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 www.worksafe.govt.nz/hswa


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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