the first question they should consider is whether they have the expertise, and the second question is: do they have the financial resources to deal with any kind of cyber incident in the first place? If the answer is ‘no’ to either of these questions, then they should consider offsetting the risk to a specialist insurer.

Choosing your cyber cover

In terms of insuring against cyber risks, it is important that consideration is given to choosing a broker that truly understands the covers available and that businesses look at the depth of the cover available rather than simply the lowest premium they can get. The ransomware limit available under the policy is therefore a very important element of the cover to consider.

This expertise will provide clear advice, particularly around onerous conditions which are prevalent with several insurers. It is no good having a policy if this won’t pay out in the event of a loss due to a simple breach of a condition which could have been avoided had the business received better advice.

One area that many businesses fail to consider is setting an appropriate indemnity period to cover the financial shortfall that an incident can trigger. Some insurers offer extremely limited indemnity periods, so it is therefore important that businesses engage with brokers that have good product knowledge and work with insurers providing good cover options.

Another area businesses should consider in terms of a cyber incident is how long-term the impact will be on the business, and the impact on the revenue/ bottom-line. Whilst the actual costs of a cyber incident can be determined post-breach, the impact on the financial situation can continue for some time afterwards and may be less obvious as are any potential costs which may arise out of subsequent regulatory issues arising.

It is critical that businesses receive the best advice around cyber security, risk management and the cover available to protect themselves against a severe threat that is again on the increase.

This article is from our sister company Towergate Insurance Brokers. You can read the unabridged article here.


¹ Ransomware on the rise again | Towergate

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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, Medicash, Simplyhealth, and Unum.



30 May 2023 - More than 1 in 10 over 55s have mortgage debt in the run up to retirement

Almost one in ten British people ‘haven’t got a clue’ how much they owe in outstanding debts, according to the Aviva study.

9 May 2023 - Aviva pays £374m in group protection claims during 2022

The figure is the equivalent of paying out more than £1m to employees and their families every day.


16 May 2023 - How the cost-of-living crisis affects road safety

The study found that 62% of respondents are concerned about being able to carry out timely repairs to their vehicle.

25 April 2023 - AXA UK research reveals the top 20 qualities of successful entrepreneurs

Plus, inflation, increasing fuel, energy costs and the rising cost of materials are main concerns.

29 March 2023 - Work-related stress costing UK economy £28bn a year

AXA’s Mind Health Study has revealed that nearly half the country are in emotional distress.


1 June 2023 - Crowded cities: health concerns grow as Brits admit to spending less than an hour a day outside

Two in five UK adults spend less than an hour per day outdoors.

10 May 2023 - Meet the teams taking action to boost wellbeing at work

Clinical psychologist Julie Smith shares stories from Bupa teams around the world who have started wellness initiatives in their workplaces.

Legal & General

2 June 2023 - 1 in 4 UK adults work in their dream childhood job, Legal & General research reveals

Greater London has the highest percentage of people working their childhood dream as a profession.

17 May 2023 - Legal & General puts return-to-work success down to ‘whole person’ approach: 2022 annual claims, early intervention and rehabilitation data announced

Figures show that 20% of all the employees in the UK that were able to return to work before the payment of any group income protection benefit was as a result of Legal & General’s early intervention.


31 May 2023 - Medicash renews SkinVision skin cancer screening app for policyholders across the UK - Medicash

This collaboration will continue to allow UK Medicash policyholders to benefit from accessible skin health monitoring.

6 April 2023 - Health cash plans – the benefit your employees actually need - Medicash

Medicash’s survey of more than 2,000 UK employees showed that cash plans and wellbeing benefits make the top five best work benefits for employees.


17 April 2023 – Simplyhealth launches new rapid scanning service nationwide after partnering with

The move will allow customers to book scans in minutes and avoid long wait times.


27 March 2023 - Summary on the impact of changing LTA rules on Unum Group Life

Unum has released a summary of the changing lifetime allowance rules.

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