Rethinking Employee Well-being Programs for a 2020+ World

Employee Benefits

The way we work has evolved considerably over recent years. In the face of exponential automation and digitisation, ‘the future of work’ can appear daunting, but if recent months have shown us anything, it’s the capacity for humans to adapt in response to change.

Though workplaces are potentially more disparate than ever in 2020, technology has enabled individuals, teams and organisations to connect, collaborate and achieve great things. Alongside this ‘Working From Home’ era, relationships between employer and employee have been redefined and businesses have been challenged to prioritise the health and wellness of their people like never before. Here are the key trends in employee experience we expect to see in the months and years ahead:


1. Employee Experience as Key Enabler of Organisational Performance

Major changes to the conditions and environments under which employees work has pushed organisations to take a truly holistic approach to their employee experience. The link between employee well-being and organisational performance has certainly never been more glaring. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 94% of respondents agreed that well-being drives organisational performance to some extent (1).  Offering robust wellness programs, by including areas such as EAP support, health screens, mental health and resilience coaching, nutrition consultation, yoga and meditation workshops, financial and property health checks, and more, is now understood as critical to the achievement of bottom line organisational goals.


2. Employee experience as the key to talent acquisition & retention

Prioritising the holistic health, well-being and fulfillment of its people demonstrates an organisation’s considered investment in the future of the organisation at large. Valuable people investments and support systems also assist with the attraction and retention of talent and help organisations differentiate themselves to employees in an era where organisational trust and connection is essential for productivity. The same publication by Deloitte outlines how organisations can invest in employee benefits and wellness initiatives to not only enhance productivity and organisational performance, but drive the creation of meaningful work, which in turn strengthens the relationship between the individual and the organisation.


3. Employee experience – an overdue shake-up?

With stress, anxiety and mental health challenges at historic heights across Australia, organisations are strength-testing their wellness strategies with an urgency previously unseen. Will their systems and processes adequately meet the changing needs of their workforces in 2020, into 2021 and beyond?

We reached out to Ed Cha from California-based ABD Insurance & Financial Services for his insights on high priorities in Employee Benefits now and into the future. Aside from a continued focus on employee mental health and access to virtual health services, Cha expects to see wellness programs embrace gamification, enabling remote employees to socialise and compete (e.g. for the highest number of steps taken or logging the number of activities in a day). Cha also anticipates more benefits programs will incorporate virtual coaching options for employee self-development.

While not without considerable effort, reshaping Employee Benefits for this ‘Working From Home’ era represents an opportunity to transform the future of work – one marked by a truly people, rather than profit, led approach. Empowering employees to tailor benefits programs to their unique physical, mental, professional and financial goals could produce more engaged and productive employees, and better corporate results.


We’re with you all the way

As we continue to challenge existing assumptions about the way organisations should operate and perform, it is a timely opportunity to discuss broader corporate strategies which can enhance employee engagement and drive productivity and results. We will continue to monitor the research and discussions in this space and be sure to keep you updated.

To find out how Honan can support you, your people and organisation with a future-fit approach to Employee Benefits, please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time.


Alexandra Slimming – Head of Global Benefits

+61  2 8297 1753

Employee Benefits Packages & COVID-19: Important insights for business

Employee Benefits

COVID-19 is challenging us all like never before. For leaders, balancing the interests of their people with long term business viability is a major challenge, and one bringing considerable disruption to daily operations.

Through times like the present, a robust employee benefits program truly comes into its own. Not only do employee benefits packages offer financial security to businesses and their people, but peace of mind. To this rings true, the particulars of benefits programs must be clearly communicated to all employees through COVID-19. 


In the following article, we step through common cornerstones of employee benefit packages (EBP), and how they’re likely to be impacted through COVID-19.


Private Health Insurance

Firstly – there is no specific pandemic exclusion for private health insurance in Australia. This is a major win, which should be communicated upfront to all employees with private health insurance included in their EBP. 

As usual, waiting periods may apply for employees who have taken out private health for the first time in the last 12 months – be sure to alert any program ‘newbies’ accordingly. 

Health insurance premiums in Australia are typically reviewed each year on 1 April, however major local health insurers such as BUPA, GU Health and NIB have announced that rises initially slated for 1 April 2020 rollout will now be delayed for six months. No action is required from existing policy holders on this front.


What about Telehealth?

The Federal Government has also announced increased capacity of Telehealth Services as a means to  connect more Australians to essential health services (doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals including mental health), and in turn, greater protection for those most vulnerable in our community. This service is funded by Medicare – Australia’s Government funded public health system. 

Further information on Telehealth services can be downloaded from the Department of Health website.


Life and Group Income Protection Insurance 

General speaking, company-funded Life and Group Income Protection Insurance policies do not have a specific pandemic exclusion. The Financial Services Council of Australia has announced that no specific pandemic exclusion exists on life insurance policies taken out prior to 11 March 2020. Thus, any claims from pre-existing customers will be treated in accordance with their policy terms and conditions.

For new policies purchased post March 11, some underwriting implications may arise for Life and Disability Cover, especially for those employee groups who are considered high risk. 

In addition to the above, Group Income Protection policies generally have a waiting period of 30 days or more. With COVID-19 patients typically recovering within 14 days, a policy holder is therefore unlikely to have a COVID-19 related claim paid under Group Income Protection if they return to work within the standard 30 day waiting period. However, the claimant may be eligible if they are still unwell and unable to return to work once they have satisfied their relevant waiting period. We recommend contacting your insurance broker and provider to clarify the semantics of your policy through COVID-19. 



The Australian Government has confirmed that employees facing financial hardship due to loss of employment or reduced income may be able to withdraw up to $20,000 over the next two financial years without any tax implications. Employees will need to meet certain eligibility criteria as stipulated by the Australian Taxation Office, in order to qualify for such drawdowns.


Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Employees should be encouraged to utilise company sponsored EAPs to guide and support them through COVID-19 and beyond. With the vast majority of employees experiencing changes to working hours, income levels, places of work and business operations at large, stress and anxiety is high. EAP programs offer invaluable access to qualified professional counsellors for work and personal matters alike. Consultations can be carried out via phone or video calls in line with social distancing protocols during this time.


With you all the way

At Honan, we understand the power of holistic employee benefit schemes, and the exceptional value they can offer your organisation during this global pandemic and broader economic crisis. 

With deep expertise in employee benefits solutions, we’re well versed in collaborating with clients to navigate the ever-changing complexities of today’s workplace. Attracting and retaining top quality talent should be one of your company’s most competitive edges, and we love nothing more than supporting organisations – of all shapes, specialities and locations – to ensure this is so. 

We’d love to hear from you.


Shabab Maqsud – Account Manager – Employee Benefits 

+61 427 177 653


Michael Atta – Head of Sales– Employee Benefits 

+61 427 177 653

COVID-19: Business Interruption, Contingency and Workplace Risk


On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the Coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. We sympathise with everyone who has been impacted by the virus and Honan Insurance Group have implemented additional resources and contingency planning to ensure that we remain able to provide advice, insurance and support to our clients as the situation develops.


As the impact of COVID-19 on local and international economies continues to evolve, we highlight to all clients the need for management to consider financial, strategic and business risks to operations. In this article, we examine the key areas we have received the most queries about: Property and Business Interruption, Business Contingency and Workplace Risk.


Industrial Special Risks* (Property and Business Interruption) Insurance & COVID-19 

(Potential Policy Response under ISR Mark IV Policy)

It is expected that many businesses will suffer disruption as a result of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   With the situation changing rapidly and restrictions on the movement and gathering of people (both at local level and internationally), there is no doubt many companies will suffer from loss of revenue and/or additional expense.


Property Damage

Generally, property policies (including office risks) cover physical loss, destruction or damage to insured property resulting from a covered peril (all risks).  In the case of the Coronavirus, the ISR (Mark IV) policy exclusion 4(a) excludes physical loss destruction or damage occasioned by or happening through disease.  Office-related risks also have very similar exclusions. The ISR policy can include a myriad of endorsements with some coverage writebacks for costs to clean-up a site (where required by order of a public authority), however, this would need to be reviewed on a case by case basis.


Business Interruption

An ISR insurance policy extends to include under Section 2 coverage for business interruption.  This cover traditionally applies only to interruption caused by an insured material damage event such as fire, storm, impact or accidental damage.

In addition, cover is extended to include closure of the business by public authority for several risks including human infectious or contagious diseases.   This coverage was designed to cover events such as an outbreak of Legionnaires disease or measles which could affect one or two buildings and a small number of businesses.  Some ISR policies can extend to provide coverage for outbreaks in a 20-50km radius from the insured location.

Specifically, in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ISR policy contains a specific exclusion for loss resulting from interruption of or interference directly or indirectly arising from or in connection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Humans or any other diseases declared to be quarantinable diseases under the Quarantine Act 1908 and subsequent amendments.

Following the H5N1 virus (avian influenza) outbreak in 2006 and the H1N1 virus (swine influenza) outbreak in 2009, insurers adopted this exclusion as a market standard position in Australia.

The Australian Quarantine Act 1908 was replaced by the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act in 2015.  COVID-19 was added to the Act as a listed (quarantinable) human disease on 21 January 2020, under Biosecurity (Listed Human Diseases) Amendment Determination 2020 (Cth) F2020L00037.


Listed Human Diseases under the Act are thus now:

  • Human influenza with pandemic potential
  • Plague
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome
  • Smallpox
  • Viral haemorrhagic fevers
  • Yellow Fever
  • Human Coronavirus with pandemic potential

As a result of the above, the business interruption section of your insurance will not provide cover for COVID-19 disruptions. As with any other threat it is important to consider what risk management measures you can introduce to mitigate the risk to your staff, customers and business.


Risk Management Tips: How to avoid infection

Here is a short list of ways to minimise the spread of Coronavirus

  • Practice good personal hygiene.
  • Avoid contact with anyone with or suspected of having Coronavirus.
  • Boost your immune system by eating well, exercising, having enough sleep, and keeping your stress levels under control.
  • Cancel or delay any travel until the crisis is over.


Recommended Actions for your organisation:

  • Implement a home quarantine regime for anyone that has travelled to an infected country or is likely to have been in contact with someone infected with Coronavirus.
  • Review and update if necessary human resource (‘HR’) policies on fitness for work including possible quarantining of employees and formalising the requirement for employees to remain off work if affected.
  • Consider or extending flexible working arrangements to reduce the likelihood of the spread of the virus in the workplace or the community.
  • Update travel rules and arrangements limiting non-essential business travel.
  • If not already in place, provide sanitized hand washing stations for use by staff and visitors.
  • Review arrangements for workplace hygiene and cleaning protocols including “cough and sneeze” etiquette.
  • Protect the mental wellbeing of employees concerned about the Coronavirus.
  • Ensure clear and honest communication to employees on their welfare.


Keep Informed

Everyone should remain alert for updates and advice from the relevant authorities on additional steps to manage the spread of the disease. The health department in each state is providing excellent resources and advice and regular updates. Before travelling, check for and take the advice of any travel warnings on


Business Continuity Management Planning

A pandemic is just one risk facing modern organisations.   Having a fully documented and exercised business continuity management plan is important for every business.  Honan has resources to assist you in developing a business continuity plan and please speak to your Client Manager for further information.

*Property/Office/Business Interruption


Business Contingency

The Coronavirus may impact revenue for businesses through:

  • Production slowdown & disruption to workforce (sick or quarantined employees)
  • Disruption to Supply chains and supplier services
  • Decrease (or increase) in demand for stock
  • Large scale closures of consumer markets and public spaces due to quarantine
  • Delays in customers paying outstanding invoices within normal trading terms
  • Economic slowdown on global and local scale


Whilst there is coverage available under Corporate and Business Travel insurance policies in certain circumstances, there is limited cover available under most standard General Insurance policies for loss of trade and interruption to business operations.

As a general rule, it is not viable for most insurance markets and products to cover “global pandemics” as an insurable event. This is because the financial impacts of a pandemic are not quantifiable, meaning risk cannot be priced accurately or sustainably by insurers. If you do suffer a loss, please contact our team to discuss the specific circumstances and how your policy may respond.

Whilst insurance cover availability may be limited, businesses can prepare.  We would strongly recommend formation of a working committee to evaluate the impact to business as conditions continue to evolve, with accountability to the board or executive team.


Considerations for a COVID-19 working group should include:

  • Review of policies, procedures and protocols in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees and prevent further risk of spread of COVID-19 within the workforce and community.
  • Assess venerability of IT Infrastructure (including stress-testing) for an organisation’s ‘Work from Home’ capabilities in the event of premises closure/staff quarantine
  • Consider the impact on supplier and customer contracts to meet delivery/service obligations from both parties (how Contractual Penalties & Force Majeure clauses may be applied)
  • Evaluation of possible supply chain disruptions and how these can be mitigated or bypassed through appropriate work arounds and contingency planning
  • Evaluation and stress testing of stock levels and planning for inventory shortage as supply from China recommences operations
  • Review ability to support alternative revenue streams that are not as severely impacted by COVID-19
  • Review communications with key customers and other stakeholders to maintain relationships and manage challenges in a sensible, commercial & collaborative manner
  • Review credit and debt facilities to ensure that cash is available in the short term to manage financial impacts and support increased business restart
  • Communicate with creditors if a reduction in revenue has the potential to impact on cash flow and financial obligations.



Workplace Risk: Workers’ Compensation and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There has been much discussion around the exposure and potential liability under Workers’ Compensation should an employee or contractor contract Coronavirus.

As outlined by Safe Work Australia (2020), Workers’ Compensation arrangements differ across schemes, however there are common threshold requirements that would apply in the case of COVID-19:

  • that the worker is covered by the scheme, either as an employee or a deemed worker
  • that they have an injury, illness or disease of a kind covered by the scheme, and
  • that their injury, illness or disease arose out of, or in the course of, their employment.

Compared to work-related injuries, it is difficult to prove that a disease was contracted in, or caused by particular employment. In the case of a virus such as COVID-19, establishing the time and place of contraction may become increasingly hard. We have sought clarity from our legal partners and obtained publications from the governing state regulators. Their view is it will be challenging to prove workplace exposure to Coronavirus as questions will arise as to the exact time and place of contraction.

For coverage to exist, a determining authority would need to be satisfied that the employment significantly contributed to the employee contracting the virus. For viruses, it can be difficult to accurately determine the exact time and place of transmission. As a result, it may be difficult to determine that employment significantly contributed to the virus.

However, where an employee’s employment puts them at greater risk of contracting the virus the significant contribution test may be easier to meet. For example, if the employment involves:

  • travel to an area with a known viral outbreak
  • activities that include engagement or interaction with people who have contracted the virus
  • activities that contravene Department of Health recommendations.

Each workplace illness would need to be considered on its individual merits, having regard to the individual circumstances and evidence in relation to the claim. More information is available here: Comcare Australia.

Deeming an illness or disease as work related and unique to the workplace may require court intervention to distinguish medical opinion from legal facts. There is no liability determination available to declare an illness or disease compensable or non-compensable; each case is determined on its own merits and circumstances.

Although you may not be able to eliminate the potential risk of employees contracting Coronavirus while carrying out work, you must do what is reasonably practicable to minimise the risk of employees contracting Coronavirus.


Coverage while travelling overseas for work

Any liability or workplace contribution applies to both employees working overseas and those working within Australia. Each case will be determined on its own merits and circumstances.

Note: For international employees engaged locally, state or country specific legislative conditions will apply. Queries should be directed to Honan. Depending on the state of urgency, travel restrictions and periods of self-isolation may need to be considered and communicated to all employees and contractors.


Employer Support

It is important that employers refer to internal policies and procedures to ensure measures for employee safety are in place. Honan has resources to actively advise on Workplace Risk exposure, as well as Legal and Work Health and Safety partners who can assist with ongoing management of this changing environment.


All companies will need to keep up to date in what is evolving environment.  Please see below some resources to do so:

Australian Government Department of Health

Safe Work Australia


McKinsey & Company have released a briefing paper (9th March 2020) which provides some insight into possible global economic impact as well as some common steps that can/need to be taken in preparation for businesses being affected and the formation of a working group: link here.

For any additional queries or concerns, please contact your Honan client manager.


*Property/Office/Business Interruption

The advice in this paper is general in nature. While the utmost care has been taken in the preparation of this preliminary advice or opinion, you use it at your own risk.

If you have difficulty reading and/or understanding the cover provided in the policy(ies) that you have please contact your Client Manager.

Expectation VS Reality – Employee Benefit Trends & How to Get Ahead in 2020

Employee Benefits
By Shabab Maqsud and Michael Atta
Honan Financial Services


Across sectors such as tech, corporate finance and Bio-Med, employee benefit schemes are now one of the most critical weapons in the talent attraction and retention arsenal. While many organisations have typically lent on narrative of ‘commercial success’, the talent game is changing. In today’s era, where technology has inextricably blended work and life like never before, employees are expecting far more than a secure bottom line from their employer.

Metlife’s recently published 2019 Employee Benefits Trend Study (EBTS)* – is extensive and insightful; not only revealing critical trends to be mindful of in 2020, but offering tactical guidance on how to recruit and retain talent in today’s increasingly competitive market.


At Honan, our Top 3 Takeaways from Metlife’s EBTS 2019 Report are: 

  1. UNDERSTAND YOUR PEOPLE: Key Benefit Trends
  2. PLAN: The Power of Purpose
  3. IMPLEMENT: Communication is Key



For organisations to thrive, employers must rethink how they are supporting the holistic experiences of their employees – both in the workplace, and outside of it.

Metlife’s insights revealed Flexible Work Arrangements (47%) to be the most desired benefit, which comes as no surprise thanks to ongoing digital innovations enabling us to work any time, anywhere.

This is closely followed by Training and Development (41%), and Additional Annual Leave (32%). Additional benefits in demand amongst Australians include Salary (44%), Positive Work Environment (44%) and Ongoing Training (43%).

Importantly, the ‘Must-Have’ employee benefits have the following in common: 

  • Allows employees to achieve personal and work-related goals
  • Addresses their main cause of stress – personal finance, retirement and family health.

Conventional benefits such as additional Employer Superannuation Contributions, Additional Personal Leave and Private Medical Insurance continue to be highly valued by employees; allowing them to save towards retirement goals and manage expenses. These perks, combined with supplemental benefits such as Life/TPD and Income Protection Insurance provides a financial safety net for the employees and offer peace of mind.

Whilst Life/TPD and Income Protection insurance are highly desired by employees, it was interesting to note that only 60% of those surveyed understand how such insurances work and the potential benefits they bring. Many employees believe their private health insurance will cover all their health-related expenses, and many fail to plan for out-of-pocket expenses including hospital excess, unexpected costs related to accident and disability, or consequences to loss of income on family and / or lifestyle.

Reviewing standard working hours, Australians poll higher than other OECD countries, and more than half (55%) of employees surveyed now feel stressed – particularly when it comes to personal finances and adequate funds for retirement. At the same time, 71% of employees agree that employers have a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their staff. Hence, there is an overwhelming expectation and responsibility on the employer to take care of their people.

ACTION POINT: Organisations can position themselves as an employer of choice by implementing a unique benefits program that spans a range of traditional and supplemental benefits. A truly differentiated Employee Benefits Scheme (EBS) will add value to employees’ personal and work related goals, and reduce major causes of stress.


2. PLAN – The Power of Purpose

As HR, leadership and high performance organisational research continues to show, addressing employee ‘purpose’ is one of the most powerful investments employers can make.

Employees engaged by an organisation with a clear and united sense of purpose are key allies of the firm. They are more productive, engaged, successful, and as a result, less stressed. We were fascinated to learn that while 93% of employees consider purpose as a ‘must have / nice to have’, only 68% actually feel a strong purpose when working.

But how do employees define ‘purpose’? Across various demographic profiles, the concept of purpose carries a vast array of meanings. For instance, all age groups are heavily focused on accomplishing their daily tasks as being purposeful, however younger generations (Gen Z – aged 18-22) lean toward work with a positive impact on society, while Baby Boomers (aged 53+) are more interested in creating ‘value’ for their employer.

ACTION POINT: The challenge for organisations is to drive a culture that fosters purpose across unique demographics, and furthermore, to communicate this to discrete employee segments. Acknowledging the exceptional value employees bring to their organisations is a great way to encourage a sense of purpose, however employers must also close the gap between what they believe they are doing to ensure employees are appreciated, versus employee expectations, and how employees actually feel.

Red Flag: In terms of employer benefit schemes, one of the largest employer-employee perception gaps exists where 36% of employers feel they are offering a comprehensive benefits package, while only 13% of employees feel the same way.

Blue: what employees think. Pink: what employers think. 


3. IMPLEMENT – Communication is Key

Open, ongoing and transparent communication between employer and employee is consistently exhibited by leading organisations. At Honan, our experience with a broad range of clients continues to support this insight. Communication is key – employee benefits play a critical role in allowing organisations and their employees to thrive, but in the absence of supporting internal communications (those carefully tailored to individual employees and teams), such schemes frequently fall flat.

While almost two-thirds (65%) of employees prefer to learn about their benefits through personalised consultations with their employer, most employers communicate through employee handbooks. At Honan, our Benefits Brokers can offer critical support in coordinating team briefings, one-on-one consultations and other proven frameworks to ensure Employee Benefit Scheme (EBS) messages cascade through your workforce in a timely, effective manner.


How can we help?

At Honan, we understand the power of holistic employee benefit schemes, and the exceptional value they can add to your organisation – particularly when respectfully tailored to your people, and supported by quality internal communications.

Our team comes with rich expertise in EBS, and can work collaboratively with you to navigate the complexities and ever-changing nuances of today’s workforce and workplaces. Attracting and retaining top quality talent should be one of your company’s most competitive edges, and we love nothing more than supporting our clients to ensure this is so. With clients across the globe, Honan boasts a vast understanding of the needs of organisations of all sizes operating across varied sectors.



To improve EBS communications with their people, employers should adopt some of the following initiatives:

› Engage with employees as if they were customers – communicating benefits to highlight how it adds value to their lives, rather than just promoting them as standard ‘BAU’ elements of their package.

› Adopt a variety of communication channels to issue EBS updates and details, selecting the most appropriate channel for the particular employee (or employee group), according to their demographic, point in their tenure and nature of the information being communicated. ‘Cultural’ inclinations of each organisation should also be taken into account when considering the best comms channel to adopt.

› Communicating EBS updates throughout the year, instead of awaiting onboarding and / or renewal times only.



Feel free to contact us to discuss your employee benefits proposition at any time:



Shabab Maqsud, Client Manager- Employee Benefits



Michael Atta, Head of Sales – Employee Benefits


*The complete Metlife EBTS 2019 Report can be accessed here:

Honan Insurance Group announces proposed acquisition of NGA Benefits, a Singapore based Employee Benefits business.

Employee Benefits

Honan Insurance Group is excited to announce the proposed acquisition of NGA Benefits; a leading employee benefits consulting, insurance intermediary and benefits administration company operating throughout Singapore and Malaysia.

NGA Benefits is a subsidiary of NGA Human Resources, a global payroll and human resources outsourcing company based in the United Kingdom. NGA Benefits clients’ include Fortune 500 multinationals and large local companies in the Asia Pacific region.

The move is part of Honan’s continuing investment in South East Asia. It follows the purchase of Singapore based general insurance and employee benefits brokers MACS Insurance Brokers in 2015.

Damien Honan, CEO of Honan Insurance Group, said:  “NGA Benefits Singapore is a broker with a well-earned reputation in Employee Benefits expertise. Their professionalism and dedication to providing exceptional service is strongly aligned to Honan’s approach.”

“NGA Benefits will enhance our capabilities across the region and provide an excellent proposition in Asia for our international broking network partners.”

Rachel Wee, CEO of NGA Benefits Singapore, said: “Joining Honan is an important step for NGA Benefits Singapore as we build our value proposition to all our existing and new clients across the region. It supports the expansion of our service offering to include the full range of General Insurance products and services. My team and I look forward to being part of an entrepreneurial and forward looking business.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Leader’s Insight: Health & Wellbeing Within the Workplace

Employee Benefits

By Jaime Asher, VP Global Honan Insurance Group.

Organisations are only as good as their people.  This is why wellness is now such a hot topic globally.  It is becoming more apparent than ever that this is an extremely important driver of organisation workforce strategy to enable employers to provide a unique employment offering.  When we consider approximately one-third of adult life is spent at work, it becomes an even more important factor.  When we talk about wellness, we are encompassing physical, mental and social wellness.


“Approximately one-third of adult life is spent at work.”


Wellness programs are common practice in the US and Europe and have been for a number of years, but this concept is now growing in popularity in the Asia Pacific region.  We are noticing a cultural shift gradually occurring in Australia with employers, health system payers and individuals now recognising the benefit of the workplace as a setting for optimising physical, psychological and social health.


The Price of Chronic Disease in the Australian Workforce


Approximately 33 per cent of working Australians between 25 and 64 years old (around 3.4 million people) reported having at least one of eight selected chronic diseases – arthritis, asthma, coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes, osteoporosis or cerebrovascular disease.




Additionally, the IHW 2010 Risk Factors and Participation in Work report found that 96 per cent of working age Australians had at least one chronic disease risk factor and 72 per cent of working-age Australians had multiple risk factors.

Australian employers bear many of the indirect costs associated with chronic disease and ill health. For example, the estimated cost of absenteeism to the Australian economy is $7 billion each year, with the cost of presenteeism (not fully functioning at work because of medical conditions) being nearly four times more at almost $26 billion.




It is now recognised that effective employee wellness can be linked to effective business performance including the promotion of innovation, employee engagement, talent attraction and retention.

Wellness programs can fall within a large spectrum, with employers offering anything from healthy snacks supplied in the workplace to a Full Population Health Management program. It can sometimes be a little difficult to quantify the benefits of having a Wellness Program in place, therefore Honan will work closely with the client to tailor a program that will ensure the wellness strategy, associated deliverables and employee engagement are measureable, meaningful and deliver to specific strategic business aims.

The different types of Wellness plans can come from a number of different offerings from Employer owned to a fully-integrated model.




Further examples:
  • Offering healthy snacks and drinks including fruit delivery
  • Discount to local gyms
  • Subsidised local gyms membership
  • Walking programs (employees receive a pedometers and track their daily steps)
  • Bike programs
  • Biometric and Health checkups, this can also include dental and vision screening
  • Onsite fitness classes
  • Onsite cooking classes
  • Nutritional advice
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Stress management
  • Standing desks
  • Incentive based health premium schedule
  • Flu Shots
  • Massage services

One of the newest concepts we’ve recently seen as an offering in China is an “iBenefits” type function offering employees a “virtual credit point” granting and redemption platform to recognise and reward employees on their individual performance.  This is not a common offering to date and never been see in Australia, but this is an example of how tailored programs can really be.


The Role of the Broker:


Except for the most basic of Wellness programs, clients will rely and expect their Employee Benefit Broker to administer their programs including setting up related training to their staff.  The Broker is responsible for implementing a suitable program tailored to the clients needs, ensuring the employees receive knowledge and a clear understanding of the program.  The Broker will work with employees to maximise their own benefit from the program.

As a unique offering, some Insurance Brokers may partner with a Global Wellness vendor who can manage an employer’s Wellness program at multiple locations around the globe.  This can include wellness “coaching” where wellness plans can be designed for each individual in each region/country.





New Zealand’s Health & Safety at Work Act 2015

Employee Benefits

In 2013 the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety reported that New Zealand’s work health and safety system was failing.

As a result, New Zealand’s work health and safety system underwent its most significant reforms for 20 years resulting in the establishment of WorkSafe New Zealand and the  Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) – New Zealand’s workplace health and safety law which came into effect on 4 April 2016.




NZ’s New Stance on Health & Safety

  • Increased funding for health and safety by the Government
  • Increased number of Worksafe inspector
  • Goal to reduce workplace fatalities by 25% by 2020

The new legislation requires all Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)* to ensure the health and safety of workers and others so far as reasonably practicable. This places a duty on directors and officers to ensure their organisation is taking all the proper steps to comply with their duties.  When the duties of two or more businesses overlap, they must consult, co-operate, and co-ordinate activities to meet their health and safety responsibilities to workers and others and to fulfil their duties of care.

PCBU’s include persons who do not directly engage workers, including management in control of a workplace – such as building owners and building managers. Additionally, designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, installers and constructors are held accountable.


What does this mean?

  • Under the new Act, obligations are placed on persons/entities who would not normally be considered “employers”.
  • Expected increased fines being imposed in the high risk industries that have had a history of workplace accidents.
  • Likely to see higher reparations (money awarded to victims) under the Act.


PCBUs and individuals who breach the provisions of the HSWA will be liable for fines of up to the following limits:




Next Steps:

Now is the time to advise your clients to review their Health and Safety practices and ensuring they have the right behaviours, systems, processes and capabilities in place to manage the Health and Safety risks in their own unique workplace



Opportunity to Sell


Insurance Protection Available:

Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, Statutory Liability cover does not indemnify the Insured for the actual fine (it would be illegal for an insurer to do so), but most Statutory Liability policies do provide indemnity for any reparations ordered as the result of a prosecution including Defence Costs up to the Sum Insured.


For More Information,

Contact Jaime Asher or visit


Honan Insurance Group Expands into Malaysia

Employee Benefits
  • Honan establishes a presence in Malaysia after developing a strategic position with the Hayat Group.
  • Honan is officially recognised as the second WBN member in both Malaysia and Singapore.

Australia, 4 April, 2016 – we are excited to announce our most recent expansion into Malaysia, via a strategic relationship with the Hayat Group (Hayat).

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Hayat is an established and well-respected Malaysian Insurance Broker, handling both incoming and outgoing multinational business since 1977.

Following this move, the Worldwide Broker Network (WBN) has formalised this new position and appointed Honan as the second WBN member in Malaysia.

Furthermore, Honan Insurance Group (Asia) is now officially recognised as the second WBN member in Singapore.

With our Singapore office, see Honan Sets Sight on Singapore Acquiring MACS Insurance Brokers, and new appointments as a WBN representative in Singapore and Malaysia, we are better equipped to deal with the challenges that come with administering multinational insurance programs across South East Asia.

For more information regarding the expansion into Malaysia, WBN appointments, or to speak to an advisor to find out how this can benefit you contact us here

3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy and Productive

Employee Benefits

Finding those gifted employees is never easy, retaining them and keeping them from burning out can be even more challenging. Make sure your star employee is not eyeing the door, here’s three simple steps you can implement in your business to increase staff retention, boost morale and increase productivity.

1. Ask and Listen

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s more difficult than simply sending out a survey consisting of 5 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions once every 12 months to see how your employees are travelling. Instead, a more effective approach is to engage each employee and discover what it is they want to achieve in their role. What do they need from you to achieve their goals and ambitions? Is your company providing enough resources for them to do their greatest work?

According to surveys, high-performing employees value development opportunities more than monetary rewards, with a lack of growth opportunities and appreciation being the primary reasons for high performing employees leaving. To engage your high achievers, try fostering a culture that promotes learning and trying new things, keep them hungry with new projects and challenges.

However, you should note that not all employees share the same ambitions and goals, but you can still make them happy and more productive by listening to them. The solution could be something as simple as getting a water filter because the water from the tap tastes terrible or providing different snacks in the break room.

2. Differentiate your employment offering

Many businesses are now are offering employment benefits as part of their package for staff. Not only does this help your company stand out from your competitors, from the application process onwards, but it’s also a great way to retain your staff and keep them productive and healthy.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), for example, includes short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their household members, designed to help employees deal with personal problems that would otherwise impact their health, performance and wellbeing.

There are plenty of different packages available on the market, we recommend working with a qualified financial advisor to find the most appropriate program for you business and staff.

3. Help them give back to the community and promote wellness

If you could help the community while keeping your employees motivated and healthy, you would jump at the opportunity to do so, right? Every company should be involved in a charitable cause, that should be a given, but transferring the responsibilities over to the employees is a great way to get them involved and feel like a meaningful part of your organisation.

You could suggest setting up a committee where employees are able to decide which fundraisers the company gets involved in and how raised money is spent. Bonus points if it’s something that gets your employees moving and active.

For more information regarding Employee Benefits Solutions for your business, contact us today to speak to one of our qualified financial advisors


Health Coverage for Mobile Workforce

Employee Benefits

Mobile workers represent a growing part of the global workforce, with anticipation that the number of mobile workers will reach 1.3 billion by 2015.

With the expected growth, over the next decade and beyond, obtaining global health cover in light of worldwide political, economic and global uncertainty and instability has become imperative, say representatives from insurance providers RHI and Bupa.

As mobile workers can be based at faraway locations around the world, possibly working in dangerous terrains and politically uncertain environments, global health coverage is becoming an important component and attractive part of an employee benefit package. Health insurance provides employees with reassurance that should they need it, they have access to a quality medical facility even if they are in unfamiliar places.

In providing for healthcare needs of an international workforce, there are many options available for employers. Typical inclusions for global coverage is in-patient and out-patient cover, evacuation assistance, access to 24/7 days a week multi-lingual support and advice.

The coverage is much broader than standard travel insurance policies. When considering the appropriate type and level of cover, existing health conditions, the nature of the job people do and other factors have a bearing on the resulting solution for cover.

For more information on global health coverage refer to the following link or contact a qualified financial advisor:

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