Cyberthreats and other news

Insurance Business NZ’s latest webinar covered cyber threats. Katrina Shanks shares some key takeaways from the webinar, including the three essential steps to becoming more resilient are 1) understanding cyber threats, 2) identifying vulnerabilities and 3) planning your response.

...large and small companies alike are being targeted every day, with financial services being one of the go-to industries for cyber criminals.
The risk for small-to-medium businesses is one of complacency, and it can put client data security and financial advisers’ own business reputation at stake.

More daily news:

Blair Vernon takes on Chief Transformation Officer role at AMP NZ

InterSystem's report finds 87% of NZ/Australia banks experience frustrations in using data to drive decision-making

ANZIIF launches Making a Difference Awards, nominations close 24 June

Aon report shows catastrophe events result in aggregate insured loss of $322.5m in NZ for ‘21

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.

Legal and regulatory update for the life and health sector

9 May 2022 – The Data and Statistics Bill, to replace the Statistics Act, was reported back to Parliament from the Select Committee.

10 May 2022 – RBNZ issued a statement expressing strong support for the External Reporting Board’s (XRB) plans to develop disclosure as a tool to understand and mitigate climate-related financial risks.

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.


More daily news:


Assisted dying service data reporting and more daily news

The first data report from the assisted dying service has been issued. Although future reports will cover a three month period, the first one covers slightly longer because the start date for the service was not aligned with a quarter end - so it covers 7 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. In summary, this is what has happened: 

Between 7 November 2021 and 31 March 2022, 206 people applied for assisted dying. As at 31 March:

  • 59 people were still in the process of assessment or preparation for assisted dying
  • 81 people did not continue the process (due to being ineligible, withdrawing or dying of their condition)
  • 66 people had an assisted death.

In September of 2020 we estimated that the End of Life Choice Act could see around 240 people use the service each year. It is probably too early to say with any accuracy based on only one quarter's numbers whether that estimate is a good one. However some of the wilder ideas about usage are not yet supported by the numbers.

For more information check out the Ministry of Health's data page on the subject.

More daily news

  • Waikato-Tainui has partnered with Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) to offer health insurance to its 14,000 kaumaatua and help facilitate better health outcomes for its tribal members
  • Fidelity Life has appointed three senior business development managers to co-ordinate the work of the others: congratulations to Gary Binnie, Michelle O'Connell, and David Telfer on their appointment
  • AIA reports that Bill Lisle, AIA Regional Chief Executive, and past Director and Regional Chief Executive for AIA Australia and NZ from 2017 to March 2022 has died.


New Zealand's shameful road toll and more daily news

Long weekends always mean a spate of road deaths. I pray that this weekend there are few. Recently the New Zealand Herald published this article on the issue of people sitting in the right hand lane on multiple lane highways or passing lanes preventing speeding cars from overtaking. Who is right? New Zealand's Automobile Association (AA) says that this is one of the most-often asked questions. But buried inside the report are these shocking statistics, of great relevance to those of us that care about life and death, and New Zealand's shockingly high rate of road traffic accidents:

New Zealand averaged just under eight road deaths per billion km - worse than more than 15 European countries and the US. In comparison, Australia averaged just over four road deaths per billion kilometres. Denmark, a similar-sized country to New Zealand, registered around three road deaths per billion vehicle kilometres travelled.

If we managed to get down to the level of Australia? What would that do?

The Auckland Road Safety Business Improvement Review 2021 found that if New Zealand's road safety conditions matched the state of Victoria in Australia - which has a population of around six million - approximately 124 fewer New Zealanders would have died on our roads in each of the last three years.

That's a lot of people who we could save and it isn't all about lower speeds either - after all, several European countries have better road safety than us and permit higher speeds.


Other daily news:

  • A client base in the north of the South Island is for sale, contact us for more details
  • Have you recently worked in the UK as a financial adviser? If so, we would love to talk with you
  • Gen Re is hiring, seeking a pricing actuary to join their Sydney team



Fidelity Life ratings announced, and more daily news

AM Best announced that Fidelity Life’s A- financial strength rating was under review after the upcoming purchase of Westpac Lie was announced last year. AM Best has confirmed that Fidelity Life’s A- rating will remain. Fidelity Insurance’s Standard & Poor (Australia) Pty Limited lowered after the sale, although Fidelity Insurance will be rated by AM Best going forward.

Fidelity Life and its newly acquired subsidiary Fidelity Insurance (formerly Westpac Life) have both received A- (Excellent) financial strength ratings* from ratings agency AM Best, following the completion of the $400 million acquisition earlier this week. The outlook for the ratings is stable.

According to AM Best the ratings reflect each entity’s respective ‘very strong’ balance sheets, adequate operating performances, neutral business profiles and appropriate enterprise risk management.

Fidelity Life has maintained an A- (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best for 26 consecutive years. The rating had been under review since July 2021 when the acquisition was announced.

Fidelity Group Chief Financial Officer Simon Pennington says: “These ratings are important information for our customers – including our customers from Westpac Life - because they provide an expert view of our ability to pay their claims.”

Fidelity Insurance has had its Standard & Poor (Australia) Pty Limited rating lowered from A+ with a negative outlook to A with a stable outlook, reflecting its ownership change from the Westpac Group to Fidelity Life. From April 2022 Fidelity Insurance will only be rated by AM Best."


 In other news

Financial Advice: Me and My Money: Katrina Shanks, CEO, Financial Advice New Zealand

Otago University: Mortality declines in Aotearoa NZ during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic


Population and migration updates - significant changes due to COVID-19

Stats NZ has released some deaths and population figures which show the impact of the pandemic so far and the policies used to contain it.

First, we look at deaths. During the winter of 2020 after a long initial lock-down and the closing of borders mortality fell below historic trends and the containment measures cut deaths from a variety of causes (for example, winter viruses already in circulation, plus reduced accidents from reduced work). 

Deaths in New Zealand increased to the highest on record in 2021, but this is expected as it reflects our aging population, Stats NZ said today.

There were 34,932 deaths registered in New Zealand in 2021, up from 32,613 in 2020 (an increase of seven percent, or 2,319 deaths). However, the 2021 total was only a slight increase (two percent or 672 deaths) on the 34,260 deaths registered in 2019.

Then we consider population. The closing of the border had a dramatic effect on migration. Although we know many New Zealanders wanted to return home - some permanently, most temporarily, to re-establish links with family and business - and that more than 200,000 passed through MIQ, the net effect was -3,900. That's right, we lost population during the pandemic due to migration. This was offset by natural increase:

During the year ended December 2021:

  • New Zealand’s population grew by 23,500 (0.5 percent)
  • estimated natural increase (births minus deaths) was 27,400
  • estimated net migration (migrant arrivals minus migrant departures) was -3,900.

 National population estimates: At 31 December 2021 – Infoshare tables