Programme List - COVER Mental Health Forum 2019



Delegate registration


Chair’s welcome and opening remarks
Adam Saville, Editor, COVER


Opening keynote

An on-stage keynote interview with mental health campaigners Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn.

Jonny Benjamin MBE & Neil Laybourn, Mental Health Campaigners
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER


The Mental Health Landscape

A representative from the mental health charity Mind, will give an overview of the mental health landscape in recent years.

Mark Hashimi, Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Mind - Hammersmith & Fulham


Mindfulness in a nutshell
Hannah Loveday, Founder, Yoga Loveday


Panel: Wellness at work - early intervention, signposting and open conversations

With employee assistance programmes (EAPs), early intervention services and rehabilitation at the forefront of many group insurance policies, cash plans and employee benefit packages, the signposting of therapy, counselling and CBT offers employees suffering from poor mental health a plethora of options when it comes to seeking treatment and coping at work. Additionally, new methods, such as fostering safe spaces and encouraging meditation and mindfulness, have also seen a rise in recent years in company offices. So, how should employer’s best approach this issue and how can advisers and employee benefits consultants (EBCs) help organisations formulate their mental health workplace strategy?

Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead, AXA PPP
Christine Husbands, Managing Director, RedArc
Camilla Shaw, Head of Intermediary Sales and Client Relationships, Simplyhealth
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER


Morning networking break


Partner Insight Session: Holloway Friendly - A practical example of increasing access to insurance for people with a history of mental illness

A recent poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Quilter found that 45% of those surveyed found mental health to be a difficult subject to talk about with friends and family. This number has certainly risen in recent years, but it is still to many a taboo subject and with almost half unwilling to speak to those closest to them, how does one broach the conversation with their financial adviser? The process of underwriting for mental health is approached in a similar way to that of physical health, using quantitative data that is considered in the context of the insured population. However, is this the most suitable solution when it comes to mental illness? Does the whole process need a revamp and how do we ask these difficult questions? In this presentation Andrew will share Holloway Friendly’s experience in reviewing and improving their underwriting approach by:

  • Asking the right questions
  • Understanding the individual not underwriting the medical label
  • Challenging existing underwriting assumptions
  • Using value add services to enable broader acceptance at underwriting
  • Using reviewable exclusions and exclusion discounts
Andrew Wibberley, Director, Alea Risk


Partner Insight Session: Incoporating mental resilience training as part of employee development programmes

An account of our journey at Simplyhealth through understanding data around mental health and implementing support and training within our business. We'll also be sharing the success of our clients to inform and inspire those who are still working towards incorporating mental health support initiatives within their organisations.

Pam Whelan, Director of Corporate, Simplyhealth


Partner Insight Session: Where next for EAP in supporting the mental health of staff

Employee Assistance Programmes offer invaluable mental health services such as; confidential assessments, counselling, referrals to employees who have had work-related problems & call lines. Despite this though, average usage is about 10% of the workforce, with 16% considered high usage for an EAP that offers online and telephone support. Will technological advances (i.e. e-counselling and apps) help to encourage engagement in young people and potentially encourage more struggling employees to use the service? In this session, we will consider what EAP does right and what it could be doing in the future, what services are offered and has this evolved over time, and finally is EAP letting people down and how do we encourage more struggling employees to use the service?

Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead, AXA PPP


Partner Insight Session: How far could the PMI market go to provide mental health cover for individuals with specific policies and services?

Currently cover for mental illnesses such as depression, bi-polar and anxiety exists within corporate private medical insurance (PMI) schemes, but not on an individual level. How can we make mental health a core focus of individual PMI, with gamification, app technology and incentives for prevention – such as mindfulness and meditation - at the heart of the proposition?

Dr Keith Klintworth, Deputy CEO, Vitality


Networking lunch

Stream One

Stream Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

Protecting, preserving and repairing the mental health of individual policyholders

In light of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), knowing your products has become even more important. What types of mental health services are available through individual protection policies? What does good practice - before, during and after claim - from providers look like? Are income protection providers doing enough to safeguard and support the mental health of policyholders? What more can be done in this regard and how will the market evolve to better meet the mental health needs of society in the future?

Adam Higgs, Head of Research, Protection Guru
Panel: Talking Tech – smart phone apps, psychological gamification and digital therapy

Technology has taken great strides in the last decade, with smart phones now the norm rather than the exception. And with this, a huge increase in personalised applications for the individual including apps that can help monitor, track or even alleviate symptoms of mental illness. According to Aon’s latest Employee Benefits & Trends Survey, 48% of employers now offer employees access to health and wellbeing apps to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. However, is it not the smart phones that are partially to blame for increased stress and mass distraction nowadays anyway? Join us in this session to consider the impact of technology on mental health, how gamification has made a positive effect and whether tracking technologies will really help insurers paint a picture of mental health.

Simon Jay, Commercial Director, Thrive
Dr Keith Klintworth, Deputy CEO, Vitality
Carl Laidler, Director of Wellbeing Services, Health Shield
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER
Case study: Losing everything - why my brain broke and how I fixed it

In 2011 the sudden and unexpected death of Luke's 11 year old son led to a domino effect of epic proportions; he subsequently lost everything else in his life both personally and professionally. As a consequence he fell into some major mental health issues; anxiety and depression took hold. In this personal case study session Luke will talk you through his journey, what it is like to live with poor mental health and the approach he took to cure himself. He will later be joined on stage by COVER Editor, Adam Saville and the second-half of the session will feature interactive Q&A with the audience.

Luke Ashworth, Founder,

Stream Two

Stream Chair: Johnny Timpson, Financial Protection Technical & Industry Affairs Manager, Scottish Widows

Altering the perception of suicide

Suicide is the main cause of death of men under 49 and one in 14 women attempt suicide (compared to one in 25 men). The Samaritan’s Suicide Statistic Report estimated that 5,821 people died by suicide in the UK in 2017. Group risk protection benefits are often some of the most advanced in terms of their mental health support and offer life assurance and income protection, providing not only financial support but also early intervention and even bereavement counselling for effected families. So, why is the perception that insurers won’t pay out for suicide and how do we encourage more employers to take out life assurance policies?

Katharine Moxham, Spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD)
Panel: Improving access to insurance for poor mental health: the future of government policy

In the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget it was announced that mental health funding will see an increase of £2bn by 2023-24. However the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) estimates that this extra funding is only half the necessary amount needed, and Group Risk Development (GRiD) reported earlier in the year that 24% of all group income protection claims last year were as a result of mental health issues. With the NHS struggling to cope with demand and budget spending falling short of the amount needed to support the mental health needs of society today, has there ever been a greater need for change in legislation to help increase access to insurance? The workplace is changing and statutory sick pay is falling short, so what role can protection play?

Lawrence Finkle, Public Affairs Executive, Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
Katharine Moxham, Spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD)
Ron Wheatcroft, Technical Manager, Swiss Re
Chair: Johnny Timpson, Financial Protection Technical & Industry Affairs Manager, Scottish Widows
Critical illness and the 'mental illness' definition - what would an outcome actually look like?

Much like mental health, discussions of critical illness (CI) cover can be rather daunting. So when the two are combined, understandably it becomes even more difficult. To add to this, there is still huge confusion in the market about what counts as critical mental illness, and how this is covered under critical illness cover. The terms and conditions can often make this worse, chock full of jargon that the everyday individual doesn't understand, laying out omissions and exclusions that can appear unfair or not well thought out. This session will consider what the standard definition for mental illness covered by critical illness should be, how we can start a new conversation about the help people can get and what an outcome would actually look like?

Alan Lakey, Director, CIExpert


Afternoon networking break


Partner Insight Session: Why one solution doesn't fit all: recognising the links between physical and mental health in the workplace

With depression four times as common in people experiencing persistent pain, the proven link between musculoskeletal (MSK) and mental health conditions mustn't be overlooked by employers. Most adults will experience an MSK condition at some point in their life, and with 30.8m working days lost in the UK due to MSK problem (accounting for 22.4% of all sickness absence), the impact of poor MSK and mental health cannot afford to be ignored. In this session we'll be discussing why it is so important to offer a holistic range of products and services, along with how to define and implement a wellbeing strategy with insights into the future of preventative wellbeing in the workplace.

Carl Laidler, Director of Wellbeing Services, Health Shield


Panel: Mental health vs mental illness: Changing the conversation

Mental health awareness is at an all-time high, from high profile celebrities talking about struggling with anxiety or depression, to shocking news stories and statistics criticising the government for their failure to keep up with the mental health crisis afflicting our young people today. There has never been a better time to distinguish mental health and mental illness. Separating psychological wellbeing with severe diagnosis is the natural next step in avoiding the stigma that often is attached with discussions of mental health. Join this panel session to hear from experts across industries as they discuss the importance of cutting through the noise and establishing a clear conversation.

Huw Edwards, Public Affairs & Research Director, ukactive
Suzy Esson, Head of Operations, Holloway Friendly
Jaan Madan, Head of Commercial Development, Mental Health First Aid
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER


Closing keynote

Lord Stevenson will present his findings compiled in the Thriving at Work review of mental health in the workplace.

Lord Dennis Stevenson, Co-Author, Thriving at Work


Chair’s closing remarks
Adam Saville, Editor, COVER


Conference close

*Please note this programme is subject to change