We welcome Eliza White as Director of Operations – Asia

We welcome Eliza White as Director of Operations – Asia to the Honan team. Eliza will be based in regional head office in Singapore.

Eliza joins us from Starr International, bringing with her a strong broker background and experience in risk insurance, underwriting (specialising in the energy and risk sectors), management, analytics, and global insurance.

Eliza’s appointment marks another important step in our strategic aspirations in Asia-Pacific and will help drive our continued growth and momentum.

Changes in legislation needed to fix the NSW construction industry

Construction
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.

Déjà vu? Once again, another Sydney apartment block has been evacuated due to observed structural cracking in the building’s underground car park. Mascot Towers, a 131-unit complex at No. 1 Bourke St Mascot was evacuated last Friday evening (14 June) with residents given short notice to vacate their apartments. On Tuesday, there was still no advice on when residents would be able to return to their homes permanently. This follows on from the dramatic Christmas Eve (2018) evacuation of Sydney Olympic Park’s Opal Tower.

The cause of the cracking in Mascot Towers is yet to be determined, and alleged possible causes may include neighbouring construction work or the original design and construction 10-years ago. Mascot Towers was constructed over 10-years ago, meaning that any building defects will not be covered by building warranty insurance (referred to as Home Builders Compensation in NSW), leaving the unit owners to pay for the repairs. If the neighbouring construction project is to blame, then a lengthy legal battle may occur regarding various other insurance covers.

Currently, NSW law states that future owners of a property are covered for the statutory warranty period–six years for major defects in the work and two years for other losses from the date of completion of work. With many building defects appearing after the six-year statutory warranty period, there is a need for major changes to be made to NSW laws to protect property owners buying off a plan or buying buildings younger than 10-years old that were poorly built.

The strata industry and Strata Community Association (SCA) will continue to advocate for change and encourage the government to further regulated the relaxed approach to building completion sign off and hold the construction industry to account for faulty work.

In February of last year, the NSW Government[1] told the COAG meeting that it would introduce new legislation to improve consumer protection if they won the next election, these included:

–    Builders needing to sign off that building was constructed in accord with certified plans

–    Allowing Owners Corporations to litigate for negligence if building code was not carried out

This new legislation is still to be introduced, and many people in strata see this legislation as not being tough enough on the construction industry who are accountable for this issue. With research finding that 72-85% [2] of owner’s corporations identifying major defects in their buildings, it is important that strata managers and the SCA continue to do what they can to influence the federal and state governments into reforming legislation as soon as possible.

[1] https://aib.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/NSW-Government-Media-Release-2.pdf

[2] https://cityfutures.be.unsw.edu.au/research/projects/defects-strata/

Self-Licensing in the Financial Services sector

Financial

In the wake of the Royal Commission there has been a trend towards self-licensing in the financial services space.  Insurers are now looking upon these independent self-licensed Insureds more favourably than those affiliated to a dealer group because of the perceived conflict of interest issues associated with vertically integrated business models. 

 

A follow-on effect of this independence has been an increase in AFSL applications, and with these applications greater licencing scrutiny post the Royal Commission landscape.  The review has essentially resulted in a raising of the bar for minimum standards, with less than half of these applications now being approved.   

 

Over the same period a greater proportion of AFSLs and ACLs were cancelled at the initiation of ASIC.   Insurers have welcomed this tougher regulatory approach given the more stringent hurdles these new independent licence holders need to go through.  In addition to this, accounts with a strict fee for service remuneration structure with minimal exposure to grand fathered trail commissions have been a welcome addition to most insurer portfolios.

Your IT security software may not protect you from every cyber risk

Industry

Cyber breaches are unfortunately becoming more common in Australia, with organisations needing to become more vigilant when it comes to protecting their balance sheet and the reputational damage that can be caused by a cyber breach.

ASX-listed property valuation firm Landmark White experienced were made aware of a cyber breach in February of this year, forcing the company into a trading halt.

The company expects to lose up to $7m in revenue as a result of the breach, costing the CEO Chris Coonan his job as he was forced to resign. The company resumed trading in May, where the share price has tumbled from $0.43 down to $0.26.

This case is a timely reminder that companies cannot afford to rely solely on their IT security software in this era of cybercrime. For complete protection, companies need to look towards their insurance broker for guidance on how to manage their cyber risk.

For more information, please feel free to contact Dan McCallum at dan.mccallum@honan.com.au or on +61 499 799 131

Source: IT News, https://www.itnews.com.au/news/massive-data-breach-costs-valuer-landmark-white-7m-524716

Tougher penalties for Privacy Act breaches

Financial

Are you protected?

It has now been over a year since the amendments to the Privacy Act were introduced, requiring companies to voluntarily notify any breaches to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

In a swift follow-up from this at the end of March, Attorney-General, The Hon Christian Porter MP, announced the government’s intention to introduce even tougher penalties, as follows:

  • Penalties increased from $2.1m to $10m for serious or repeated breaches.
  • Providing the OAIC with the infringement notice powers, up to $63,000 for body corporates and $12,600 for individuals who fail to cooperate.
  • Introduce requirements for breaches to be addressed by third party audits, to ensure those directly affected are advised.
  • Require social media and online platforms to stop using or disclosing an individual’s personal information upon request.
  • Introductions of specific rules to protect the personal information of children and other vulnerable groups.

The Privacy Act amendments have forced Company Directors to become more digitally literate and cyber aware, however with the ever-changing nature of cyber risks, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Directors to keep up.

Protection

With these changes it is now more important than ever that every company manage their cyber risk through a robust insurance program, designed to protect not only your company’s balance sheet from significant first and third-party losses and fines, but also from the reputational damage that can be caused.

To manage your company’s Cyber Risk, contact Dan McCallum at dan.mccallum@honan.com.au or +61 499 799 131.

Sources: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media/Pages/Tougher-penalties-to-keep-australians-safe-online-19.aspx

Honan Insurance Group Pty Ltd (Honan) holds an Australian Financial Services License 246749. Honan is not an insurance company, rather an insurance broker acting on behalf of our client. Where we act under a binder (as the insurer’s agent) we will notify you. This article contains general information only and is not advice. Before considering an insurance product you must read the Honan Financial Services Guide and relevant Product Disclosure Statement. 

 

Honan hosts the inaugural WBN Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Singapore

SINGAPORE

Honan were honoured to have hosted the launch of the WBN Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Singapore on Sunday 10 February 2019. This year marks the inaugural launch of the annual conference, aimed to bring global partners of the network together to strategise on synergies of service.

This year’s theme was Navigating the Network, where the delegates explored trends, turning points and topics across the insurance and broker markets within the region.

On behalf of WBN, we’d like to thank our sponsors.

  • AIG
  • Zurich
  • Lloyd’s of London (Asia)
  • Beazley Group
  • Aviva
  • AXA
  • CHUBB
  • Liberty International Underwriters

We look forward to the next conference!

Photo from left to right: Tony McHarg from AIG, Francie Starnes from WBN and Damien Honan.

Growth of our Sydney Strata division

Strata News

At Honan, we’re passionate about creating a genuine difference for our clients, so we’re proud to welcome three new talented members to our Sydney Strata team.

Clem Lwin is one of the most respected brokers in Strata in Sydney and joins us with an overwhelming reputation for customer service and relationship management. Clem’s experience in insurance spans across almost two decades. Clem steps into the National Client Manager role.

Paul Monsalve joins us as Client Executive and will be responsible for managing a number of client relationships within the portfolio. Paul’s existing client feedback across his ten years experience is a testament to his work ethic, commitment and dedication in placing clients first.

Nicole Fairlamb joins the team as Service Executive, with 5 years of prior Strata broking experience. Nicole brings with her a wealth of experience in supporting clients and providing technical support to brokers through day-to-day operations. Nicole is known for her customer service and delivery and will be an excellent asset to our Sydney team.

Finally, we welcome back Shelley Thompson, who has returned from maternity leave!

We look forward to supporting the momentum behind the team as we continue to see our Strata team grow from strength to strength.

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