Hospitals and urgent care facilities under pressure, and other news

Hospitals and urgent care facilities are under pressure, from influenza, Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses. As of today, there are 383 cases of Covid-19 in hospitals across NZ. Hospitalisation rates for severe acute respiratory infections are exceeding rates for this time of year over the previous seven years. A Waikato DHB staffer spoke to Stuff, under conditions of anonymity, saying hospitals are not coping.

They said the key issues causing stress to the health system were inadequate staffing numbers and underfunding from successive governments.

They also said staff were not immune to Covid and the flu, which was exacerbating the staffing shortages.

Yesterday the government announced expansion of funded access to the flu vaccine, to cover people with specific mental health conditions and/or additions issues as well as children ages 3 – 12. Epidemiologist and University of Otago (Wellington) Professor Michael Baker praises the government’s move to expand free flu vaccine access but is asking ‘why not make it free for everyone?

Workplace flu vaccination programs are one of the most common forms of employee wellbeing assistance. It is often covered by health insurance or is an action that is rewarded by systems such as AIA Vitality. Employers running wellbeing programs for staff report to us that it is one of the best value interventions. Estimates at effectiveness range from 30% to 60% in terms of preventing infection.

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ACC updates client payment rates

Economists say NZ recession almost certain, could trigger brain drain

FMA says cyber security must be a priority, publishes info sheet, and other news

The Financial Management Authority (FMA) says cyber security must be a priority for the financial sector. The FMA has published an info sheet to help financial services firms enhance the resilience of their technology and operational systems and meet relevant license obligations.

The Info sheet covers: how to self-evaluate your cyber resilience against the NIST cybersecurity framework functions (identify, protect, detect, respond, recover); understanding the threat landscape and key risks; reviewing your supply chain risk; governance recommendations; training; ensuring incident response and management plans are in place; how to notify any threats; remediation for customers; and post incident reporting.

The FMA reminded the financial industry of two obligations that are part of its licencing regime:

“to have, at all times, adequate and effective systems, policies, processes and controls that are likely to ensure you will meet your market services licensee obligations in an effective manner.”

“IT systems used to deliver the licensed market service must be secure and reliable. Your arrangements ensure they perform efficiently and the associated risks are managed.”

Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand have also created a hub with info, tools and resources to help SMEs strengthen their cyber resilience and manage a cyber attack.

NZ’s national cybersecurity agency, CERT NZ, says that phishing is the most commonly reported cyber scam in NZ, making up almost 71% of all reports.

Craig Weber, insurance practice leader at Cognizant, writes in Insurance Business Mag that due to increased working from home, the surface vulnerable to cybersecurity threats has increased and that insurers are working at capturing that data and building it into their risk and analytics.

More daily news:

Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL), win legal battle to use the title of “ombudsman”

The Adviser Platform (TAP) extends CRM platform to mortgage advisors

NZ government expanding access to flu vaccine and second covid-19 booster doses

Financial Advice Code Committee names new members: Karen Coutts and Erin Jurgeleit

Survey finds several hundred thousand NZ homes cold, damp, expensive to heat

Employees prefer hybrid model of work

Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

20 June 2022 – FMA published its Auditor Regulation and Oversight Plan 2022-2025.

15 & 17 June 2022 – The Government Consumer Protection website posted information titled “Phishing makes up most scams reported to CERT NZ” and “Scammers using sophisticated attacks against New Zealanders”, with the latter reporting that New Zealand banks have joined forces with CERT NZ, Consumer Protection, and Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to warn Kiwis of new threats from scammers.

legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

10 June 2022 – XRB published a working draft of guidance for industry bodies, consultants and entities engaged in developing climate-related scenarios at a sectoral scale. It outlines a six-step process that shows how the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) guidance can be put into practice by sectors to promote consistent, comparable and high-quality disclosures. Draft guidance for individual entity-level disclosures will be published with the exposure drafts in July 2022.

10 June 2022 – Chapter Zero NZ published a Sector showcase: Addressing Climate in the Banking Industry.

13 June 2022 – NZX announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal. The Financial Markets Authority has confirmed the appointments. The new members are Jenn Page, Charles Bolt, Darren Manning, Gretchen Williamson and Sarah Miller.

Mortality: the truth about preparing to die

This story about a woman's cancer journey, with her husband, parents, and her young children, is a sad and beautiful reminder of the truth that sooner or later everyone has to face. Her case was particularly moving descriptions of thinking about a future for the children without her being a part of it. It is well worth the read.

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

19 May 2022 – Takeovers Panel issued updated Guidance on Schemes of Arrangement and also issued comment on “Deal Protection Devices”.

19 May 2022 – IRD advised of the introduction into Parliament of the Taxation (Cost of Living Payments) Bill and the Bill was passed through all Parliamentary stages under urgency in an extended Parliamentary session.

19 May 2022 - Companies Office Registers Funding Validation Bill introduced to Parliament to amend 13 different Acts to retrospectively validate fees that have been collected under those Acts that have been, or will be applied under any register administered by the New Zealand Companies Office.

19 May 2022 – The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reported that the Government has agreed through Budget 2022 to increase the Financial Market Authority (FMA) annual operating funding from $60.805 million to $76.401 million in 2025/26. As part of the new funding arrangement, the Government has agreed to set new industry levies following consultation last year. The levy increase will be phased in over 4 years to minimise the burden on the financial sector. The levies have also been apportioned by entity size and type, to ensure smaller entities are not unduly burdened with high costs. Currently, the majority of the FMA’s funding is recovered from market participants through the FMA levy (83%), with the Crown contributing the remaining 17%. The proportion of the Crown’s contribution is decreasing slightly to 16% from 2025/26. Through Budget 2022, the Government has agreed to contribute all capital funding and some operational funding for CoFI and CRD towards the FMA, which will provide some cost relief to entities. While MBIE and the FMA also consulted on funding requirements for the Insurance Contract Law (ICL) regime, decisions about funding for this regime will be made at a later date. Any levies for this regime will take effect after the Insurance Contracts Bill has been passed by Parliament.

20 May 2022 – Under an extended Parliamentary session from 19 May 2022, the Income Insurance Scheme (Enabling Development) Bill was read a first time, with the Second Reading continuing while writing this.

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

17 May 2022 – Second reading of the Data and Statistics Bill completed in Parliament.

18 May 2022 – FMA released a report titled “Value for Money Industry Report” highlighting that Fund managers’ inconsistent performance measurement and cost of fees reduces benefits to investors.

Southern Cross appoints new COO and more daily news

Southern Cross Healthcare has appointed Mark Stewart as Chief Operating Officer, which they say completes recent changes to the executive team. From the Southern Cross media release:

"Mr Stewart brings with him a wealth of expertise in developing innovative strategies within complex environments and leading business transformations. He joins Southern Cross from PwC, where he led the company’s engagement with national telehealth service Whakarongorau Aotearoa.

Prior to that role, Mr Stewart spent more than a decade working for NZ Post, including four years as the state-owned enterprise’s COO. There, he held operational and strategic leadership for more than 5,000 people and co-led the organisation’s transformation in supporting the growing demands of online retail.

Mr Stewart has also spent several years working in the UK and has completed a PhD in Management Science/Operations Research.

Southern Cross Healthcare CEO Chris White says Mr Stewart’s experience makes him the ideal choice for leading operational functions across the hospitals side of the business.

“Mark has a strong track record in leadership and change management within large-scale, complex environments, and these skills will be critical as Southern Cross Healthcare evolves into a more integrated healthcare system that offers consistently high-quality care,” he said.

Mr Stewart will be joining Southern Cross Healthcare from 20 June 2022.

More daily news:

Partners Life is running webinars on completing your full license application

Strategic pay has published its 2022 Directors' Fees survey

FSC released a blog item titled, “Health Insurance Myths Busted.”

Cardiologists are seeing an increasing number of heart problems in people catching Covid-19

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

10 May 2022 – Government announced further Russian sanctions targeting disinformation and those responsible for cyber-attacks on Ukraine.

10 May 2022 – Third reading of the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill completed in Parliament, with the Ombudsman issuing a statement welcoming its passage.

10 May 2022 Committee stage of the Retail Payment System Bill completed in Parliament.

11 May 2022 – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a consultation on a Draft Long-term Insights Briefing on the future of business for Aotearoa New Zealand, with submissions closing on 24 June 2022. The focus is on an exploration of 2 trends influencing productivity and wellbeing – purpose-led business and use of blockchain technology.

11 May 2022 – Third Reading of the Retail Payment System Bill completed in Parliament.

How far the world has come and more daily news

From Our World in Data, it is encouraging to reflect of great strides defeating one disease as we try to get out from under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

This is how far the world has come in the fight against polio.

In the 1980s more than 300,000 children were paralyzed by polio every year.

Thanks to the polio vaccine we now have the chance to *eradicate* polio globally in our lifetimes.

Link to more data on the fight against Polio here.

Back in New Zealand the battle continues, however, with about one third more people away from work with sickness compared to a year ago.


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