Honing-In on Our Teams: People & Culture




We are here to support people throughout their careers at Honan! We help shape Honan’s culture through fair people management practices…and consistently look for new ways to develop and bring out the best in our people.



Charles Kettering, the famed inventor and Head of Research for GM, said: “a problem well-stated is half-solved.”

Our team approach is to be the learners, enablers, and value creators so that we can seek new ways to overcome challenges.






LinkedIn.  They are sophisticated operators who provide meaningful insights, all while keeping the customer experience at the centre of everything they do. The recruitment space has evolved considerably over the last 18 months and LinkedIn has provided access to powerful recruitment tools and the latest trends to help us find top talent using the platform.



  • We added 95 staff to our Honan family and promoted 43 staff internally.
  • Supercharged our talent strategy through welcoming our highly skilled Talent Advisor Stephanie, and strengthening our Employee Value Proposition with a huge Wellbeing focus.
  • Enhanced the overall Employee Experience, from recruiting, onboarding, and progressing our people remotely and on a global scale.



We are proud to be the team that represents Honan from the day people are first introduced to the Honan family.  We support people as they join the business and grow with the business.

Our team checks in with each other every day. We understand each other’s personal situation outside of work and we’re always willing to help each other out when we need a helping hand.



Zoë Foster Blake – Founder of Go-To Skincare, and all-around inspirational entrepreneur! She would contribute some amazingly creative ideas for engaging people, whilst leading others in achieving incredible success.



Being able to travel to our office locations again and see our people face-to-face. Our collaboration tools have kept the business connected, but we value and cherish our ability to Win Together!

We have an exciting year ahead on the technology front, with advancements to our applicant tracking system and HR system.  We will also be focused on finding efficiencies and further elevating our service to our people. 



Meet the Honan ProEx team here


UPDATE: Second Test Case Decision on COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims

Insurance Updates

In 2020, following the rejection of multiple Business Interruption claims brought by policyholders as a result of COVID-19, the Supreme Court of NSW delivered its judgment on the First Test Case on the issue of whether Business Interruption insurance policies extend cover relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. This test case concerned a specific point, namely whether the expression “other diseases declared to be quarantinable diseases under the Australian Quarantine Act 1908 and subsequent amendments” extended to ‘listed human diseases’ under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth). Many insurers had not updated their policies which referred to the repealed Quarantine Act 1908. This point is significant because most policies intending to provide business interruption insurance cover excluded such diseases. Insurers argued that the words “subsequent amendments” in the exclusion should be read as extending to the Biosecurity Act, and a reference to the Quarantine Act was a mistake that could be corrected when interpreting the contract. The Court of Appeal unanimously rejected both arguments, as outlined in our briefing from July 2021. The High Court refused leave to appeal and so that decision stands in NSW.


Crucially, however, the First Test Case did not deal with significant policy wording issues.   

A Second Test Case with ten claimants including a dry cleaner, travel agency, stage clothing and costing store, gym, dental practice, property landlord, beauty salon, and bar and restaurant businesses was heard in September 2021 to determine various issues, including:

      1. disease extensions where premises were not closed or evacuated as a result of an outbreak of a notifiable infectious or contagious disease occurring within a 20km radius;
      2. prevention of access clauses including where the clause requires a threat of damage to be within a 50km radius;
      3. listed human diseases exclusion within a 5km limit; and
      4. the proximity of an outbreak to a business.

Insurers also argued that Section 61A of the Victorian Property Law Act 1958 has the effect of substituting in the Biosecurity Act for the repealed Quarantine Act. The relevant section says that where an Act is “repealed and re-enacted”, references in contracts will be taken as referring to the new Act, meaning the former Quarantine Act was replaced by the Biosecurity Act. This argument enlivened the Quarantine Act issue but only for claims in Victoria.



On 8 October 2021, Justice Jagot of The Federal Court (NSW Registry) found in favour of insurers in nine out of ten cases presented (on the issues outlined above). The remaining case, case number NSD133/2021 – Insurance Australia Limited and Meridian Travel (Vic) Pty Ltd was determined in favour of the insured/s because of the unique way the relevant clause was worded in the policy document.

Specifically, Justice Jagot found the Victorian Property Law Act, being a State Act, did not apply to Commonwealth Acts, (the Quarantine Act and Biosecurity Act was/are Commonwealth Acts), and therefore insurers are not able to rely on that Victorian Act to argue the Biosecurity Act replaced the repealed Quarantine Act in relation to those claims where Insureds were affected in Victoria.



This second test case is not the final word from the Courts on BI cover for COVID-19 losses.

An appeal date has already been set for the second week of November 2021 and we will be closely monitoring the appeal so we can provide an update to our clients when that judgment is handed down.


Strata News

At Honan, we often receive queries from lot owners about what their strata insurance policy covers. For example: is water damage to the carpet in an apartment covered by the building insurance? Can a tenant’s damage to the front door of a property be claimed on the strata policy? Is a cracked glass cooktop covered by the Body Corporate policy? To help avoid duplicating insurance cover and identify risk exposures, this article looks at building and contents items for residential properties and outlines who is responsible for what – the Body Corporate, landlord/lot owner, or tenant.



The insurance that a Body Corporation takes out to cover the building, common property, and common area contents of the strata plan. In Australia, the Body Corporation must hold strata insurance that complies with the relevant state or territory legislative requirements.


As the old saying goes, if you turn the building upside down, what falls out is the contents, and what stays in is considered the building. While this is a fairly good rule of thumb, it is important to check the meaning of building as defined in the relevant strata legislation depending on where your building is situated. *See the relevant Act for your location at the end of this article.  For example, in Victoria The Owners Corporations Act 2006 states a building includes—

(a) a structure and part of a building or a structure; and

(b) walls, out-buildings, service installations and other appurtenances of a building; and

(c) a boat or a pontoon that is permanently moored or fixed to land.



Strata insurance typically covers the building, common property, and common area contents in the event of sudden/unforeseen accidental loss or damage.  In every case, coverage will depend on the cause of damage and if it is classed as an insurable event. A couple of examples are as follows:

  • Storm damage
  • Fire
  • Resultant water damage from a burst pipe/apparatus
  • Impact damage
  • Vandalism
  • Malicious damage
  • Theft

Each policy has exclusions, and as such, it is important to read and understand your insurer’s Policy Wording and Product Disclosure Statement. Some general exclusions across the market are (but are not limited to): wear & tear, corrosion, faulty workmanship, defect, and/or maintenance-related. Certain strata policies include an extension of cover for loss of rent/temporary accommodation to assist owners if their lot becomes inhabitable during an insurable event.



Strata insurance protects the Corporation against any third-party claims for personal injury and property damage.  Claims that arise inside the lot relating to damage to the contents and or liability are the property owner and tenants’ responsibility.

The lot owner is responsible for ensuring the lot is well maintained and safe for the tenant and their guests. Examples of claims arising from negligence by the lot owner include failing to repair a piece of carpet that has come loose resulting in the tenant or their guest sustaining an injury, and damage to a step or balustrade on the staircase, resulting in the tenant or their guest sustaining an injury. A tenant can be held responsible for failing to maintain a safe environment for anyone who may come onto the lot, such as failing to clean up a spill resulting in someone onsite slipping and injuring themselves. In most instances, the lot owner and tenant will both be brought into the claim until negligence is determined.

If you are found to be at fault and you do not have public liability insurance, you are responsible for the cost of defending the claim, damages awarded to the claimant, and the claimant’s legal costs.



How the lot is occupied will determine the type of contents insurance that best suits your needs. If you own and occupy the lot, a Householders Contents Only policy will be relevant to you, whereas if the lot is leased to tenants, a Landlords’ policy would be appropriate.   As a landlord, contents insurance covers your public liability inside the lot as well as the cost of repairing or replacing your possessions and furnishings such as carpets, blinds, whitegoods/ appliances not wired in.  The cover does not extend to the personal property of the tenant or their guests. If you live in a rental property, you can take out a Householder’s Contents policy.



Landlords not only need to consider how they protect their premises but also the income they receive from their tenants.  Landlords’ insurance provides the option to extend cover for Rental Loss.  The two types of covers are:

1. LOSS OF RENT is where an insured event occurs (e.g., burst pipe) and damage to the premises has rendered it uninhabitable.  This section will cover the lost rent until repairs are completed. 

2. RENT DEFAULT is where the tenant fails to pay rent in accordance with a rental agreement.  A claim can only be triggered once the Insured has taken all reasonable steps legally available, under the Residential Tenancies Act or other relevant legislation, to remedy non-payment and evict the tenant. 

When selecting Rent Default, it is important to refer to the policy conditions relating to the cover.  Most policies have a condition that requires a signed long-term lease agreement in place with the tenant and no rental arrears at the policy’s inception.  Undisclosed details which may increase the risk for the insurer may impact coverage. Failure to advise may result in the insurer refusing cover in the event of a claim.




We often receive questions about whether floating floors and air conditioning units are covered by strata or contents insurance.

Floating floors are generally considered a contents item. However, some strata insurers offer floating floors within the unit as optional coverage on the strata policy. For most insurers, floating floors are defined as laminated, veneered, or similar type flooring not fastened to the sub-floor but held in position by its own weight with or without skirting at perimeter walls.

Air conditioning units are classified on a case-by-case basis. Typically, if the air conditioning unit is a permanent fixture (i.e., ducted air conditioning), it is considered part of the building and would fall under the strata policy. However, In Queensland, air conditioning (fixed or mobile) is excluded from the strata policy. It is important to check the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Policy Wording to ensure that you are adequately covered. If you are unsure, we are happy to review your policy.



While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact its accuracy.   

Feel free to reach out to your local Honan Strata & Landlords team for more information.


Hannah Tormey

Client Manager


Natalie Bruce

Customer Service Team lead


* The definition of a ‘building’ varies depending on the location. See below for the definition in your state or territory:

SA – The Strata Titles Act 1988

QLD Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997

TAS – Strata Titles Act 1998

VIC – The Owners Corporations Act 2006

WA – Strata Titles Act 1985

ACT – Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011

NT – Unit Title Schemes Act 2017



Following the appointment of Poppy Foxton from Honan’s Head of Claims to Head of Corporate Insurance & Risk Solutions in July this year, we are thrilled to share further leadership updates regarding Honan’s Corporate Claims function and Risksmart, a subsidiary of Honan Insurance Group. It is with great pleasure that we announce the following internal promotions, effective October 1, 2021:



Maja Vujinovic has stepped into a newly created national role as Head of Risksmart. Since joining Honan five years ago, Maja has worked extensively across all lines of claims management. With a proven track record in leading teams and working closely with clients to deliver exemplary claims resolutions, Maja brings a growth mindset to the role. We are excited to see her expand the capabilities of the Risksmart business as we continue to focus on the evolving needs of our clients.

“Maja brings outstanding leadership capabilities and energy to the team. Her development and contributions to our claims offering have been inspiring to watch, leading with legal acumen, and advocating for our clients with a true ‘Honan Way’ commercial edge. Andrew Fluitsma – CEO, Honan.


Reflecting on her appointment, Maja told us:

“It’s been such an honour to work with clients, partners, and colleagues across all lines of insurance at Honan and be trusted to achieve the best outcomes on many complex claims over the years. I’ve seen both Honan and Risksmart grow significantly, and I am excited to see that growth continue, especially in my new role at Risksmart.” Maja Vujinovic – Head of Risksmart.





We are also pleased to announce Faramarz Ostowaris promotion to the newly created role of Head of CIRS Claims.  Faramarz has made a significant contribution to the evolution of Risksmart since joining in 2018 and has been an excellent mentor for his team. To his new role, Faramarz brings tremendous technical expertise and a strong focus on client advocacy, having consistently achieved positive outcomes for our clients on complex claims. We look forward to seeing Faramarz deliver outstanding value and outcomes for our corporate clients in the years to come.

“It is a privilege to call Faramarz a colleague. His experience and calmness under pressure have helped him deliver so many incredible outcomes for our clients. Faramarz truly represents everything we stand for at Honan and I have great faith in his ability to guide this team and continue to deliver exceptional results.” Andrew Fluitsma – CEO, Honan.


Discussing the opportunities ahead, Faramarz shared:

“Three years ago, I wasn’t just offered a role as a Claims Manager at Honan, I was given a gift of being part of an A-grade and truly dynamic organisation. I’ve loved every day and that allows me to give back to Honan, which naturally flows through to Honan clients. To now be promoted within Honan, feels as though every day at work is special. I am so excited about the future and feel privileged to be working with such an excellent crew of advocates. Faramarz Ostowari Head of CIRS Claims.



Please join us in congratulating Maja and Faramarz and we look forward to sharing highlights from both over the months ahead as they settle into their new roles.


HONAN ON THE MOVE: A Careers Spotlight Series – with Honan’s Shabab Maqsud



1. Welcome Shabab, and thanks for stepping into the Honan Careers Spotlight! First things first … as a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I wanted to be a pilot! Watching aeroplanes flying up in the sky used to amuse me as a child and I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a plane and travel to different parts of the world.


2. You’re currently the Head of Client Service – Global Benefits,  and an invaluable member of  Honan’s Global Benefits Team. What does this role entail? 

My role involves helping businesses protect their most important asset – their employees. I am responsible for supporting the overall growth and retention strategy of our business whilst ensuring we consistently deliver to a high standard and share the latest insights in this quickly evolving space with our clients and stakeholders. 


3. You’ve been in your current role for a few months now, but began your career with Honan as a Client Manager – Employee Benefits. Tell us a little about your journey at Honan – where it started, and how you’ve progressed through the business since day 1 …

My journey at Honan started as a Client Manager in Employee Benefits, where I was responsible for managing a portfolio of clients. Over the years, I took on more responsibilities outside my normal role, challenging some of the ways we approached problems by suggesting alternative ideas and remaining curious and proactive. This allowed me to work with different people and teams and further develop my understanding of the wider business.


4. Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

Having a strong educational background to match the relevant skills and technical expertise is extremely important in our line of business.

I moved to Australia from Bangladesh when I was 19 to study a Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie University. I was good at Commerce in high school, and I remember looking at photos on the internet of Sydney and how beautiful the city was. I knew I had to get myself here and Macquarie University was one of the best in Australia for international students. I successfully completed my studies there and I’m very fortunate to call this city home now.  

I also completed a Diploma of Financial Planning and an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning to kickstart my career in this field. 


5. What inspires/excites you most about the work you do each day? 

Honan has achieved significant growth and the potential for our continued evolution in the future is extremely motivating. Always looking for ways to improve and seizing the opportunities to contribute and help shape our future is what really excites me about my job.


6. In the scheme of career progression, what is one of the most challenging obstacles you’ve come up against? How did you overcome it?

At times, one of my biggest obstacles has been responding to things I’m not sure of by overcomplicating them in my mind, which can lead to self-doubt. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by great leaders in the business who I have approached in these moments. They have helped guide me in the right direction and encouraged me to back myself.


7. Noting career ‘success’ is often underpinned by leveraging strengths and superpowers … tell us, what’s one of yours?

My resilience is my biggest strength. I never give up!


8. Magic happens when organisational and personal purpose collide. What is it about Honan that keeps you coming back each day? 

I am a ‘people’ person and so finding the right culture and team was very important to me. At Honan I have found both. I work with very talented people who are incredible human beings, and they are definitely a key reason I come back each day!


9. If you could share one piece of ‘career’ advice with your younger self what would it be?

Be patient and remember to enjoy the journey.


10. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live tomorrow.” What’s next on your learning agenda?

I love helping my family, friends, and colleagues around me to become the best versions of themselves. I am interested to take this into the business world and learn how to lead and manage people in supporting the overall growth strategy of our business.



Discover more in the HONAN ON THE MOVE series

5 Essentials in Cyber Security


The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s annual Cyber Threat Report for FY21 makes for sobering reading, revealing 67,500 cybercrime reports were made in that year (a 13% YoY increase), and estimated to have cost Australians $33 billion. Following the report’s release, Honan hosted a cyber seminar with partners Clyde & Co., sharing the latest updates on the cyber risk landscape, practical strategies for managing the growing risks, as well as regulatory changes to data privacy, and upcoming legal reforms set to affect businesses. As emphasised in the seminar, no industry is immune from the impacts of cybercrime. Here are our key considerations for business leaders to keep in mind as they navigate the evolving situation:


1. Cyber insurance is critical

A robust cyber insurance policy works to complement existing IT security systems to protect your organisation against damages that can result from cyber attacks, data security breaches, and costs associated with response and recovery. While cyber insurance is an essential part of a business cyber security toolkit, it is not a standalone solution. Learn more about how cyber insurance can compliment your cyber security strategy here


2. Embed a tailored Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRP)

An effective CIRP is a framework designed to protect your business’ reputation, minimise losses, limit business disruption, and help businesses avoid common mistakes in the event of a cyber incident. This plan should be reviewed on an annual basis and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of relevant key staff. Critically, in the event of a security breach, if a board can demonstrate that 1) they were aware of a cybersecurity risk, and 2) that they activated a framework to mitigate that risk, it is less likely to risk breaching its fiduciary duties under both the Privacy and Corporations Acts. To find out more about developing a CIRP to meet your business’ needs, speak with your broker.


3. Understand your governance requirements

Changes in governance expectations, director liabilities, and regulatory reform is seeing business leaders place significantly more emphasis on their organisations’ cybersecurity and risk management strategies. Directors can be held responsible for not acting to progress a company’s cybersecurity framework and may be punished if they are found to have failed to ensure a company has an adequate cybersecurity risk management plan in force, not responded in a reasonable time frame to a known data breach or failed to respond altogether. You can read more about this in our simple summary.


4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a must

MFA is a method of electronic authentication that requires a user to provide at least two forms of identity verification before access is granted to a program, network, or system.  Ensure MFA is installed across all remote working systems for your business’ employees, contractors, and vendors. Learn more about MFA and password best practice in this guide.


5. Use a separate Virtual Private Network (VPN) for remote working

With hackers taking advantage of widespread remote working arrangements, it is more important than ever to ensure your staff use a separate VPN whenever they are working outside the office. This is vital for various reasons in preventing security breaches. It is equally important to notify your broker that these procedures have been implemented because this helps them to gain access to insurance capacity as a risk transfer solution for your business.




Click here to watch the Cyber Seminar Recording and enter the Passcode: HbK+7U7P

You can find out more about managing your business’ cyber security in our Cyber Capability Statement.


Ben Robinson

Placement Manager – Professional & Executive Risks



Strata News

In the wake of three earthquakes across Victoria’s north-east on September 22, 2021, property damage in Melbourne and regional Victoria has added an additional level of complexity following the State’s two-week construction shut down announced on 21 September. Under the shut down, any projects that are not considered an emergency or essential (specifically, all unoccupied lots) will be placed on hold for two weeks*.

*If you believe any of your jobs fall within this emergency/essential category or have any specific questions on a project, please feel free to reach out to Kieran Drum or Tracy Woolley directly (details below).



In terms of responding to emergencies, such as damage caused by the September 22 earthquake, our building and repairs partners are ready to respond. You can either contact your Honan Insurance broker to arrange this or contact a make-safe partner (details below). Regardless, please be sure to contact your Honan Insurance broker or the Honan Helpdesk.

Most policies for Commercial, Residential, and Strata buildings will specify that Damage must occur within 72 hours of the earthquake.



For claims relating to other damage caused by the earthquake, please check your policy for information about the excess, as an additional excess may be applied for an earthquake. Alternatively, please speak with your Honan claims advocate or Honan Insurance broker.


Standard Earthquake Excesses for Strata properties (policies may vary so please check your schedule and PDS wording): 


**We have reached out to key insurers and underwriters for confirmation around their residential earthquake excesses, but Policy Wordings for both simply refer to what is noted on the policy schedule.



Honan was advised that due to the earthquake, some insurers implemented an embargo for all of Victoria effective September 22, 2021. As of September 23, 2021, Honan has been advised that the temporary embargo has been lifted. If you continue to have difficulty accessing insurance cover for risks/policies incepting due to the earthquake, please reach out to your Honan Insurance broker or the Honan Helpdesk. Note that the terminology of the temporary “embargo” related to quotes and new business to selected insurer(s) and underwriting agencies on the day of the earthquake (22 September 2021).



Make Safe Partners & Emergency Repairs

Johns Lyng Group

1300 736 000

E stratanewclaims@johnslyng.com.au


Crawford’s Contractor Connection

1300 729 239



Honan Claims Helpdesk:

E claims@honan.com.au  Ph: 03 9947 4333

Tracy Woolley, VIC Claims Team Leader

Maja Vujinovic, Head of Claims – maja.vujinovic@honan.com.au

Kieran Drum, Head of Strata – kieran.drum@honan.com.au


Meet our Head of Client & Operations | Honan Life Insurance Group – Katherine Beards


Katherine Beards – Head of Client & Operations | Honan Life Insurance Group

Office: Melbourne

Joined Honan: July 2016



A quote capturing your approach to your role

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson


Tell us about yourself

Before joining the Honan family, I worked in Superannuation for 5 or so years. There is a lot of cross-over between these areas, so the switch to life insurance was fairly seamless. A personal experience made it abundantly clear to me the importance of having an adequate personal insurance safety net in place. This first-hand experience is where my passion stems from.

Outside of work, I have a wonderful husband and two young boys who love basketball. You can usually find us having a game of 2v2 at the local courts on the weekend. I’ve also recently completed a Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning) which I’ve been working on part-time for the past 5 years, and I am thrilled to have achieved that!


What does the Head of Client & Operations do?

Together with the broader team, I work with Honan Life’s financial advisers to ensure our processes are efficient and our compliance requirements are met. This involves overseeing the underwriting and implementation process and making sure all advice documentation reaches our clients in a compliant manner. I am responsible for the relationships we have with the insurers, which allows us to continue to deliver quality advice and outcomes to our clients.


What are the 3 things you find most motivating about your role?

Having clients walk away in a better position than when they first came to us. This could mean saving on premiums or having a well-rounded, more comprehensive insurance portfolio to support them.

Genuinely making a difference for our clients during times of vulnerability. We see this firsthand when a claim is paid out. The sense of pride that follows when the financial pressure is alleviated for a client (allowing them to focus on their recovery), is a true privilege.

We have such a close-knit team with a wealth of experience, as well as a vibrant and positive culture, so every day is different!


At Honan, our values form the foundations of our unique culture. What is your biggest learning from your time at Honan Life?

It’s refreshing to work for a company where our clients are at the forefront of everything we do. The drive to do better for our clients makes me incredibly proud to work at Honan.


Your core focus for the year ahead at Honan Life?

Empowering our team with additional tools and knowledge to further enhance our capabilities. I’ll also be focused on fine-tuning our operational efficiency, resulting in better outcomes for our clients.


Recommended further reading / a great online resources/a podcast?

The Smiling Mind App is an excellent resource to have on hand for quick and easy meditation and mindfulness exercises.


Meet our Operations Manager, Underwriting Facilities & Strata – Matthew Henderson


Mental Fitness: How to Unlock Your Potential in Times of Stress

We’ve never shied from conversations on mental health at Honan, but with much of Australia and South East Asia experiencing lockdowns or restrictions due to COVID, our company-wide Mental Fitness Workshop with leading psychologist and Head of Mental Health & Wellbeing at St Kilda Football Club (SKFC), Dr. Ben Robbins was timely to say the least!

Including powerful insights about mindset, stress, and anxiety, Dr. Ben shared practical tips and techniques for navigating everyday life, which you can apply, regardless of your occupation. Here are the top takeaways from Dr. Ben:


1. We are currently spending a lot of time in fight/flight mode

While useful in survival situations, our fight/flight response is often experienced as anxiety in the modern day. For example, running late, receiving an unpleasant email, public speaking, the unique stresses of working from home can all activate this response. With all our attention going to that perceived threat, it can be difficult to think clearly, make decisions, and behave in line with our values.

Dr. Ben explained that our default fight/flight response activates what he calls the ‘red brain’ (the amygdala). He used the example of a player responding to a poor decision by an umpire with frustration and anger. Reacting to a perceived threat with our red brain like this can lead to decisions and actions that we would not make in a calm and more balanced state. Being caught in this cycle takes us out of the present moment and it can trigger negative self-talk, rumination, and even depression. Living in this headspace does not allow us to perform to our potential.


2. Tap into your ‘blue brain’

In contrast to the ‘red brain’ is what Ben calls the ‘blue brain’ (predominantly the frontal cortex). This part of our brain helps us make rational and balanced decisions and actions. When we activate our blue brain, we are calm and present. This practice of mindfulness can help us manage our environment and stress.


3. Make everyday activities mindful

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of openness and curiosity, not judgement. Each day, we have opportunities to practice informal mindfulness, such as stopping to taste a cup of coffee, paying attention to the feeling of water on your skin whilst having a shower, or going for a walk and noticing your surroundings.


4. Meditation: the tool to accessing mindfulness

Meditation is not about clearing your mind, instead, it’s about creating space, clarity, and awareness around your thoughts. It’s natural for our minds to wander, however, through practice we become better at noticing this and re-orienting our attention to the present. In fact, through repeated meditation practice our brains physically change. To illustrate, Dr. Ben used the example of learning to drive. When we first learn to drive, it takes all our concentration and effort, but in time and through repetition, we build and strengthen these neural pathways and it becomes easier. It’s the same with meditation!

To help, Dr. Ben recommends trying a mindfulness meditation application such as Calm or Smiling Mind.


Honan is the proud naming rights partner of SKFC’s Business networking group, STK Business. Our staff were greatly appreciative to have had access to Dr. Ben for this insightful workshop.

Reducing Your Insurance Premium: Commercial Property & Strata

Strata News

Many industries and sectors are feeling the force of the hardening insurance market as premiums continue to rise, with both privately owned and strata registered commercial and industrial properties among the most impacted. This article explains what is fuelling the premium increases, how different risks are assessed/priced, and steps to make your risk profile more appealing to insurers.



First, it is important to understand the market forces at play. The lower premiums collected in the prior soft market (where insurance was relatively cheap and plentiful) means insurers have suffered underwriting losses where claims paid are similar to or higher than the premium collected.

Making matters worse, property losses have continued to grow, as evidenced by recent flood, bushfire, hail/storm, and cyclone losses. With such large catastrophic losses across the globe, the cost of purchasing reinsurance (insurance for insurers) rises. In turn, insurers raise their premium rates and become more selective in their underwriting guidelines to regain profitability.

Right now, commercial property premium increases are trending between 15-20% for commercial strata, between 5-10% for non-strata commercial buildings, and increases can be upwards of 20% for industrial buildings. Changes in risk information, hazard or high-risk occupants, and poor claims history can push these rates even higher.



The hardening market is driving insurance rate increases and restricting appetite to underwrite commercial/industrial risks.  Many insurers who could previously write high-risk commercial and industrial buildings have experienced a significant influx of claims. As a result, they have adopted a more conservative approach and are re-evaluating their risk appetite/rates to reduce their overall exposure. Consequently, underwriters are either not offering renewal or applying large rate increases and additional excesses/deductibles.

Tenants and Occupiers are a major factor in insurers’ risk assessments, in combination with the construction material and fire safety measures in place at the property (see Figure 1). COVID-19 has contributed to a surge in the volume of premises left vacant and unoccupied for an extended period. As shown in figure 1, underwriters view unoccupied lots as more likely to incur malicious damage and theft.

There are now fewer Insurers in the high hazard commercial property market and those remaining have narrower risk appetites. Over the last five years, three strata insurers and at least three specialist property insurers have exited or significantly reduced their exposure to commercial property risks. Reduced competition limits the “capacity” or amount of risk each insurer is willing to hold in any one risk or location. This is particularly evident for hard-to-place risks, such as properties in alpine regions, where there are far fewer insurers prepared to offer terms. Further, if the sum insured is above approximately $5 million, those same insurers may not be able to write 100% of that risk. In turn, the request for a quote may be declined, or sometimes, multiple underwriting agencies will need to insure a percentage of the risk.



The chart below shows how risks are typically viewed by insurers, with the greater risks most likely to attract higher premiums. 

Figure 1:





Insurers appreciate owners that are proactive in their approach to risk mitigation. It instills confidence that the property owner or manager is overseeing and limiting risk effectively. Here are our tips on how to make your property more attractive to insurers:

  • Property maintenance: Make sure a maintenance plan is in place and always adhered to. It is prudent to have an annual preventative maintenance budget for the property.  This allows urgent repairs and proactive maintenance to be carried out. A professional property manager can assist by overseeing the maintenance fund and engaging with industry experts to maintain the property.


  • Fire safety upgrades: Ensuring you are meeting your mandatory council fire safety obligations is a must, however, going beyond the minimum requirements is encouraged by insurers. If the property is leased, ensure the tenants have adopted best fire and safety practices for their industry.


  • Engage a risk engineer/surveyor: A professional risk engineer can identify hazards and provide recommendations to improve the property’s risk profile. They provide feedback on fire protection, storage suggestions, maintenance, and overall best practice to minimise risk and liabilities.


  • Keep your broker updated: Inform your broker about any enhancements or steps taken to reduce risk at the property. This can be done at any stage but will be most beneficial leading into renewal. This information will assist the broker in their negotiations of terms with both the holding underwriter and alternate markets.




Chris Glass

State Manager – QLD



Teighan Carr

Client Manager





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