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).