5 minutes with… Catherine Bonatesta, motor underwriter at Dawes

Q. How long have you been working at Dawes?

I’ve been with Dawes since 2010, so almost 11 years. My current role is working as a motor underwriter, but I started in operations and worked my way up, getting some ANZIIF qualifications along the way.

Q. Have you always worked in motor insurance?

No, I haven’t. I was a florist for about 10 years and had my own floristry shop for about 3 years. Before joining Dawes I’d never worked on a computer so it was a massive learning curve for me.

The decision to change careers was initially financial. I was planning to get married and have children and I wanted to be able to buy a house, and floristry doesn’t pay very well. But I didn’t exactly choose insurance, like many people I fell into it as the role at Dawes just came up at the right time. I enjoy it and it’s enabled me to achieve my financial goals, but I do miss the creative aspects of floristry.

Quite ironically, my father worked in the insurance industry as an actuary for his entire career. Growing up, I remember him as a numbers man and he thinks it’s quite funny that I ended up in insurance too. We have discussions about the industry quite often.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My husband and I have three kids aged 8, 6 and 3, and I spend my weekends running around after them, which keeps me very busy. We live near the beach and enjoy spending time there, and I also play netball twice a week and do spin classes at the gym for my mental health. As a creative outlet, I also do a fair bit of baking and cake decorating these days.

Q. What type of car do you drive and what is your dream car?

As we’re a family of five I drive a ‘mum bus’ – a Kia Carnival, however we did get the platinum version with all the bells and whistles. I do like nice cars but I wouldn’t call myself a petrol head, however my dream car would be a modern Aston Martin, I wouldn’t really care which one.

My husband used to write online car reviews, which meant we got to drive a variety of cars around for a few days to road test them, so I got to drive quite a few nice cars that way which was fun.

Q. Is there a road trip you’d love to do?

I’d love to take the family touring around Tasmania, it’s a trip I did as a child and really loved it, it’s such a beautiful place.

Q. Is there anything about you that other people find strange?

Most people find it strange that I work in insurance when my passions are creative, and the other interesting fact about me is that I’ve flown a jet fighter.

As a child I always wanted to be a pilot, I had a few lessons in a Cessna in my 20s, then all of my friends chipped in to buy me a jet fighter ride for my 30th birthday. The flight lasted an hour and I got to take the controls, did a couple of loops and flew down through canyons. I’m a bit of a reformed adrenaline junkie and it was amazing.

To contact Catherine, motor underwriter at Dawes, you can email her at catherine.bonatesta@dawes.com.au.

Dawes Underwriting Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 18 050 289 506), an Authorised Representative of SGUAS Pty Ltd (ABN 15 096 726 895, AFSL 234437).