The Rise of Employee Wellness – The Buzz Word That is Here to Stay

Employee Benefits

The Future of Employee Health and Wellness Benefits 


The COVID-19 pandemic has truly reshaped the way organisations and their employees approach work. As businesses navigate the transition to the ‘new normal’, those with robust employee health and wellbeing benefits will be best placed to attract and retain the top talent in the market, while enhancing their employee’s organisational performance.

Australia has done relatively well in containing the spread of the pandemic compared to many other countries, however, a recent survey by group insurer Metlife (1) shows our overall health and wellbeing has taken a significant hit in recent months. Some key concerns raised by Australian employees in the survey include:


Metlife, 2020.


While the statistics paint a somewhat grim picture, they present an opportunity for employers to respond and deep dive into the needs of their greatest assets – their employees.

Honan works with some of the world’s leading organisations in designing and coordinating their Employee Benefit programs. Partnering with these organisations over the past year has shown us the importance of supporting employees’ physical and mental wellbeing and the powerful engagement, productivity, and trust this fosters between employer and employee.


Below are three key trends likely to shape the future of employee health and wellbeing benefits in Australia:

Models of holistic wellbeing will be widely adopted

The days of simply providing office lunches or onsite yoga sessions are numbered.  Increasingly, there is an expectation that leading organisations should play a more active role in supporting the overall health and wellbeing of their employees. 

Employees are looking for organisations to demonstrate care and support outside the traditional financial benefits, to help keep them happy, healthy, and engaged in their work lives.  This can be established by designing a holistic wellness offering that provides access to benefits promoting physical health, mental wellbeing, and lifestyle support services, which can be integrated into both the physical office space and remote working environments.


Benefits that offer a personalised experience will be key

Health and wellbeing programs that can be customised and tailored to employees’ needs will be an essential part of an organisation’s overall health and wellness benefits proposition. More and more, we expect to see standard ‘wellness webinars’ replaced with relatable, customised experiences, targeting the unique demographics of an organisation to create more impact. Nutrition consultations, 1-1 mental health coaching, skin checks, and health screenings are some great examples of initiatives that can be tailored to each employee and form part of a holistic wellness offering.


Technology will be at the centre of wellness benefits

The pandemic forced organisations and employees to adopt new technologies at an unprecedented pace. Employees expect technology to be the default option for most things in life and benefits are one of them. Digital employee wellbeing platforms will play a key role as an increasing number of companies look to bolster their employee wellbeing propositions.

At Honan, we partner with leading providers in the digital wellbeing space, while allowing employees to seamlessly engage with a range of the latest benefits when and where it suits them. Check out the powerful insights from our most recent global partner, CircleIn!



Honan has a team of experts ready to assist you in developing the right employee wellness program tailored to your company’s unique needs. We have recently launched our Honan Wellness Hub – a platform where you can discover the different Health, Wellbeing, and Employee Support Benefits we can incorporate into a custom program for your organisation and where you can catch up on the latest insights on our Wellness Blog, all in one place!

Explore the industry-leading benefits here, and feel free to reach out to our team at any time to understand the possibilities for your organisation.


Shabab Maqsud

Head of Client Service – Global Benefits 




1 Metlife Survey: 2020 Employee Benefit Trends Study (EBTS), Key findings from the MetLife Australia 2020 EBTS.

Q&A with Circle In Co-Founder, Jodi Geddes

Employee Benefits

Meet our innovative new Honan partner – Circle In, offering a leading global HR platform to support working parents and caregivers.

Co-Founder, Jodi Geddes shares the latest insights on employee wellbeing, the importance of supporting working parents, and exciting trends to watch in the Employee Benefits space.


Superannuation Update: Legislative Changes in Australia

Employee Benefits

Superannuation is the only legislated benefit in Australia and an employer is required by law to contribute a percentage of an employee’s salary or wages to an accredited superannuation plan. The superannuation guarantee was introduced in 1992 with a mandatory 3% contribution rate and progressively increasing to 9.5% since then. Today, Australians have more than $3.1 trillion in superannuation assets, and this is set to rise with the minimum superannuation guarantee contributions increasing from 9.5% to 10% from 1 July 2021. This is the first of the rate increases which will see a gradual 0.5% rate rise each year until it reaches 12% by 2025.



This superannuation increase is a cost to businesses or employees or a combination of the two. An organisation’s remuneration structure will determine how this change is calculated and how it will impact employee’s take-home salaries.  Regardless, clear and consistent communications from employers are more important than ever in helping employees understand how the changes will affect them.

Findings from a recent Employee Benefits Study by Metlife showed almost half of Australian employees surveyed suffered poor mental health due to COVID-19, with financial concerns being a key driver of mental ill-health. As such, organisations splitting the cost of the increase with employees or passing on the increase in full to their employees should communicate with empathy.

Employers who are currently contributing above the minimum threshold will also need to decide whether they will continue to pay above the minimum superannuation guarantee and any implications this may have for the attraction and retention of top talent.



Reach out to Honan’s specialised Employee Benefits team for further information and assistance in developing your organisation’s Employee Benefits offering and communications.



Employee Benefit Essentials: Latest Trends & Must-Dos for Post-Pandemic Success

Employee Benefits

MetLife’s 6th annual Employee Benefits Trend Study (EBTS) was released recently, and with a focus on how employees are navigating work-life pressures in the wake of the Pandemic, its findings come highly anticipated.

COVID-19 forced businesses the world over to re-engineer the way they do business and rethinking their employee experience was a big part of this. The key findings from this year’s EBTS showed:

  • businesses were positively surprised by how well their employees adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 and maintained productivity
  • overall employee health and wellbeing were generally better among businesses who responded positively to the Pandemic and provided their staff with practical tools to evolve and adapt.

So what additional employee benefits learnings can be drawn from the 2020 study, and how can businesses optimise their offerings from here?


KEY FACTORS IMPACTING EMPLOYEES: mental health, financial uncertainty, concern for family & friends


Mental Health – room to improve & measure impacts
  • 70% of employers identified mental health as the primary focus in optimising employee health in the wake of the Pandemic. However, 40% of respondents stated their employer was NOT offering benefits or programs to support or enhance their wellbeing.
  • While it is encouraging to see close to 60% of employers had adopted strategies and benefits to assist employees, there is certainly room for improvement – particularly with close to half of Australians surveyed experiencing some form of mental ill-health due to COVID. While most employers are offering benefits/programs to support employees’ mental ill-health, 80% of employers surveyed were not tracking/measuring employee mental health.
Financial Uncertainty – more support needed
  • Financial health concerns were found to be the most common cause of stress and mental ill-health among employees, with 5 in 10 employees reporting their employer had not offered any form of financial health support or access to resources.
General Stress – on the rise
  • Whilst in Australia we have seen community transmission largely controlled, stress levels remain high, with 1 in 2 employees reporting they are more stressed now than before COVID, and 3 in 10 employees reported feeling run down and drained of their physical and emotional energy.


BACK TO BASICS: structured support from employers is essential

The findings show that active support from employers produces greater productivity, reduced stress levels, and enhances loyalty towards their employer. Employees who feel appreciated, are actively supported in working remotely (and provided with the tools to stay connected) are likely to be more productive, engaged, empowered, trust their employer’s leadership, and achieve their professional goals.


The top 5 programs employees would like from their employer to help ease their stress and improve their wellbeing are:
  1. Structured flexible work arrangements
  2. Increased paid time off
  3. Work from home policy – ongoing post COVID
  4. Additional Superannuation contributions
  5. Mental wellness programs.



At Honan, we’re pleased to administer and implement local employee benefit programs for over 150 global and domestic companies. Many of our clients saw the Pandemic as an opportunity to review their procedures and workplace culture and they are now seeing increased productivity and employee satisfaction as a result. 

Flexible work arrangements are now seen as a key benefit sought by prospective employees when applying for new roles. In MetLife’s findings, it’s encouraging to see that 73% of companies have implemented formal flexible working arrangements and have plans to continue these in the future.  


Here are some key features employers can build into their employee benefits programs to enhance employee wellbeing, engagement, and loyalty:
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Group Life/TPD and Income Protection cover and access to Financial Advice
  • Funded or co-funded Private Medical Plans – ensuring employees have access to market-leading coverage
  • Extended paid maternity/parental leave
  • Extra personal/carers’ leave
  • Formal Wellness initiatives e.g., free flu vaccinations, annual health checks, etc.


With you all the way

To learn more about how Honan can assist in tailoring a competitive local employee benefits program for your organisation, feel free to reach out at any time.

Michael Atta 

Head of Sales – Employee Benefits          


Flexible Work: Here to Stay, But Have You Nailed the Formula?

Employee Benefits
Reflections on Atlassian’s white paper (Oct, 2020) Reworking Work: Understanding the Rise of Work Anywhere – global research into the impacts of COVID-19.


In February this year – before many Australians shifted to remote work – we shared our thoughts on Employee Benefit Trends & How to get Ahead in 2020. As part of this forecast, we reflected on a 2019 study by Group Insurer Metlife which showed flexible work to be one of the most desired (47% of those surveyed) benefits by Australian employees. While 75% of Aussie workers were annoyed it took a pandemic to make it happen, the findings from Atlassian’s comprehensive 2020 global study on remote working further supports this sentiment. 

Further to its impressive 2020 Reworking Work white paper, Atlassian shared its TEAM Anywhere policy with the world in August this year. As progressive as the tech giant itself, TEAM Anywhere allows employees to choose where and when they want to work; a policy underpinned by a commitment by Atlassian to focus on the outcomes of its employees rather than hours worked. Equally, TEAM Anywhere enables Atlassian to recruit the best talent from anywhere in the world – a savvy play by the employer.

In Reworking Work, Atlassian studied the working from home experiences of 5,000 workers across Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the US during COVID-19. Revealing the good, bad and the ugly of remote working, we’ll explore the following 3 key questions, specific to Australia:

  1. What do employees LIKE about remote work?
  2. What CONCERNS employees about remote work?            
  3. How can companies EVOLVE for remote work / the future of work?     


What do employees LIKE about remote work?

Most (73%) Australian respondents were satisfied with their company’s leadership during the health crisis. In general, Australian employees surveyed had a positive remote working experience, with 68% reporting improved job satisfaction and 70% saying their work life balance had improved – as shown in Figure 1 below. Many employees felt empowered by the flexibility and convenience of this new way of work, and believed they were more productive and effective when working remotely.

With less time commuting and avoiding unnecessary distractions at work, employees had more time for family, loved ones, hobbies and pastimes. Another powerful insight: 86% of Australian respondents reported greater appreciation of their quality of life outside of work.


What CONCERNS employees about remote work?

Remote working has its challenges. For example, many Australian study respondents felt their remote working arrangements could damage their career progression.

While employees felt more productive and effective at home, 42% are working longer hours. Reduced in-person contact also meant more time spent wrangling emails (as acknowledged by 77% of respondents) and reporting to clients and managers (66%).

The social interaction offered by workplaces was also missed by many employees, particularly by Australians (75% Aus vs 50% of employees globally). After all, us Aussies do love our banter!

It was also interesting to note that Australian respondents were less open to a mix of home and office work compared to the global sample (27% vs 46%). The majority (43%) of Australians preferred to work completely from home, while almost one third preferred to work solely from the office.


Figure 1: Some key individual and organisational findings revealed in the study.


How can companies EVOLVE for remote work / the future of work?

With pressure on the bottom line, companies are finding unique ways to continue recruiting and retaining quality talent through robust employee benefits programs.

Research in the US by AFLAC shows 55% of employees would ‘somewhat accept’ a job with lower compensation but more robust employee benefits, while 80% of would prefer to retain their current job with benefits as opposed to accepting a role with higher pay and no benefits.

As the research shows, a robust employee benefits offering coupled with a considered flexible work strategy will remain an integral part of an employer’s overall benefit proposition. 

Atlassian’s study identifies three key factors impacting the effectiveness of working remotely:

  1. the complexity of the worker’s home life
  2. the complexity of the worker’s employment role
  3. the quality of the worker’s social and work network.

Thus, each person’s ‘WFH’ experience is different and subject to change. Dominic Price, Work Futurist at Atlassian, aptly captures this:

“If you’ve ever said your people are your biggest asset, now is the time to act upon that”.

Companies today have a unique opportunity to ask questions, to listen to their employees’ feedback around what works and what needs tweaking in order to land a strategy and culture best suited to their greatest asset, their people.



We’re with you – all the way

At Honan, we understand the power of holistic employee benefit schemes and in particular, how to respectfully tailor them to your people, and communicate them across your business.

Our Global Benefits team has extensive experience working with clients of all sizes across the globe and will work collaboratively with you to achieve a robust solution truly fit for the future of work, and the future of your organisation. Contact us to discuss your employee benefits proposition at any time. 


Shabab Maqsud – Client Manager, Employee Benefits


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).

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