December 2020


Consistency endures in an inconsistent environment

NZILA President’s message – Myles Noble

Welcome to my last Resolve column for the year.

I am pleased to advise that, despite all the changes we have faced this year, following our NZILA AGM we have some consistency with me and the rest of our executive being re-elected for a further term.

We have one change to our national committee, where we welcome Richie Flinn and farewell Stephen Hills whom we thank for his four years’ service on the committee.

Our organisation remains very well placed for 2021, when we expect to be able to deliver training seminars, liability discussion groups and the lecture series through a mixture of virtual and in-person formats.

We also have the 2021 conference confirmed for Queenstown on 15-17 September.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many insurance industry personnel to work from home, which was initially a strange concept for many.

Then everyone got used to it and now it seems there are many who don’t want to come back to the office environment. Depending how employers view multiple requests to remain working from home, the dynamics of the industry could change (as too might high-rise office blocks’ rental and sale prospects).

Stats NZ found more than 40% of employed people did at least some of their work from home during the lockdown at Covid-19 alert levels 4 and 3 in April and early May.

Suncorp NZ conducted a survey of its staff and found more than half wanted to keep working from home. Insurance Business NZ reported that 53% of employees want to continue working from home at least 80% of the time, while 48% would prefer a more equal split of two to four days a week in the office.

The main drivers for staff wanting to return to the office were community and connection (79%), and collaboration and problem solving (66%). The biggest pain points for employees working from home were technological issues, such as wi-fi connections, with 39% citing tech failures as their main challenge.

Another survey of 3,000 respondents, conducted by Hays Recruitment, found 51% were not keen to get back to the office.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, said: “There’s no doubt Covid-19 has forced a significant upswing in the number of people who have been able to work remotely.

“But a new dilemma for employers is that of staff who are afraid to return to their co-located workplaces. With the virus still in circulation, employers who call their staff back to work may find their employees are not comfortable returning. 

“Given this, employers need to focus on ensuring managers are equipped with the skills they need to lead hybrid teams.” 

Employers also need to consider insurance implications of working from home. Do their employees’ home and contents policies cover their own equipment while being used at home for work purposes? If they are using employer-owned devices, are they covered for use outside the office environment?

And what about job satisfaction, work-life balance and “workplace” health and safety issues?

Covid-19 has created a different world and there are a lot of questions we must answer to ensure everyone stays safe, productive and engaged.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.