08 January 2024

Employers need to respond to employee challenges in 2024, says Towergate Health & Protection

Iain Laws, CEO of Towergate Health & Protection makes his predictions for health and wellbeing programmes in 2024 and how employers can make the most of the support they offer their employees:


The economy is likely to remain a focus for many, with inflation continuing to place pressure on businesses and households. 1.5 million homeowners are predicted to be affected by their mortgages coming to the end of their fixed rate deal in 2024.1 This will impact employee choices in areas such as pension contributions, and their contribution to company-paid benefits and voluntary benefits, as they seek to balance their household budget.

We expect to see this reflected in changes in the employment markets, with employees becoming more risk averse and not seeking new employment, and those driven to find better paid jobs. Employers wishing to attract the best talent will have to maintain competitive pay and benefits. They should also consider including financial coaching services in their support programme to help with the myriad of issues.

Physical health

We’re unlikely to see the government make changes to stimulate increased provision of cover for health and protection for consumers or businesses. As the health service struggles to improve wait times and resources remain stretched, we will see ongoing prioritisation of life-threatening conditions.

Employee private medical insurance (PMI) demand will continue as reprioritisation of access to healthcare becomes established. Employers looking to balance costs will have to be careful not to make PMI unusable by setting excesses too high. Instead, forward-thinking employers will need to investigate other ways to manage costs, such as reducing the range of hospitals offered.


‘Prevention over claim’ will be a key focus. As premiums rise across core health and wellbeing and group risk benefits, there will be increased pressure on providers to take a joined-up view. The actions taken by an employer in implementing preventative care – such as lifestyle benefits and screening – will impact the premiums set. Building employees’ understanding of how they can support their own health will also be important. Genetics will start to play a role in preventative health and wellbeing as a new topic, and employers will have to begin to understand how this can be incorporated into their risk assessment offering.


Issues related to specific demographics are going to continue to resonate - by age, gender and risk. It will be important for employers to have the right benefits to target the specific needs of their employees, thus focusing the benefits spend. However, care must be taken not to just add a patchwork of random wellbeing services that do not dovetail. This could result in overlapping and creating unnecessary costs with good intention but poor execution. That is where good consulting advice will be vital in helping to build functioning wellbeing programmes, rather than a fragmented list of services.  

Mental health

Mental health absence and illness rates are set to rise, while availability of qualified specialists and therapists may well struggle to keep track with demand. Burnout is likely to remain prevalent. The importance of early identification, intervention and support will be huge and increased employer support will be needed.


We’re very likely to see social wellbeing grow in importance - as needing to belong, connect, give back, be appreciated and learn - all play a part in employees’ wellbeing. Businesses will need to consider how they achieve this reconnection and how a full health and wellbeing support programme can play a significant role, particularly in encouraging employees back to the office.  


Employers would be well advised to focus on communication that will reach individuals in the right way. This will mean embracing technology platforms to reach all personality and learning types to provide insightful and appropriate communications about wellbeing support. However, employers need to look for genuinely useful user-interfaces and services rather than just adding an app to feel part of the digital revolution.

Iain Laws concludes: “All companies should have some sort of wellbeing and benefits spend allowance in their 2024 budget. Not doing so could be said to be assuming that 100% of their employees will be 100% fit for 100% of the year; it’s good business practice to have a plan in place if they’re not.”



1. https://www.forbes.com/uk/advisor/mortgages/mortgage-interest-rates-forecast/.