From our beginnings in Australia, Honan is proud to have a global presence. In our Satellite Series, we introduce you to our international teams, as they share a snapshot of life and the local market.
Meet Eliza White, our Managing Director – Asia, she’s based in our Singapore hub.
ELIZA WHITE – MANAGING DIRECTOR – ASIA
SATELLITE OFFICE: SINGAPORE
YEARS WITH HONAN: 1
Currently focused on: Managing and expanding Honan’s presence across Asia.
Staying sane through #Covid by: Workouts and happy hour.
BACK TO BASICS: before we dive into #Covid, give us a little context on SG…
Total population: 5.85 million
By density? 8,358 people per sq/km (third highest in the world)
Agriculture / Industry / Service breakdown? Singapore’s GDP is predominantly driven through manufacturing (20.9%), wholesale & retail trade (17.3%), business services (14.8%), and finance & insurance (13.9%).
Health of economy @ end of 2019? Sitting strong at $507.6 million. Over the past decade, Singapore has been a world leader in terms of market access and trade infrastructure, and by global standards, its economy is well positioned to generate sustainable growth.
DIVING INTO #COVID: hit us with your headlines…
Your Last Two Months in 2 mins?
- Every morning I go for a run along the Singapore Strait. Pre Covid-19, I’d see around 30 ships on the water busily being loaded or unloaded before setting off to their next port. Nowadays I’m seeing 60+ ships sitting idle in the Strait – many being used for offshore fuel storage; a grim reminder of the current state of the oil industry.
- The Singapore Strait also sits under one of the main flight paths of Changi Airport. Typically, one plane would fly over every minute. These days we barely see a plane per day.
- Cruise ships previously in port for a day or two at the start of the year now sit idle for weeks. These vacant vessels now serve as quarantine hubs for foreign workers who contracted the virus in dormitories.
And how are things looking now, health-wise?
Singapore recorded an average of 622+ new cases per day over the past week. The majority of these were contracted by foreign construction workers living in dormitories. The Ministry of Health previously stated it would reconsider the circuit-breaker restrictions once locally transmitted cases in the community, excluding foreign workers, reduces to 0 or single digits for a prolonged period. This week, the number of cases in this category is still 9 per day. There is still a way to go before locally transmitted cases hits the Ministry’s target.
And the economy?
Imports and exports to our City State account for 300% of Singapore’s total GDP, most of which is attributable to oil refining. Singapore purchases crude from the Middle East and South East Asia, refines it, and distributes it to the world. With global oil prices falling to $0, together with a reduced demand for products while the world is in lockdown, two of Singapore’s biggest industries – shipping and oil refining – are facing unprecedented pressure.
The Government has offered tremendous support to individuals and businesses in the form of three stimulus packages. These include support for SMEs and even new grants for tech development in companies with fewer than 200 staff in Singapore. We hope these initiatives will help Singapore to prosper, post circuit breaker.
Greatest challenge/s experienced by clients thus far?
Many of our clients have required close support in navigating travel claims and trip cancellations. Several of our larger clients have employees and students stationed, and travelling, across the world who desperately want to return to their families. This has been incredibly stressful for clients, particularly after Chinese New Year.
How have you / Honan responded?
This is one of the reasons I’m proud to be an insurance broker. When our clients are facing truly unprecedented and challenging times, we’re on hand to provide support. It’s an honour to be able to advocate on their behalf. There aren’t many things more important than getting people home to their families.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
What are the major anticipated milestones for May / June in the scheme of navigating Covid?
- May 12 we will see some essential services re-open including hairdressers, laundries and pet supply stores.
- By June 1 we’re hoping the Government will begin to ease restrictions across the board, allowing people to return to work. At present we’re unclear what this will look like.
- As businesses, we need to prepare for WFH being the new normal for the foreseeable future. The businesses who re-emerge and prosper from this time will be those who take the time to truly learn through Covid-19 – about their customers, business, and people.
YOUR core focus for May?
At Honan we pride ourselves on being with our customers ‘All the Way’. My team’s core focus for May is to connect with, and support, as many of our clients (current and prospective) as possible. Many of our client relationships are the product of consistent mutual support over decades. Now is the time we can really demonstrate why we’re the best broker for their businesses.
In Singapore, we are pleased to be supporting several amazing not-for-profit enterprises with Honan ‘people power’, once social distancing restrictions are lifted. To date, we’ve worked with the likes of Food From the Heart in this capacity, and this year will offer even greater support to not-for-profit partners in the community.
With You All the Way
Please feel free to contact me at any time on 9127 0211 or firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re Honan and we’re with you all the way.