Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit

Turning awareness into action
Thursday 12 March 2020, 99 City Road London

Mental health has come to the fore in recent years, with awareness at an all-time high and conversations happening far and wide - from boardrooms to government departments. On a national level, the discussion has well and truly started, but now, it’s about putting it into action.

For the insurance sector, itself, following the first ever COVER Mental Health Forum in 2019, we have already started to see progress within individual protection, with life insurance providers adapting their underwriting approaches to make propositions more inclusive for those with a history of poor mental health.

Meanwhile, the group risk and employee benefits space has continued to help build mental health support into workplace wellbeing strategies, with early intervention and employee assistance programmes forming the bedrock of group protection policies.

Spurred by conversations at the last event we have decided to increase our scope, incorporating wellbeing and prevention into the narrative. Expect a mixture of views and debates covering a range of topics, including real-life case studies, insurance provider updates and incisive panel discussions that speak directly to the financial advice community as well as employee benefit consultants and in-house HR professionals.

This event seeks to be a true end-to-end conference that covers all of the burning questions that our delegates want answered, as well as providing an opportunity to network with your peers and discuss best practice and ideas for the future.

Join us at the COVER Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit on 12th March 2020 as we tackle turning awareness into action.

Event countdown

This event is working towards the International Standard ISO 20121 and follows guidance set out by the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA)

Who should attend?

• Protection and Health Insurance Advisers

• Independent Financial Advisers (IFA)

• Employee Benefit Consultants (EBCs)

• Insurance/Protection/Healthcare Professionals

• Mental Health Professionals

• Therapists/Counsellors/Psychologists

• HR Managers/Employers/CEOs


Delegate registration

With networking and refreshments

Chair's welcome and opening remarks

Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

Opening keynote: Grief in conversation

Grief comes in many forms. It is something we’ll all have to face, but few of us are prepared for. How can we help ourselves? How can we support friends, colleagues and customers facing it right now? How can we face such trauma in a positive way, without getting stuck? If you haven’t suffered a loss personally yet, you will undoubtedly find yourself alongside those who have. Having both suffered the loss of their children, Lizzie Pickering and Luke Ashworth discuss their own journeys of grief to give some insight on how we could all be better prepared; both at home and in the workplace.

Luke Ashworth, Founder,
Lizzie Pickering, Film Producer and Grief Investigator

Why is Mental Health such a challenge for the Protection market? If we get it right, does everyone benefit?

Protection insurance is part of the infrastructure of our society and we have had centuries to hone our craft. Why then is mental health proving to be a complex and multi-faceted challenge for our industry? Mental illness is now the leading cause of work absence and long-term work incapacity in the developed world. To date we have approached the condition as any other illness and expect to deal with a clearly defined prognosis and impact. However, the spectrum of mental health is far more complex and reflects community norms and views in ways that other illness doesn’t. This session will provide insights into designing products for the mental health spectrum, challenging the way we underwrite and the prevalence of the ‘stress’ claim. Can insurance ever effectively provide cover for coping with the pressures of everyday life and work? Will community attitudes and expectations provide the trigger to approach this problem in an entirely new way?

Debbie Kennedy, Protection Managing Director, LV=

Back to work - Rehabilitation and support

After a bout of poor mental health, there is nothing more counterproductive than struggling to get back into work. Access to proper rehabilitation that provides the right treatment for the appropriate people, ultimately helping them get back to work quicker. Government calculations have suggested that the economic cost for sickness absence could be as high as £100bn a year, with mental health fast becoming one of the leading conditions cited by employees as the reason for their long-term sickness absence. The need for insurers to provide rehabilitation services that get people back into work has never been more important. So, what are the obstacles and how can we ensure we are offering best-in-class support to policyholders?

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Legal & General

Panel discussion: Burnout

A recent survey of 140 companies conducted by Dolan Contractor Group found that almost 90% of workers suffer excessive stress. Mental health in the workplace has become a key focus for a large proportion of UK HR departments, however the underlying problem persists. Our ‘always on’ culture means often our work lives bleed into our personal, leading to a blurring of lines and unclear on and off periods. This is a problem that has surely been around for generations, however it seems to have taken centre-stage in recent years, especially in 2019 when occupational burnout was officially classed as a condition by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In this panel discussion, our expert panellists will assess the common causes of burnout, what can be done to help those in need and how finding time to unplug can be hugely beneficial to our mental health.

Jenni Cochrane, Co-Founder & CEO, Getahead
Debbie Kleiner, Head of Workplace Wellbeing, PES
Roy Mcloughlin, Associate Director, Cavendish Ware

Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

Networking break
Charity Partner Insight: Signposting and access to insurance for potentially vulnerable customers

Drawing upon 40 years’ worth of experience gained from supporting people affected by mental health problems, Mental Health UK will provide some guidance on how we can better manage employee wellbeing in the workplace appropriately and with sensitivity. The charity organisation will explore the language the insurance industry uses when dealing with potentially vulnerable customers and how signposting can be used to improve access to insurance.

Sarah Murphy, Associate Director for Advice, Information & Training, Mental Health UK

Improving employee engagement and utilisation of EAPs

With 61% of employees having experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor1, it is now more important than ever for EAPs to address some of the problems that occur with the new, modern ways of working. In this session, our mental health lead, Eugene Farrell, will be exploring where EAPs fit within the mental health continuum, how they need to adapt to the modern way of working and how they should form part of a holistic approach to Wellbeing.

Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead, AXA PPP

A new approach to mental illness – how it can and is changing
  • The evolution of underwriting - how insurers have labelled individuals
  • Gathering information and understanding individuals and learn who they are
  • Moving into the future of underwriting and how to see individuals not stereotypes

Keith Robertson, Senior Underwriter, Holloway Friendly

Where next for corporate health insurance?

Corporate health insurance has evolved over the last decade, with continuing technological, economic and societal change driving the demand for more tailored solutions for the workforce. A core emphasis across this year and beyond will need to be a dedicated mental health strategy, increasing workers resilience and a more personalised and closer customer relationship with a keen focus on early intervention. This session will consider the current outlook for the corporate health insurance market and what key changes will have to be made over the coming years.

Camilla Brooke, Head of Corporate and Consumer Sales, Simplyhealth

Workplace resilience


Claire Russell, CEO & Founder, Mental Health in Business

Networking lunch
Panel discussion: Words matter - Language, underwriting and communication

The language we use plays a big part in peoples understanding and perception of mental health. Communication is key as misunderstanding leads to misdiagnosis meaning that vulnerable clients won’t get the advice or treatment that they need. Mental health underwriting has a huge role to play with this, is the language we use exclusionary and what can be done to ensure we are tailoring our approach to every individual? In this session, our expert panel will consider the role of language in communicating mental health, best in class inclusive underwriting and the role of the underwriter in the assessment of protection.

Kathryn Knowles, Managing Director, Cura Financial Services
Terry Streather, Director, Oakwood Training
Andrew Wibberley, Director, Alea Risk
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

OK, it’s OK not to be OK, but how do you ensure the client conversation is… OK?: How to handle emotional health conversations with your clients, with confidence and empathy

Do you fear saying the wrong thing and making matters worse? Unsure about how to ask the intrusive underwriting question? How do you respond if a client reveals they attempted to take their own life? How do you pass on the underwriting decision your client won’t want to hear? When that claim call comes in from your client, or their spouse, what do you say? And how do you look after yourself?

Using real life experiences, we‘ll offer practical guidance and how-to techniques on handling the common emotional health quandaries and questions faced by advisers. Join us and we’ll help you to feel more OK, when it’s not OK.

Justin Harper, Head of Protection Marketing & External Affairs, LV=
Andrea Fields, Rehabilitation Manager, LV=

Talking to your clients about mental health

Broaching a conversation about mental illness can be an extremely difficult thing. However, undoubtedly opening up and being honest about your mental health is an essential first step for many to get the help that they need. Speaking to a financial adviser or mental health underwriter about this can be the catalyst for change needed to receive appropriate protection policies that will ultimately lead to a client’s peace of mind. What can the industry do to make this process easier for our clients and how can you tailor this approach on a case by case basis?

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Legal & General



Andrew Wilkinson, Director, Moneysworth

Are the kids alright?

At the recent This Can Happen conference, Accenture revealed that according to a recent survey, 92% of young workers in the UK between the ages of 18-30 have been touched by mental health challenges. The survey was conducted with 3884 people and revealed that a staggering 48% said they have experience suicidal thoughts or feelings compared to a comparatively lower 35% older workers. How do we drill down to the root cause of this and what can the industry do to better support our youth?

Panel discussion: Getting to know modern workers

We are living an age of the multigenerational workers. Managing the gap between five generations of workers, from boomers to Gen Z is no mean feat, especially when it comes to considering their mental health and wellbeing. With such a wide range of lived experience all working together, how can employers offer solutions to their staff that fully take into account the differing needs of their age-diverse workforces? In this panel discussion we will consider how to personalise wellbeing solutions to every age, how you can use data to effectively analyse and therefore personalise, and finally the pitfalls and key considerations to bear in mind.

Steve Butler, CEO, Punter Southall Aspire
Melissa Doman, M.A., Organisational Psychologist and Ex-Mental Health Therapist
Chris McWilliam, Principal & Chartered Financial Planner, Aon Workplace Pensions & Financial Wellbeing

Panel discussion: Developing a financial wellbeing strategy

Financial stress can be one of the driving causes of poor mental health. 78% of UK employees rely on finance options between pay cheques, with this figure rising to 91% in London. Becoming financially resilient and independent benefit not only an employee’s mental health, but also comes with a whole host of business benefits, such as marked boosts in productivity and engagement. Offering support and guidance and integrating financial wellbeing into the workplace is crucial to achieving this but a strategy must be put in place. This discussion will look at exactly how organisations can go about developing their financial wellbeing strategy, what the key benefits of doing so are, and how to improve employee engagement of personal finance.

Cheryl Brennan, Director of Corporate Consulting, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing
Richard Campo, Managing Director, Rose Capital Partners

Case study: How we can all deal with mental health better at work

In a personal case study, marketing strategy director Rhys Williams shares why opening up about his mental health at work was the best thing he ever did.

Rhys Williams, Strategy Director, Quietroom

Panel discussion: Technology and Innovation – a hope for a healthier future?

Technological advancement over the last decade has revolutionised the way we work as a society. The dawn of digitalisation has spawned flexible and remote working. However, how do we get the balance right for employees? Employers are increasingly being called upon the find new ways to support the mental health of staff in the midst of a highly charged technology-driven environment and an ‘always on’ corporate culture. This panel will discuss the latest innovations within workplaces and how we can improve productivity and not hinder it using technology.

Simon Jay, Commercial Director, Thrive Therapeutic Software

Making the case for mindfulness at work

The evidence for mindfulness meditation on good mental health has been growing and growing over the past few years, but has received some criticism too, due to the mass-commoditisation of the market. However, despite the scepticism, if stripped back to its core components the benefits to your mental health are tenfold. In this session our speaker will articulate the key benefits of mindfulness, how to cut through the noise and how businesses can use these practices to help their employees.

Hannah Loveday, Wellbeing Consultant, Loveday Wellbeing

Instigating cultural change in the industry

Developing insurance providers understanding of mental health is a key phase in the journey towards the fair and proper treatment of mental illness. This knowledge needs to be spread out across all functions too, from those on the front-line speaking to clients, all the way up to senior management – a cultural shift is necessary and welcome to ensuring that the correct treatment and policies are put in place on an individual basis. This session will explore where insurers are weak on mental health, what training needs to be given to staff members and how we can enact widespread cultural change on an organisational and industry level.

How to be authentic at work

Session details TBC

Andrée Funnell, Coach, L&D Consultant & Author

Networking break
Panel discussion: Turning awareness into action

The protection and health insurance industry is starting to take strides towards treating customers with a history of poor mental health more fairly. With awareness at all-time high, it is now time to put all this talk into action. With the FCA issuing guidance on vulnerable customers and consumers lacking trust when it comes to access to insurance and the payment claims, adviser and providers alike need to ensure their house is in order when it comes to being there for individuals at their time of need. On this panel, we explore how standards being improved and what the sector is doing to prepare the market for the challenges that lay ahead.

Dr Matt Connell, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Chartered Insurance Institute
Roshani Hewa, Assistant Director, Head of Protection & Health, Association of British Insurers
Katharine Moxham, Spokesperson Group Risk Development
Chair: Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

Closing keynote: Achieving Great Mental Health - A New Hope

Whilst mental health awareness is rising steadily, treatment options for those who suffer from mental illness hasn't changed in over half a century. During this presentation, drawing upon both his personal and professional experience, Matt will lift the lid on a new hope for treating mental ill health

Matt Janes, Neuroscience, Functional Medicine & Mental Health Practitioner

Chair's closing summary

Adam Saville, Editor, COVER

Conference close

Please note that this programme is subject to change


Director of Corporate Consulting
Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing
Head of Corporate and Consumer Sales
Punter Southall Aspire
Managing Director
Rose Capital Partners
Co-Founder & CEO
Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Chartered Insurance Institute
Organisational Psychologist and Ex-Mental Health Therapist
Mental Health Lead
Rehabilitation Manager
Coach, L&D Consultant & Author
Head of Protection Marketing & External Affairs
Assistant Director, Head of Protection & Health
Association of British Insurers
Commercial Director
Thrive Therapeutic Software
Protection Managing Director
Head of Workplace Wellbeing
Managing Director
Cura Financial Services
Wellbeing Consultant
Loveday Wellbeing
Associate Director
Cavendish Ware
Principal & Chartered Financial Planner
Aon Workplace Pensions & Financial Wellbeing
Group Risk Development (GRiD)
Associate Director for Advice, Information & Training
Mental Health UK
Senior Underwriter
Holloway Friendly
CEO & Founder
Mental Health in Business
Claims & Governance Director
Legal & General
Oakwood Training
Alea Risk
Strategy Director

2019 Highlights

Delegate Registration



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