Inspire winter 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 how to make the most of your finances this winter. We also discuss how you can sleep your way to a more fulfilling lifestyle, offer tips on how to stay safe when participating in winter sports, and discuss how you can support colleagues who might find the holiday season difficult. Finally we talk about how a silent review could help your business, as well as providing updates on the latest news from key insurers.

Three savvy financial winter wellness tips

Whether you love winter’s cosy evenings and perfect reading weather, or hate the chilly temperatures and early evening darkness, we can agree on something: the winter season can be a real struggle if you’re short on money.


But just because it’s dark and gloomy outside, that doesn’t mean your bank account has to be, too. That’s why we thought we’d share a few tips on how you can brighten up your financial situation this winter.

  1. Make the most of your employee benefits

Don’t sleep on your employee benefits. Whether you’ve got a cash plan, private medical insurance (PMI) policy, group risk policy or something else, most employee benefits offer extra perks in addition to the primary cover.

So, before you pay full price for something – stop! Head to your policy benefits first so you can see what’s on offer. From discounts on groceries, gym memberships, high-street shopping, days out, and more, your policy is full of offers that can help your money to go further.

If you have a cash plan, make sure you’re really taking advantage of all that it has to offer. Cash plans offer reimbursement on a range of health maintenance costs, like seeing an optician or dentist or even a chiropractor, making it easier for you to stay on top of your health even when times are tough.

  1. Money-saving apps

The saturation of the smartphone app market makes it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. But, despite the dizzying number of apps available, there are some hidden gems that deserve a spot on your smartphone.

Too Good To Go is one of these. Self-described as ‘the app that lets customers rescue unsold food from shops and restaurants,’ Too Good To Go offers grocery and restaurant packages that you can collect at the end of the day for a heavily discounted price. So, if you’re really in the mood for a takeaway but don’t want to spend lots, check what’s on Too Good To Go first.

In a similar vein, popular app Olio allows users to find 100% free items from locals in their area. From food to furniture and everything in between, Olio can be a great cost-saving tool by allowing you to get the items you need for free rather than buying them new.

  1. Treat yourself

There are lots of different ways you can make treating yourself more affordable, from store loyalty points, cashback reward systems, and exclusive discounts offered via your employer. Many banking apps have a handy roundup feature that allows you to roundup your purchases to the nearest pound, with the surplus going into a pot that counts towards whatever you choose, like a nice meal out or a gadget you’ve wanted for ages.

Remember that just because money is tight, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything you like. On the contrary, the fact that many of us are finding new and inventive ways to save money amidst the cost-of-living crisis means we deserve all the more to celebrate our wins – big and small.

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Sleep as a superpower

How many times have you heard the saying, “sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning”? Sleep is restorative. It keeps your mind and body healthy.


Poor sleep has been associated with several chronic health problems including heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, diabetes, and depression. A lack of proper sleep can make our mind unfocused, our reflexes slower, and can even have a negative effect on something as simple as our complexion.

Here are five simple ways you can improve your sleep.

  1. Establish a sleep schedule

Setting up a consistent sleep schedule allows your body, and mind, to get into a routine. Studies show that having a sleep schedule can help you not only get more sleep, but also better-quality sleep.1 Try to think about what suits you best without disrupting your body’s natural schedule too much (when the body is naturally inclined to be awake or asleep).

  1. Limit your caffeine intake

It’s no secret that caffeine helps to wake you up. It does this by blocking the sleep-inducing chemical adenosine. It is well-known that to improve your sleep, you should avoid drinking too much caffeine. It is recommended that you stop drinking caffeine roughly six to eight hours before your bedtime.2

  1. Take a digital detox

Many of us are prone to screen over-consumption, whether that be our mobile phones, computer screens, or televisions. Our phones in particularly emit a blue light which can have a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep. Blue light tricks the brain into believing it’s daytime and stops the body releasing melatonin, the sleep hormone. It is recommended to avoid screens one-two hours before bed3, by opting for activities such as reading.

  1. Tire yourself out

If you are having trouble sleeping, consider incorporating some exercise into your routine to help you wind down for the evening. For evening workouts it’s recommended to opt for light to moderate exercise such as yoga, leisurely swimming, cycling, or going for a stroll. Make sure to avoid high intensity exercise before bedtime which may have the opposite effect on your sleep pattern.

  1. Step into nature

Studies show that spending time outside can greatly improve your sleep.4 Exposing yourself to natural light can allow your body’s internal clock to regulate. Even on cloudy days this exposure can help maintain a healthy circadian system, in addition to linking to exercise recommendations in point four.

Learn more about sleep as a superpower with our free webinar

There’s no area of our lives that our sleep doesn’t impact. Our cognitive abilities, our health, our emotions, our relationships – these are all things shaped by the quality of our sleep.

Without enough sleep you simply cannot perform or concentrate for sustained periods of time on daily tasks, at work or anywhere else.  Getting enough sleep also enables us to function more clearly with better judgement, self-control, and creativity. Sleep is the fundamental for any healthy lifestyle.

Tune into our webinar to find out more about how quality sleep is a superpower, and how to get more of it.

Date: 14 December

Time: 12:00pm

 Register here


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Tips on staying safe when doing winter sports

As the weather gets colder, many of us will take advantage of the winter months by heading to the slopes to embark on winter sports. While these sports are a great way of staying active in the cold, they all come with their fair share of risks.


Common winter sports injuries

There are plenty of common winter sports injuries including fractures, sprains, strains, concussions and joint dislocations - with some sports even having their own exclusive set of injuries due to the unique stressors they place on the participants. “Snowboarder’s ankle” for example describes a fracture to the outer ankle caused by a sprain sustained following a significant impact event such as high-force landing. “Skier’s thumb” is another example, where the ski pole “levers” the base of the thumb during a fall, causing it to overextend and damage the ligament. Many of these injuries can happen naturally and through no fault of the person impacted.

Wear the correct protective equipment

Head injuries are a possibility when skiing or snowboarding, so it’s important to make sure you’re wearing the correct type of helmet and other protective gear when you’re on the slopes. A concussion is a mild type of traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that affects the normal function of the brain, causing fatigue, blurred vision, irritability and difficulty focusing. Other pieces of equipment such as goggles, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads also help to protect you and are readily available to purchase or rent at winter sport resorts.

Keeping warm when in colder climates is an equally important issue. Prepare yourself with several layers that can absorb your sweat and keep out the cold and wind.

Learn how to fall

Trying to break a fall with an outstretched arm can create a force strong enough to cause a dislocated shoulder, also known as a rotator cuff injury, or even a broken wrist. Listen carefully to a trained instructor to learn how to fall correctly and minimise chances of injury.

Listen to the rules

Even the most experienced snowboarder or skier can end up in an accident, so it’s important to pay attention to marked ski and snowboard trails, rather than going off-piste or taking a route that is above your skill level. Accidents can also arise when getting onto or disembarking the ski lift, so make sure you are always aware of your surroundings.

Know when to take a break

You’re more likely to take shortcuts or make mistakes when you’re tired. If you’re feeling fatigued, the best thing to do is to have a good rest, even if this means an early end to your skiing for the day.

Make sure you’re covered

If you’re planning a ski or snowboard break, or even partaking in simple sledging, make sure you’re insured for these activities to avoid having to pay medical bills yourself should you experience an injury.

Accidents can happen to anyone, even when taking the correct precautionary measures. Should you experience an injury, discounted physiotherapy as a client of Towergate Health & Protection is easily available to get you back on your feet in no time. Physiotherapy is also a great ongoing support for those with active lifestyles, even without an injury to repair, to reduce the risk of injury or illness in the future.

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Why the holidays can be tricky for some

The holidays are often seen as a time for people to come together and share in festive events and joy, but for many people, the season is a source of stress and anxiety. There are many factors that could contribute to a person’s negative feelings towards this time of year, from financial woes to seasonal affective disorder.


Financial struggles

For many, winter is a financially stressful time. Energy bills rise with the cost of heating and lighting the home during the darker, colder days, and this steep contrast to the warmer summer months can put a strain on many people’s finances.

People may feel the need to buy gifts for others, which can cause financial stress. Many people also need to pay to travel to visit family and friends as well as host or partake in holiday events, and both can be impactful on finances.

Family stress

The holidays are often seen as a time for family events and coming together, which is a joyful time for many but can be a source of anxiety for others. Whether it’s the stress of organising or attending a family event or associating the season with past tensions and trauma, the holidays can be a tough time for many people. For those who do not have families or are estranged from their relatives, the holidays can be a source of loneliness.

Seasonal depression                     

According to the NHS,1 seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. The causes are not fully understood, but it’s thought to be linked to reduced sunlight during winter hours, which can affect your body’s production of certain important hormones such as melatonin and serotonin, as well as your internal body clock.

As the days get shorter and darker, many people will also find that they become more sedentary, as exercising or going outdoors may not be as appealing - a lack of exercise can also negatively impact mental health. The cold weather can also exacerbate existing mental health issues or even trigger new ones.

How to help

The holidays are a difficult time for many people, and it can be made even harder when it is socially expected that they should be having fun and sharing in the joy with everyone else. Sometimes all someone needs is for their problems to be heard and validated.

Things you can do to support someone who is struggling:

  • 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
  • Offer an open space for honest discussions and a good listening ear
  • Suggest free activities that are unrelated to the holiday season
  • Encourage them to speak with their doctor if they are particularly struggling, as they may be able to access local telephonic therapy services or further support
  • Let them know about available mental health services - an employee assistance programme (EAP) can help support people through difficult times.


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Your emotional wellness toolkit

We aren’t given ‘emotional wellness 101’ lessons at school, so we can’t expect to know the ins and outs of what science tells us is healthy and unhealthy, emotionally speaking.


But how your workers cope with things like stress, disappointment and pressure is important. Employees who can better manage their emotions will be more resilient, dynamic, and better able to adapt to change – vital qualities for any worker of a modern, evolving business.

That’s why, in this article, we unpack some of the more common unhealthy emotional mechanisms so that you can see if you’re an unknowing participant in any of them.

While you’re reading, it might strike you: no one wants to be emotionally unwell – so why are so many of our habits and behaviours conducive to just that?

Unhelpful thinking styles

There’s a very strong relationship between our thoughts and emotions, which is why the content of our thoughts is so significant. For example, if you tend to be quite self-critical and constantly have thoughts about being inadequate, you’ll probably also be more prone to low moods.

Science tells us that the following thinking styles are unhelpful and unhealthy. Are you guilty of any?

  • Overgeneralising is when you make a sweeping judgment about yourself after one instance of something happening, e.g. “I forgot it was my friend’s birthday until late in the day; I’m a bad friend”
  • Personalisation is when you feel responsible for something that you can’t reasonably control
  • Catastrophic thinking is when your mind is always jumping to worst-case scenarios
  • Black and white thinking is when you view situations as right or wrong with no in between.1

The above thinking styles aren’t bad just because they make us feel bad about ourselves. They’re bad because they’re unhelpful, unrealistic, and have no foundation in reality. Catastrophic thinking and the like encourage us to think of ourselves as having a more critical role in situations than we really do. Practicing kinder, gentler, and more understanding thinking – towards yourself as well as others – will help you to reorient and regain perspective.

You’re wrong about self-esteem

Most people have got self-esteem all wrong. Subconsciously, many people with low self-esteem are waiting for that accomplishment or achievement that will give them permission to feel good about themselves.

But science shows us it just doesn’t work like this. In fact, the opposite is true.

Studies have shown that people with greater self-esteem go on to achieve more in life, work, and their relationships.2 Importantly, the self-esteem comes first.

So, there’s no point waiting until you’ve done X, Y and Z before you feel good about yourself. You have to work on feeling good about yourself ‘just because.’

Toxic positivity

Toxic positivity happens when people believe that negativity should be avoided at all costs. While this belief does make sense, it’s misguided and can actually have the opposite of the intended effect.

Studies actually show that suppressing your emotions can reinforce them and make them stronger,3 but the effects are more than just psychological; bottling up negative emotions has been shown to have a detrimental impact on physical health.4

The takeaway is that if you want to stop feeling bad, first you have to feel bad. You need to process your emotions...and then you can let them go.

Taking your emotional wellbeing seriously

There’s no such thing as achieving emotional wellness. It’s not a single event that you can accomplish and then forget about. Instead, think of it as more of a journey; it’s about creating small, positive changes in everyday life that allow you to be level-headed and, more importantly, kind to yourself.

If you’re serious about your emotional wellbeing, it’s good practice to demonstrate that to yourself with concrete actions. First thing’s first: don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Most employee benefit policies offer a confidential service you can lean on in tough times. An employee assistance programme (EAP), for example, gives you access to an experienced professional who can be there for you and provide advice on whatever’s on your mind.

You’ll also find similar support available through group risk policies, i.e. group life assurance, group income protection, and group critical illness, as well as through private medical insurance policies.

Contact your usual Towergate Health & Protection consultant if you would like to find out more about how you can support the emotional wellbeing of your people.

1 Unhelpful Thinking Styles | Psychological & Counseling Services
2 Self-love is crucial for achieving success in life | LinkedIn
3 Suppressing your emotions can be incredibly bad for your health | The Ladders
4 Ignoring your emotions is bad for your health | Time

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Silent reviews: going ‘under cover’

Can you be certain that your existing insurance policies provide the right protection and, importantly, are competitively priced with limits and excesses?

The risk of not having the protection you need from any insurance portfolio has always been important, as has getting this protection at the right price.


But the current financial climate is bringing this to the forefront more than ever before.

This is why our sister company, Towergate Insurance Brokers, offer a process called a silent review, helping you to get the answers you need to the questions you should be asking when it comes to insurance.

What is a silent review?

A silent review can give you peace of mind and reassurance that the cover you have in place will protect you in the way you expect it to, should the worst happen. A silent review involves engaging specialists and insurance experts to undertake a full review of current insurance arrangements, without disrupting existing arrangements or making existing brokers or insurers aware that the review is taking place.

A silent review is particularly useful when business circumstances change, such as upgrading systems or operations, expanding, acquiring, or selling. Similarly, they can be of value if there have been changes to who handles the insurance, either at the company or the broker. Changes to claims trends may also warrant a review. If the insurances have just been renewed, a silent review can provide peace of mind, and, in some cases, identify important coverage issues that were not addressed at the last renewal.

What does a silent review entail?

A silent review will take into account trade process, risk management and health and safety procedures to ensure that positive risk features are reflected in the premium that is being paid.

Business, industry, and commerce moves at a pace, but we often find that insurance programmes don’t adapt or evolve to match these developments. For many years we have found that complacency and apathy in the insurance sector (amongst brokers and insurers) is rife, can lead to insurer opportunism, and leaves clients unnecessarily exposed.

Typical reviews will address the following areas:

1. Insurance cover – including terms, conditions, warranties, limitations and exclusions, as well as adequacy of the sum insured, liability limits, and excesses
2. Insured and uninsured risks, specifically looking at activities undertaken to ensure suitable coverage has been purchased
3. Insurance programme structure – understanding if there is an alternative way to structure your insurance programme that could bring added benefits to your business, including cost benefit analysis
4. Costs (premiums and fees)
5. Service – including risk and claims management support, plus policy appropriateness considering recent claims trends
6. Adequacy of programme against emerging/evolving risks, i.e. crime, cyber, and environmental.

From a risk support perspective, a review would generally include:

Claims management

  • Claims analysis, tracking and trending reviews
  • Positive risk mitigation
  • Reviewing any claims in reserve to ensure they’re still applicable.

Risk profiling

  • Valued by clients who consistently see cost benefits
  • Highlights to insurers what a client does, how they do it, the processes, systems, etc, and details the risks and exposures before highlighting/emphasising protections and risk mitigation measures
  • By articulating the positive aspects of the risk, Towergate Insurance Brokers is able to differentiate clients, remove insurer misconceptions, and generate optimal interest as well as ultimately improved terms.

There is no charge for silent reviews and there are no hidden fees.

Where can I find out more?

Please contact your usual Towergate Health & Protection consultant if you would be interested in a silent review, and they will put you in touch with one of our specialist colleagues at Towergate Insurance Brokers.

We understand that it can be difficult to break away from long-established relationships with insurance brokers. This is why Towergate offer silent reviews, which do not disturb your existing broker relationship or the insurance market generally.

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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, Unum, and Vitality.



29 October 2023 – Businesses prioritise sustainability strategies

Aviva’s Climate Ready Index reports 44% of businesses now have a climate impact plan, a growth of 10% in one year.

24 October 2023 – Nearly half of Brits are kept awake by cost of living

Research by Aviva finds 45% of adults experience a lack of sleep due to cost of living and associated financial stress.


13 November 2023 – Marking one year of the first of its kind neurodiversity assessment and support service

Over 4,000 members utilise the service in debut year, with 90% stating they would recommend.

25 October 2023 – Neglecting women’s health at work costs UK economy £20.2 billion a year

New research by AXA Health reports the economical cost of employers neglecting women’s health in the workplace.


7 November 2023 – Bupa makes pioneering genetic test for bladder cancer available for the first

The first bladder cancer test for customers provided by a UK health insurer launches, benefitting over 8,000 Bupa customers who need testing.

18 September 2023 – Bupa launches new family health proposition, Bupa Family+

Bupa’ Family+ insures the eldest child up to the age of 20, and automatically includes all younger children in the policy.

Legal & General

6 November 2023 – 1 in 3 Gen Z employees say they’ve experienced a mental health problem

70% Gen Z respondents claimed to have a lack of fulfillment in life, and only 23% reporting being loyal to their employer.

30 October 2023 – Women are less financially confident – retirement impact

Women are 33% more likely than men to say they do not understand how their pension works – suggesting a lack of financial confidence.


17 November 2023 - Is there a link between employee wellbeing and company performance?

Medicash investigates the connection between job satisfaction and business output.

11 September 2023 – Introducing Medicash’s refreshed employee assistance programme

Medicash launches an enhanced EAP as part of their new partnership with Vivup.


9 November 2023 – 3.5 million women consider quitting job due to menopause and menstrual health symptoms

New research finds 23% of working women have considered quitting due to menopause and menstrual health issues at work, with 87% wanting better workplace understanding of women’s health.

12 September 2023 – 23 million sick days due to dental pain

28% of UK adults report needing a sick day due to dental pain, with 7% needing over a working week.


27 November 2023 – Unhappy employees take nine more sick days a year than their happier counterparts

Research reveals that unhappy employees take almost two working weeks’ more sickness absence on average per year compared to their happy counterparts, costing the UK economy £11 billion per year through lost productivity. 


19 October 2023 - Vitality Unveils Cutting-Edge Digital Health Enhancements alongside its 2023 Health Claims Report

Vitality has announced a number of enhancements to further streamline its digital journeys for both members and advisers and increase the efficiency and speed that diagnostics and treatment are delivered. All enhancements will be available by the end of the year.

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