Risk & Reward with Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat

Q&A
Former Surf Life Saver, Ironwoman turned Professional Triathlete (and Registered Nurse), Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat is equal parts resilient, focused, and community-minded. She is also one of six triathletes preparing to race the individual and teams relay events in Tokyo this month.

Ahead of her departure, Emma visited Honan HQ for a chat with our CEO Andrew Fluitsma and COO Laurence Basell. Sharing her incredible journey to date, Emma covered the benefits of exercise for mental health and wellbeing, and the biggest risks she has taken to get this far.  

 

FIRST UP, QUALIFYING FOR A SPORTING EVENT OF THIS CALIBRE IS NO EASY FEAT! WHAT WOULD YOUR TEN-YEAR-OLD SELF THINK OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT?

 

She would think it was a dream come true, literally! A true sports fanatic, I played so many different sports as a kid, always watched the Olympics and my family is very competitive. To know I’d made that dream come true would blow my 10-year-old self’s mind.

 

 

WHAT FIRST DREW YOU INTO THE WORLD OF TRIATHLON? DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE?

By the end of high school, I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete on an international level. I remember being challenged on this at high school. People would say “What happens if you’re not good enough?” or “What happens if you break a bone?”. My response was always “Yeah, but it’s what I want to do, it’s my dream”.

Any time you win a race on the circuit, it’s just incredible. It’s what you go out to achieve every time, but quite often the stars don’t align.

 

For me, winning cements the belief that you can be the best, and when you pull it off, it’s so surreal! You just think “I actually made this happen”.

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats that feeling after a good race. Then you go back to training the next day and think “ah, back to work!”

 

HIT US WITH YOUR TOP THREE CAREER MILESTONES TO DATE.
  • Lately, it’s been making the Australian Team! Someone told me the other day that in its 21 years as an Olympic event, I’m around the 20th female to make the Team. For a country with such high-quality triathletes over this period of time, I feel even more proud.
  • Making it to the World Championship podium Mixed Team Relay in 2019.
  • My World Cup series wins in Mooloolaba (Australia), Chengdu (China), and Tiszaujvaro (Hungary).
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE?

Physical training alone is around 35 hours a week – that involves six swims, six runs, five rides, three gym sessions, and three Pilates sessions. On top, there’s treatment and recovery – physiotherapy, massage, seeing an acupuncturist or chiropractor. Then there are additional things like seeing a dietitian and doing meal prep, which is a big part of my day, starting the day prior! It’s also important to get enough sleep and stretch…so it’s definitely a full-time gig! I try to keep myself balanced though. I’m not someone who thrives when I’m completely triathlon focussed, so I still do things I enjoy like seeing friends and going out for dinner, but I tone that down ahead of races. If I were to treat myself, it would be going out for pizza and an ice cream later!

 

HOW HAVE YOU MAINTAINED FOCUS AND MOTIVATION IN THE FACE OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND SETBACKS OVER THE YEARS?

Especially after the uncertainty over the last 18 months, a lot of people have asked how I stay motivated.

It’s funny because even though this epic event was delayed, I never once questioned whether I’d be motivated to keep at it. That really made me realise how much I love the sport and the work I put into it. For me, the motivation comes from genuinely wanting to be the best version of myself in what I do.

There are some days that I’m not feeling it and I struggle to get out of bed, but for the most part, my motivation is to be better than the me I was yesterday and not to compare myself to others. It’s really easy in individual sports, but what I have learned through injuries and challenges is that comparing yourself to someone else steals the joy out of the sport, and you start devaluing yourself.

 

HONAN HAS IMPLEMENTED A WELLBEING PROGRAM AS PART OF ITS SOCIAL IMPACT STRATEGY, AND YOU RECENTLY JOINED IN ONE OF OUR INITIATIVES AS WE LAUNCHED OUR NEW CYCLING KITS. COULD YOU SHARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS EXERCISE HAS HAD FOR YOUR WELLBEING?

Exercise influences whether or not I have a good day. I always feel better after I do it. You might be having a bad week, but if you make a start, whether that’s going for a walk for a coffee or a swim, a ride or run, whatever that looks like, you’re guaranteed to feel better afterward. Even when some days feel overwhelming, after making a start and getting some fresh air, you can generally feel able to get through what lies ahead.

 

WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL, AND SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS IN TERMS OF RISK AND REWARD. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE TAKEN IN YOUR CAREER TO DATE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

At the end of 2019, I moved to Melbourne. I’m such a home and family orientated person and I’ve always lived in Sydney. I wanted to be coached by Danielle Stefano (based in Melbourne), but to do that required relocation. My life was in Sydney, I had just bought an apartment, I was working casually as a nurse, and I didn’t know many people in Melbourne. Faced with this choice, my Dad told me to lean in and go for it.

Whenever I feel cautious about something, I’ll look at the options, and where I can, I lean into challenges. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you’re not left with questions or regrets.

Making the move was the best decision and the risk paid off. The improvements my coach Danielle and I have made together have been unbelievable.

 

 

AT HONAN, WE’RE ALWAYS INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO EMBRACE INNOVATION AND THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY. WHAT ROLE DO INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY PLAY IN YOUR PERFORMANCE AND TRAINING?

The biggest change has been to our bikes. The technology in the bikes is so impressive in terms of aerodynamics – the wheels are disc wheels instead of rim brake wheels, the marginal gains you can make through knocking 100 grams off here, or changing your setup on the bike means you can improve your pace by up to 5km/hr because your shoulders are more tucked. For running, it’s the famous carbon plated shoes. It’s like running on a trampoline.

Coming from winter in Melbourne, acclimatising to the conditions in Japan will be a big adjustment, but the technology we have makes this more manageable. I’m currently training in a chamber that’s set at 35 degrees, with 70-90% humidity. It’s really tough!

 

COVID RESTRICTIONS MEAN THIS GLOBAL SPORTING EVENT WILL LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT, WITH NO CROWDS, LIMITED GATHERINGS, AND TIME SPENT WITH YOUR TEAMMATES. HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THIS?

For triathlon, it’s less of a factor than swimming or athletics. For us, there often aren’t large crowds because we travel long distances. What will be hard is adjusting our expectations. Our friends and families won’t be there to support and celebrate with us, and it will be a fortnight until we can see them. We have an awesome triathlon team though, and we’re very close. My coach is coming over too, which makes a huge difference!

 

MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS, AND THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AT HONAN. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS?

My family and friends are my support. Although some of them don’t quite understand what I do, they back me 110% and that means the world to me. If I have an average race, my friends just give the best advice and say, “Well there’s another race in two weeks”. It definitely puts things in perspective! My coach Danielle has been amazing. On days where I don’t back myself, she reminds me why she backs me and challenges me to be the best version of myself. She’s been pretty instrumental over the last two years.

 

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE CURIOUS ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED IN TRIATHLON?

You don’t have to be amazing at all three legs! I wasn’t, I could just swim, and I’d never ridden a road bike! Honestly, just give it a go and have fun with it. Find a group of like-minded people, give it a crack. It is quite addictive. Triathlon is challenging, so set a goal, enjoy the process and the feeling…you’ll know what I mean once you do one!

 

YOU’RE HEADING OFF SHORTLY, TELL US WHAT THE NEXT TWO WEEKS WILL LOOK LIKE?

We’ll taper from this week, so the total time and distance in training will decrease a bit. This allows you to freshen up so by race day you’re energised and ready to go.

We fly out this week, (with regular Covid testing in between) and will be living in the village. Racing for the women is on the 27th and the mixed team relay is on July 31st. Then we’ll be out in 48 hours, so the time will fly. I just want to make the most of it because it’s going to go so quickly.

 

THREE WORDS TO CAPTURE HOW YOU’RE FEELING RIGHT NOW?

Proud. Humbled. Stoked!

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU IN 2021?

My Dad asked me that the other day. It’s not about the outcome.  It’s about walking away from the experience knowing I gave 100% on the day. One thing I’ve learned from listening to former Olympians is that while they realise what an accomplishment it was in hindsight, they were too stressed or focussed or hard on themselves that they didn’t enjoy the experience at the time.

Representing Australia is a huge achievement in itself! I race best when I’m comfortable, relaxed, and out there to have fun. I know I’m going to give 100% on race day and there’s not much more that I can ask of myself!

 

Discover more in our Q&A Series: Catapult Sports.

 

Photography by: Stef Hanson Productions

Meet our Financial Controller – Carolyn Wenger

Q&A

 

Carolyn Wenger Financial Controller

Office: Melbourne

Joined Honan: February 2018

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

“Luck or success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Roman Philosopher Seneca.

 

Tell us about yourself

I spent the first five years of my career at Ernst & Young in audit and assurance, working with clients in the Minerals, Energy & Utilities sectors.  Having completed the Chartered Accountants program, I moved to London for two years, where I worked in a financial accounting role at Shell London.  This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!  After returning to Melbourne, I spent over ten years at Spotless Group Ltd as the Corporate Accounting Manager.           

I come from a place of ‘say yes’ and ‘go away and figure it out later’.  This approach to new challenges has given me experience across statutory reporting, accounting for acquisitions, and systems migration.  In fact, it was my expertise in these areas that that led to me being offered this role at Honan, with my first project being the migration of the financial accounting system to Oracle.  

Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and my two children, who will be off to high school in the not-too-distant future.  We enjoy going to the beach and catching up with family and friends. 

 

What does the Financial Controller do?

  • I oversee the day-to-day operations of the Finance department across all regions (Australia, Asia, and New Zealand). I ensure Honan meets all its financial and regulatory compliance obligations to maintain our Australian Financial Services Licence.
  • Together with the COO, Laurence Basell, and the wider Finance team, we provide timely financial results to the Brokers, Management, and the Board to enable decision making.
  • There has been a focus on merger and acquisition activity and the resulting integrations have been keeping us busy!

 

Noteworthy trends?

The world is demanding more data in shorter timeframes and in more formats to make decisions in real-time.  There is a convergence trend of finance and operational data, and the lines between finance and operations are blurring. We have moved our systems to open, cloud-based applications, to ensure data can be shared and analysed.  This allows the team to leverage data and analytics tools including Tableau and PowerBI.  This trend is expected to increase in the coming years, and we are extending the reporting and availability of data.

We see a trend, post-Covid, of staff continuing to want the flexibility of working remotely, and therefore the availability of remote, cloud applications for staff to work anywhere and anytime is critical.  This is particularly important in Finance as many roles can be performed remotely and to ensure we can attract and retain the best talent, this flexibility is a must. 

 

What do you find most motivating about your role?

  • I genuinely enjoy coming to work and I am very lucky to be supported by a great team who are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Coaching our junior staff and watching their development is a real highlight for me.
  • I’m passionate about my work (even though it’s accounting) and I am always striving to make efficiency improvements.
  • There is always a new challenge around the corner!

 

Biggest learning from your time at Honan?

I have never been one for planning my career journey too far ahead – I have felt fortunate to have a great job and raise my children but working at Honan has allowed me to dream bigger. I have since discovered that with the right support to encourage me to grow and have more confidence, my career development opportunities are limitless.

 

Your core focus for the year ahead?

  • Right now, it’s on the year-end audit process!
  • Implementation of our new broking platform.
  • Embedding enhancements to our reporting capabilities, which will empower all parts of our business.

 

Recommended further reading?

Patricia Cornwall – “The Kay Scarpetta Series” – crime novels that centre around a fictional, brilliant, forensic pathologist.  I discovered these books in my late teens and I am very excited that the 25th book, ‘Autoposy’ will be out later this year.  This will be going on my Christmas wish list!

 

Meet our Head of Client Service (QLD) – Adam Richardson

 

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.

 

Honing In on Our Partners: The Australian Private Hospitals Association

Medical & Health
The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) is the peak national body for private hospitals in Australia. As APHA’s Insurance and Risk partner, we spoke to CEO, Michael Roff about the network’s evolution, and the challenges they anticipate for the term ahead.

 

THE CRUX OF APHA?

Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and continued development of the private hospital sector in Australia.

 

REFLECTING ON THE LAST 5 YEARS, HIT US WITH APHA’S TOP 5 MILESTONES.

  • Securing a $1.3 billion private hospital COVID viability guarantee from the Commonwealth Government.
  • Addendum to the 2025-2025 National Health reform Agreement to limit public hospitals harvesting privately insured patients at the expense of public patients.
  • Participation in Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee to deliver key private health insurance reforms including instant upgrade for mental health, improved transparency in private health insurance products, youth discounts and Second Tier default benefit.
  • Development of the Private Psychiatric Hospitals Data Reporting and Analysis Service with funding from the Commonwealth Government.
  • Development of the APHA Benchmarking Service of key private hospitals outcome measures.

 

AT HONAN, MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS & THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF APHA IN RECENT YEARS?

APHA benefits from its good relationships with both sides of politics (i.e., major parties). We are also in regular contact with the key players in Government departments, other industry stakeholders including doctors, health fund suppliers among others, and of course our own members to ensure we are representing their interests.

 

THERE HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT INCREASES TO THE COST OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE OF LATE, WHAT IMPACT DO YOU SEE THAT HAVING ON THE PRIVATE HOSPITAL NETWORK?

Actually, the last two years have seen the lowest premium increases for around 20 years.  However, with the costs of providing healthcare increasing, this means health funds have a reduced capacity to compensate hospitals for their cost increases. This is further exacerbated by COVID-19 requirements which have further increased costs and reduced levels of activity.

 

WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 CHALLENGES THE PRIVATE HOSPITAL NETWORK IS FACING, POST-PANDEMIC?

  • “Second Wave” health insurance reforms, including prostheses and out-of-hospital care.
  • Health insurance membership and implications for costs and revenue.
  • Vertical integration (health insurance entering the health care provider market).

 

INNOVATIVE CULTURES AND A COMMITMENT TO ONGOING EVOLUTION ARE COMMON HALLMARKS OF SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS TODAY. WHERE DO YOU SEE PRIVATE HOSPITALS IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS? 

The private hospital sector is a strong and vibrant part of Australia’s health system, providing high-quality services to the majority of the population. Australia’s private hospitals take pressure off an already over-burdened public health system, as evidenced by the work done to support the public sector during COVID-19, particularly during Victoria’s second wave. This role will continue to grow and develop, in part due to the improved relationships and understanding built during the Pandemic.

 

 

 

Discover more in our Partner Q&A Series: Bowens

HONAN ON THE MOVE: A Careers Spotlight Series – with Honan’s Natalie Bruce

Q&A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

It’s funny, I think a lot of people in the insurance industry can relate to the idea that it wasn’t exactly what they aspired to do when they grew up.  I wanted to play basketball professionally or become a vet. As it turns out, I actually included ‘Become an Insurance Broker like my Dad’ in my grade 4 autobiography!

 

2. You’re currently a Customer Service Team Lead and an invaluable member of  Honan’s Real Estate Team. In 1 sentence, what does this role entail?

I’m currently training and developing our newly created Landlords Customer Service team, to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our clients as a one-stop-shop for Property Managers and Owners.

 

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

I joined Honan’s Strata Team in September 2019, with 4 years prior experience at a smaller brokerage in Far North Queensland, where I handled domestic including Strata, Commercial (SME), and claims handling. Over my 18 months in Strata at Honan, I’ve gained invaluable broking experience whilst still having exposure to diverse lines such as Professional Indemnity, Management Liability, and Cyber insurance.

An opportunity opened up when Real-Estate became included in our Strata division, and the Landlords Customer Service Team was established.  I transitioned into my new role in April 2021 and I am lucky to be working with and mentored by great people at Honan, including Teighan Carr and Matthew Henderson.

 

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

After graduating from school, I took a job at a broking firm (as previously mentioned) to “save money for overseas”, working in the compliance and privacy side of the business.  I went on to study in the US while playing basketball for 6 months before coming back to Australia.  This was an incredible experience! When I returned home, I continued my studies in Psychology, but I struggled to find the motivation to continue my degree.

I saw my old firm was advertising a trainee broking role for their general insurance portfolio, which I grabbed with both hands! I obtained my Tier 2, 1, and Diploma in General Insurance, all while working full time.

6 years in, I have the experience and knowledge to confidently lead and mentor a team.

 

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

Being able to find solutions for our clients. A ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work for everyone’s insurance needs, so there are plenty of opportunities for problem-solving and creative thinking.

 

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

So far, the biggest obstacle was having confidence in my ability to make the jump from being a Client Executive to managing people.

I stopped overthinking and just went for it!

 

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

I’ve always believed my biggest strength is my ability to build relationships and empathise with others. I use these a lot in my role, both with clients, and my team.

 

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

The people I work alongside every day.

 

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

You learn the most from the people you work with; everyone has a different perspective and level of knowledge, but together you can always find a solution.

 

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

My new role has a lot more involvement in the operations of the division. I want to expand my knowledge on process and people development to ensure I give my team the opportunities to learn, succeed and progress in their roles.

 

 

 

Discover more in the HONAN ON THE MOVE series

Meet our Head of Client Service (QLD) – Adam Richardson

Q&A

 

Adam Richardson Head of Client Service (QLD)

Office: Brisbane

Joined Honan: January 2012*

* the same week as Steve Pappas, who was our Accountant back then.

 

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

Sometimes Honan staff refer to me as “The Cleaner” – I make problems go away. This is not my material, it’s from the movie The Assassin!

 

Tell us about yourself

I made the move up to Queensland at the start of 2018 after living in Melbourne for 16 years. Six of these years were spent at Honan running a corporate book of local and global clients which moved into a National Placement Manager role for Property & Casualty insurance.  Originally from Queensland, I had some experience here and knew the market. It was an exciting opportunity to help build the Honan brand in Queensland and challenge myself to grow the business and run it like my own.

I love the Queensland lifestyle and spending time with my two boys, Connor (8 years) and Kade (6 years). They are both little Richos and their cheeky personalities certainly keep me on my toes!

 

What does the Head of Client Service (QLD) do?

Building on the foundations Chris Glass established in the 10 years prior, my role involves overseeing Honan’s Brisbane office and contributing to the culture by being another senior manager offering experience and mentoring others.

The purpose of the role was to develop Honan’s Global & Corporate portfolio in Queensland. Since then, I’ve grown the team of one (myself) to four, with more growth to come. We have generated an expanding portfolio of business, which has been really satisfying to see.

 

What types of problems do you solve in your job?

I gain a lot of satisfaction from working on complex corporate and global client portfolios, particularly because I like picking insurance programs apart to see what needs fixing or cleaning up!

Another key part of my role is building relationships with insurance suppliers, who are trusted advisors and skilled professionals. They enable us to secure better outcomes for our clients, which is especially important in today’s hard insurance market where the demand for certain types of insurance exceeds the supply.

 

Noteworthy trends?

TIME is the most important factor in the hard insurance market now. The hard market means there is a limited supply of insurance for certain exposures, and where it does exist, it is expensive. If our clients provide us with a lot of lead time, this enables us to analyse their risk exposures, explore a range of options and alternative risk transfer methods. This ultimately leads to a better outcome for our clients and insurers.

 

What do you find most motivating about your role?

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the insurance market, and risk exposures, products, and insurer offerings have evolved in response.

At Honan, I believe we are always staying ahead of the curve, and this is unbelievably motivating. We think outside the box to develop the right solutions, we know the products and we have the industry knowledge to stay relevant as our clients’ trusted advisors.

 

Your biggest learning from your time at Honan?

Having exposure to global multi-national programs has been a really rewarding experience.  We work with broking partners from all around the world. Collaborating to solve problems for mutual benefit and learning about different cultures in the process have taught me so much over the years.

The difference in time zones isn’t so good though!

 

Your core focus for the year ahead?

I’ll be focused on presenting things in a different light, continuing to leverage data and analytics to strengthen client submissions to insurers (particularly Catastrophe or Natural Hazard data), and challenging conventional ways of thinking.

 

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

 

 

Honing In on Our Partners: Bowens

Q&A
Bowens is a leading building materials and timber supplier with an impressive 126-year history and has been a client of Honan for 14 years. This fourth-generation family-owned business proudly supplied building materials for the 2006 Commonwealth Games Village, and now has 16 stores across Victoria, complete with click & collect and delivery capabilities. We checked in with  Andy Bowen, Chief Investment Officer, to find out more about the business and its journey to date.

 

THE CRUX OF YOUR BUSINESS?

To be the leading supplier of building materials to trade in Australia.

 

YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH HONAN COMMENCED BACK IN 2007! TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT BOWENS LIKE THEN VS WHERE YOU ARE NOW.

Since 2007, we have added another seven stores (Shepparton, Phillip Island, Epping, Port Melbourne, Brunswick, Pakenham, and Belmont). In 2011, we purchased Timbertruss and created the largest and most sophisticated building prefabrication company in Australia. Timbertruss (a division of Bowens) expanded into Queensland in 2015 and we consolidated our Victorian operations in 2018 at a new, state-of-the-art, world-class 32-acre facility in Corio.

 

REFLECTING ON THE LAST FIVE YEARS, HIT US WITH YOUR TOP 5 MILESTONES.

  1. Launching eCommerce in December 2020 (featuring over 20,000 products)
  2. Building Timbertruss manufacturing facility in Corio (consolidating our Victorian operations) and expanding into the Queensland market
  3. The creation of Showroom by Bowens – a new architectural space in Port Melbourne designed by award-winning architects Latitude for the selection of various finishes including timber flooring, doors, door hardware, timber linings, moldings, and acoustics.
  4. Opening new stores in Pakenham, Brunswick, and Belmont, and rebuilding Bowens Croydon.
  5. Upgrading to a new 15,000sqm Distribution Centre in Dandenong South, and launching “Barry”, a new live order tracking delivery technology for our customers.

 

WHAT IS THE TOP TREND IMPACTING YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?

Supply shortages due to:

  • The high volume of demand from Australia’s detached housing and renovation markets, and restrictions in world shipping.
  • The 2020 bushfire season, which reduced domestic supply.
  • Global manufacturing slowdowns because of the pandemic means there is an increasing worldwide demand for wood fibre and a +400% growth in U.S. lumber prices.

 

AT HONAN, WE’RE ALWAYS INSPIRED BY BUSINESSES THAT ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. TELL US SOMETHING UNEXPECTED OR TRULY DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS. 

The technology within our manufacturing at Timbertruss is the first of its kind in the world. We have taken automation to a completely new level in the industry, that will revolutionise the way homes are built in Australia. It is the most sophisticated timber prefabrication facility in the world, and we’re hugely proud to have made this happen right here in Victoria.

 

INNOVATIVE CULTURES AND A COMMITMENT TO ONGOING EVOLUTION ARE COMMON HALLMARKS OF SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS TODAY. WHAT DOES INNOVATION LOOK LIKE / MEAN TO YOUR BUSINESS?

We discuss innovation and implement strategy around innovation every day; from product innovation to looking at ways to better engage with our younger builders. eCommerce is undeniably the largest innovation project our business has undertaken in 127 years given the complexity of our products, the amount of product, and the challenges we face operationally around transport. It is innovative because bulky supplies in our industry are relatively untapped from an eCommerce perspective, and therefore many of the features around this had to be developed from scratch. We are leading the way.

 

WHAT ROLE DOES CUSTOMER TRUST PLAY IN BOWENS’ SUCCESS?

From a raw product perspective, we sell a commodity you can buy across the street, so the true value in our business is how we differentiate our service and execute the simple daily tasks – delivering products on time and in full and responding quickly to customers’ needs. If we can’t do the basics well, we’ll lose our customers’ trust. Ultimately, trust means everything to us and plays an enormous role in our success.

 

AT HONAN, MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS AND THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS IN RECENT YEARS?

We have 60 account managers on the road meeting with our builder customers every day. It is these relationships, and the connection between our stores and the communities they serve that are paramount to Bowens’ growth.

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE BUSINESS OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?

I’m most excited about the scope of work we still have to release with eCommerce, and the growth of this department in our business. The potential is enormous. We are launching our trade account login in June and will begin delivering products Australia-wide shortly thereafter. We will also commence building our new store in Cheltenham, as well as a complete rebuild of our Hastings store. Both sites will commence work in FY22.

 

 

Discover more in our Partner Q&A Series: Catapult Sports.

HONAN ON THE MOVE: A Careers Spotlight Series – with Honan’s Nathan Mauriello

Q&A

 

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

Like most teenage boys, I aspired to become a professional sportsman, having a great love for the game of soccer. It wasn’t until I was close to finishing my final year of school when I developed a keen interest in accounting and finance.

 

2. You’re currently a Client Executive, and an invaluable member of  Honan’s Corporate Team. In 1 sentence, what does this role entail?

I provide close insights and support to our Client Managers, whilst also managing and forming new relationships with my own clients.

 

3. You’ve been in your current role for a few months now, but your career with Honan started with the Strata team in November 2019. Tell us a little about your journey at Honan – where it started, and how you’ve progressed through the business since day 1 …

I joined Honan’s Strata team in late 2019, with prior experience in both Underwriting and Claims. Having spent a year plying my skills under the guidance of Kieran Drum (Honan’s Head of Strata and Real Estate), I was eager to gain exposure to commercial broking. Fortunately, a role became available and in January 2021, I moved into the Global & Corporate team. I’ve been lucky enough to work under some great mentors at Honan including Daniella Harvey, Alexia Poulos, Ben Robinson, and Brad Tymmons.

 

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

After school, I completed a Diploma of General Insurance, Diploma of Insurance Broking, and a Bachelor of Business majoring in Insurance and Finance, all whilst working full-time!

My dad works in the insurance law field, so I guess entering the industry was a rite of passage after spending a lot of time in his office after school. I always wanted to work in Corporate broking, so completed the tertiary education I knew was essential for excellence in the area.

 

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

Assisting business owners from various industries and professions. I have a great desire to learn, so each time a new client comes across my desk, I seize the opportunity to grow and develop.

 

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

My most challenging career obstacles have come each time I’ve changed roles. Moving from Claims to Underwriting, and now into Broking, has meant I’ve had to re-skill and start from the bottom each time. Having said that, each challenge has encouraged me to grow. I’m thankful for these experiences as they’ve made me a better insurance professional.

 

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

I consider my emotional intelligence to be my greatest strength. Having a strong sense of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy has placed me in great stead for early career development and growth.

 

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

Honan’s desire to be a disruptor in an industry often known for its conservatism and ‘average’ reputation within the financial industry at large. I have friends who have become clients and have made comments such as “I’m glad to be a client of Honan, they actually make insurance look cool.” Statements like this reaffirm the alliance of the organisation’s values and objectives with my own, which makes me proud to tell people I work at Honan.

 

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

Don’t be afraid to apply for a role because you think you might not be completely qualified or ready for! If you’re motivated and eager to learn, you’ll very quickly bridge any knowledge gaps.

 

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

I have a strong interest in finance, so expanding my knowledge base in Financial Lines products is a current goal of mine. I’ve also toyed with the idea of doing a Post-Grad in Commercial Law at Melbourne University. The range of accessible insurer webinars, articles, and online information might see me park this idea for a little while yet!

 

 

Discover more in the HONAN ON THE MOVE series

Meet our Head of Risk Consulting – Sharon Rutherford

Q&A

Sharon Rutherford Head of Risk Consulting

Office: Brisbane

Joined Honan: December 2017

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another”  Helen Keller

 

Tell us about yourself

I was hired by the infamous Kieran Drum (Honan’s Head of Workplace Risk at the time).  I had been supporting the Honan relationship within my role at an Insurer and Kieran eventually convinced me to join when I was at a career crossroad.  I was hesitant to move to a Brokerage firm, but Kieran and the team had established a relationship built on trust and respect, which resonated with me and my values.  I moved across to Honan and I have not looked back since.

I am a working Mum and I value my time at home with my family.  We love to socialise and have an open-door policy, so you’ll find the Rutherford home always ready for an impromptu party or social drink.  As my creative outlet I enjoy re-upholstering and upcycling furniture …I’m also not too bad at it.

 

What does the Head of Risk Consulting do?

My role is to design and deliver the Workplace Risk team’s strategy, while working to provide end-to-end solutions for our clients’ workers’ compensation programs. As a unit, we provide solutions that allow clients to manage their workers’ compensation risk exposures. Central to this service is our claims management support, which is focused on achieving optimal premium outcomes for clients.

I’m fortunate to be supported by a team of exceptional Workplace Risk Consultants and Claims experts. I contribute to their development and coaching so we can continue to provide excellent client service solutions as a team.

 

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

  • Building strong, trusting, and collaborative relationships with our clients.
  • Providing solutions that have tangible outcomes.
  • The opportunities that have been made available to me have allowed me to continually challenge myself. Honan is a great organisation that truly encourages employee growth and development.

 

Noteworthy trends?

I would not necessarily say it’s a trend, more a new a reality that the Pandemic has brought about in the workers’ compensation space.  The definition of sustaining an injury while “in the course of employment” is being stretched beyond what we traditionally understood it to mean.  For many, working environments have changed significantly over the last year, impacting employees’ work life balance and mental health, and in turn, the control Employers have over these settings. Employers need to continue to respond to these changes, and we expect more exposures will emerge where gap analyses have not been implemented.

 

Your biggest learning from your time at Honan?

Some of the best advice I’ve received at Honan is to stop being self-deprecating, to own what I know and to back myself.

It certainly helps when you also have a supportive work environment and Leadership Team! This is a journey I am still on and I have my moments with those old self-deprecating comments, but they have become few and far between.

 

Your core focus for the year ahead?

While the environment around us changes, our clients’ risk exposures are also evolving.  Therefore, working with our clients to understand and manage their changing risk exposures will be key.

Continuing to challenge ourselves on what best practice looks like for our clients’ processes and systems will allow us to mitigate their risks.  Our WPR team are certainly up for the challenge in supporting our clients on this journey.

 

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

Formula 1: Drive to Survive – this is a fascinating watch, bringing viewers inside the elite world of Formula 1 drivers. The dedication and hard work displayed by these people is unbelievable. I was never a car person, but this has given me a new appreciation for the sport.

 

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

 

 

Honing-In on Our Teams: Global

Q&A

1. THE CRUX OF WHY YOUR TEAM EXISTS?

In a nutshell, to assist multinational companies with their insurance needs and provide them with ongoing support to run their businesses.

 

2.  QUOTE TO CAPTURE YOUR TEAM’S ETHOS / APPROACH / CULTURE?

Work hard and have fun!

 

3. IF WE WERE A SPORTS TEAM, WE’D BE CALLED …

Melbourne Global Trotters

 

4. GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO ONE CLIENT / CUSTOMER YOUR TEAM IS PARTICULARLY INSPIRED BY RIGHT NOW, AND WHY?

A well-deserved shoutout goes to our partners in the Worldwide Broker Network (WBN).

The WBN’s global conferences are usually attended by all member brokers worldwide and they provide key opportunities for us to connect and collaborate, which in turn allow us to coordinate placements for our multinational clients.

While the pandemic and travel restrictions have made these face-to-face international events impossible, the WBN invested in state-of-the-art virtual platforms to enable brokers to continue with a virtual conference.

The WBN’s efforts to overcome these challenges and make the event possible really inspired us.

 

5. REFLECTING ON THE YEAR TO DATE, HIT US WITH YOUR TEAM’S TOP 3 HEADLINES.

  • Successful placements in the Professional Indemnity Design & Construct space, given the very challenging hard market conditions. Despite the hardening market, our clients still need to continue business operations and they still require insurance. For this reason, it has been rewarding to locate the right coverage when it is required.
  • Collaborations with key partner brokers, despite the restrictions on travel during the past year. Platforms such as Zoom have enabled us to enhance our connectivity with our global partner brokers.
  • Reaching out to our clients in a more informal way during COVID was a positive way to stay connected and engaged while working from home. Being able to check in and support our clients was rewarding and further strengthened these relationships.

 

6. HONAN’S ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ BRAND PROMISE IS ONE WE’RE PROUD TO HONOUR IN BOTH OUR DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS, BUT INTERNALLY ACROSS THE BUSINESS TOO. WHAT DOES ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ LOOK LIKE WITHIN YOUR TEAM? HOW DO YOU SUPPORT EACH OTHER THROUGH CHALLENGES AND WINS ALIKE?

Being such a close-knit team, we tend to know if a team member needs support or guidance without them having to ask.  Each of us brings different strengths and perspectives, so working collaboratively helps us achieve even better outcomes for our clients.

 

7. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE BRILLIANT PERSON – DEAD OR ALIVE – TO JOIN YOUR TEAM, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

The Equalizer! (Fictional character played by Denzel Washington). He would be a great addition to the team, ensuring claims are paid to our clients.

 

8. LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT IS YOUR TEAM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?

A big part of our effectiveness as a team is built on our relationships with partner brokers locally and internationally. The ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID have really limited our ability to connect face-to-face, so we are looking forward to doing more of this in the year ahead.

 

 

 

Meet the Honan Life team here

 

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Contact Information

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