Laurence Basell – Chief Operating Officer
Joined Honan: February 2019
A quote capturing your approach to your role
I often approach things through a mindset of “it’s easier to destroy than create,” which stems from an extended quote by Ivan Kilma – “To destroy is easier than to create, and that is why so many people are ready to demonstrate against what they reject. But what would they say if one asked them what they wanted instead?” In essence, it’s very easy to throw stones, but very challenging to present new ideas – a mantra that rings true in both business and life.
Tell us about yourself
With a pedigree in management consulting, I’ve worked for many different clients across vast industries. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to build expertise across finance, IT, strategy and operations. I commenced my career at PwC in mergers and acquisitions before shifting to strategy consulting for a little over a decade. I then went brand side, heading up strategy and finance for a start-up before a stint with a large agriculture organisation. I love the challenge of learning about different industries and organisations.
Outside of work, I have a young family (two daughters under 3) and an amazing wife whom I met at PwC. A keen cyclist and runner, I enjoy keeping fit but it’s not quite as easy as it used to be – you’ll typically find me with a child or pram in tow! Pre-parent life, I somehow found the time to break a 6 hour cycling world record!
What are the key areas you focus on as the Chief Operating Officer?
Together with our CEO Andrew Fluitsma, my role is to drive the Honan strategy to ensure we’re continuously delivering exceptional risk-protection solutions for our clients. A strong corporate services function is a key enabler of this; from leading IT systems and solutions, to robust relationships with underwriters, and cutting-edge client reporting. We’re constantly hunting for new and better ways to grow, develop and push the boundaries of what’s possible.
What 3 things do you find most motivating about your role?
We have an exceptional team at Honan, which makes it a genuine pleasure to come to work each day. Alongside their impressive technical capability and work ethic, our people are always pushing themselves to learn and develop.
For the above reasons, our culture is one of the best I’ve ever been part of – supportive, energetic and cohesive.
I’m constantly learning. Being relatively new to the world of insurance, there isn’t a day I come to work and don’t learn something new. For me – that’s a privilege.
Biggest learning from your time at Honan?
Our people genuinely live the Honan values, which drives the culture across the business with great energy. Many businesses have values emblazoned on their walls, but few operationalise them, and even fewer, truly live them. Our team also boasts rich diversity across gender, ethnicity and geography. Vast perspectives bring richness to our culture, and greater depth to our work.
Your core focus for the year ahead?
Honan has a full agenda for FY21! We will continue to strive for growth across all areas of operations, with continued comprehensive investments in IT and systems in particular. Our promise of industry-leading service delivery is paramount. We strongly believe a best in class ‘back office’ is what makes leading products and services possible.
The use of technology, data and analytics will become a much bigger part of our business and how we deliver value to clients. Whether it’s 3D mapping high risk buildings and factories, to ensuring efficient and effective cover through razor sharp industry or sector benchmarking, the progress and opportunities being made possible through technologies like AI are exceptional. As a business, we pride ourselves on staying atop the latest developments, and feeding them into meaningful benefits for our clients.
Recommended further reading / a great online resource?
Book: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (Michael Lewis) – still an excellent read almost 20 years later! So much to take in terms of how to approach work and life.
Podcast: Wind of Change. Amazing even if it is only half true.
Article: Marathon Man: A Michigan dentist’s improbable transformation. The things people do to pretend they’re something they’re not is really quite staggering!
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY: