Jan 8, 2018 - CERTNZ advises that researchers have found multiple vulnerabilities in computer processors which may allow attackers to extract information from affected systems, including passwords and other sensitive data.
The technical details of these vulnerabilities can be found at meltdownattack.com and spectreattack.com.
CERT NZ is not currently aware of any attacks that are actively exploiting these vulnerabilities, however we strongly recommend you protect yourself with the advice provided below as soon as practicable.
What's happening Systems affected - Processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM have been confirmed to be affected. Due to the complex nature of the vulnerabilities, it is safest to work on the basis that all systems may be affected. As this is a hardware vulnerability, this may affect any device, from computers to smart phones, tablets, routers, and smart devices such as TVs.
What this means All computers and personal devices such as cell phones will need to be updated to protect against attacks which use these vulnerabilities to steal sensitive information such as passwords
What to look for | How to tell if you're at risk
If you are using a device which uses a processor from Intel, AMD, or ARM - you may be at risk. This represents the vast majority of end user devices.
What to do Mitigation - Ensure that all software on all your devices is up to date. Some updates have been released, and more are expected to be released over the coming weeks and months as manufacturers and vendors respond to these vulnerabilities.
In particular, ensure your operating system and browser are updated. If you have a device which is no longer receiving updates, you should consider upgrading or replacing it, to ensure you can get the latest security updates.
CERT NZ’s advice on End-of-Life Devices - Updates have been issued (or will soon be issued) for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Chrome browser and Firefox. A more comprehensive list may be found at https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA18-004A External Link .
More information If you require more information or further support, submit a report on the CERTNZ website or contact them on 0800 CERTNZ.
15 Nov 2017 - Tower says it aims to leave its larger rivals with 'clunky legacy systems' in its wake by transforming into a "digital challenger" offering customers more tailored products that draw on deeper pools of information. The Auckland-based insurer is raising $70.8 million to bolster its balance sheet and has adopted an ultra-conservative approach to the most problematic claims lingering from the Canterbury earthquakes seven years ago. Chief executive Richard Harding says that gives it the headroom to overhaul its IT infrastructure and embark a new way of doing business which will deliver better products for customers, tailored to their specific needs and priced accordingly.
Tower has hired EIS Group to scope out and cost the process of integrating four systems into one core infrastructure as part of a wider programme to simplify the business, putting the insurer on the front foot against its rivals which are carrying more cumbersome systems that struggle to keep up with changing consumer demands.
"It's that flexibility to use data from all sources, get that data compiled in a way for you as a customer that we actually have insights about you so we can make a compelling price for you," Harding told BusinessDesk in an interview. "It's really about turning around insurance to be simple and easy for customers.
"We won't get to that in financial year '20 but we've certainly built the foundations that will enable Tower to have the flexibility to deliver that sort of claims outcome or customer experience," he said.
Harding doesn't anticipate the country's larger insurers can match that strategy, because "they're not as nimble and they don't have that ability and flexibility."
Tower's online drive has already started paying dividends, with yesterday's announcement of the capital raise and lingering issues with Canterbury claims clouding a robust underlying business. The firm's online sales generated 30 percent of new business for the insurer in the September quarter coming through digital channels, compared to just 9 percent in the March quarter of 2016.
Still, the insurer booked $19.6 million of impairment charges on software in the 2016 financial year after finding its current systems restricted its ambitions and accelerated the amortisation charge on internally developed software in 2017. The closing book value for Tower's software was $31.3 million as at Sept. 30, after accumulated amortisation of $33 million.
Information is the key benefit for insurers in the digital environment, and Harding said the industry will be able to deliver better pricing for customers with more robust data analysis. He points to the cross-subsidisation in the larger insurers, where about six Auckland policyholders are effectively paying more for their earthquake premiums to cover one Wellington policy, which carries greater risk.
"By having cross-subsidisation you're encouraging development in places where it shouldn't be developed," Harding said. "Should we be building commercial property on reclaimed land in Wellington harbour? Should we be allowing continued construction on 60-degree slopes on the Wellington foreshore?
"At the moment we do because there isn't a risk signal coming from the insurance industry saying that's not a viable thing to do."
Harding expects big data will let insurers move to more accurate pricing for risk, which will "mean unfortunately a higher cost in Wellington, but more affordable insurance for other people." That's a decision which will need wide societal input, "and is a challenge New Zealand will have to face up to in the next five years or so," he said.
That shift to a digital interface will also change the nature of Tower's workforce, something the insurer has been to develop over the past year. Harding said one of the biggest issues service staff have contended with is the duplicated systems and large suite of products, which has meant they spent less time focused on the customer.
Tower has been working on overhauling its culture from an old-school insurance firm to that of a "much more nimble challenger mindset", although Harding says they've "still got some way to go".
He doesn't anticipate a shock to the make-up of the workforce in the way some industries have been scaling back staff numbers to make way for automation, rather he wants to take staff "on a journey through as we change the company" where they can become more valuable to the customer.
"The shift that we want and the opportunity we see is how can we have a better connection with our customers, because our staff aren't being bogged down with our processes and the way the system works and are freed up to do more for the customer," Harding said. "That does require a greater level of capability and a change in people's expectations around work, but I think it gives them greater satisfaction and greater opportunity as well."
6 Nov - A New Zealand insurance underwriting agency is providing an exclusive cover for manufacturers which are facing major challenges in relation to recall of contaminated food and beverage products.
About 40 manufactured food products have been recalled so far this year, up from 25 for all of last year, Delta Insurance casualty manager Dinesh Murali says.
Delta Insurance is a New Zealand based insurance provider and has an office in Singapore. They provide a range of specialty commercial insurance products.
The New Zealand manufacturing sector is experiencing strong growth and is a standout on the international stage. Annual merchandise exports from New Zealand are almost $49 billion, according to Statistics NZ.
Murali says manufacturing for the construction industry has grown by 9.5 percent while meat and dairy has jumped by 8.36 percent in the last year.
“Our New Zealand climate and abundant natural resources make food manufacturing a good strategic choice. We have a particular strength in food manufacturing, but we have also seen growth across non-food manufacturing as well.
“Across all manufacturing segments we regularly outsource manufacturing processes and source components from overseas suppliers and this supports an efficient global supply chain. More competition means increased innovation and creating products in new and more efficient ways. But this also poses new challenges and risks in relation to quality control.
“Outside the food sector, we are also seeing a major trend where manufacturers are embedding technology into items such as equipment and machinery with these products becoming connected to the “internet of things. This gives rise to risks such as cyber security which was not previously a concern for these items.
“Given the increased and evolving risks, Delta is providing manufacturing-risk cover for Kiwi companies which we believe is the most comprehensive coverage solution in New Zealand.
“This cover under one umbrella targets both food and non-food manufacturers and insures a range of manufacturing-specific risks including coverage for product recall due to product defects and food contamination, cover for pollution arising from manufacturing process and crisis management cover. It can also be packaged with other coverages such as cyber liability.
“If Kiwi manufacturers choose not to take this cover then they run the risk of potential losses being uninsured which would affect their balance sheet and could, in a worse-case scenario, result in the financial ruin of their business.
“Beyond the direct financial impact, they could also suffer significant reputational damage if they do not have the resources and expertise to be able to manage some of these critical issues, such as product recall of contaminated products,” Murali says.
For further information contact Delta Insurance’s casualty manager Dinesh Murali on 027 7007951 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.
The NZ$36 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Fidelity Life, New Zealand’s largest Kiwi-owned life insurer, today announced a proposal for the Fund to take a minimum NZ$100 million, 41.1% cornerstone stake in Fidelity Life. The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, some of which require action from shareholders.
Fidelity Life Chair, Brian Blake, says securing the NZ Super Fund as a major shareholder will provide new capital which will enable the company to accelerate its growth strategy.
“Fidelity Life has experienced strong growth in recent years and this has outpaced our ability to fund the future rate of growth we’re aiming for without additional capital.”
“If our shareholders provide the necessary approval for the investment to proceed, the new capital will allow us to deliver on our future strategy providing strong, sustainable returns and growth over the long term,” said Mr Blake.
Fidelity Life is privately held by more than 150 shareholders. The proposed investment is to be made up of $75 million of new shares issued to the NZ Super Fund at $115 per share; and the acquisition of a minimum of $25 million of existing shares. As part of the acquisition of existing shares, eligible minority shareholders (including all New Zealand resident shareholders) will have the opportunity to sell some or all of their shares to the NZ Super Fund for $130 per share. This offer does not extend to the Company's majority shareholders. The NZ Super Fund will acquire shares from the Fidelity Family Trust at $115 per share.
“The NZ Super Fund is a great fit with Fidelity Life. We were both founded by Kiwis for Kiwis and are focussed on protecting the future for New Zealanders. The proposed investment represents a strong vote of confidence in Fidelity Life by New Zealand’s pre-eminent investor,” said Mr Blake.
NZ Super Fund Chief Investment Officer Matt Whineray said: “This is a rare opportunity for the Fund to take a significant direct stake in a New Zealand life insurance company. The additional capital we are providing will support Fidelity’s long-term growth plans.”
Independent advisers Simmons Corporate Finance have concluded that the value of the Fidelity Life shares involved in the proposed transaction is in the range of $110-$130 per share and that the total value of the company is between $198 million and $220 million.
“This is an exciting future step for Fidelity Life. We have come a long way since we were founded in 1973. We have more than 100,000 customers and our products are distributed via a network of 2,700 independent financial advisers and through strategic alliances. This new capital will enable us to build digital capability to support innovation, productivity and improved support for customers, advisers and our partners,” said Nadine Tereora, Chief Executive of Fidelity Life.
Fidelity Life’s Board is recommending shareholders support the investment. Shareholders, including the Fidelity Family Trust, will vote on changes to Fidelity Life’s constitution needed for the proposal to proceed at the company’s Annual Meeting on 12 December. If the constitution is altered and other conditions are met settlement will occur after then.
Shareholders can expect to receive their voting papers with the Notice of Meeting on 9 November.
About Fidelity Life
Fidelity Life is a New Zealand-owned insurance company with the purpose of protecting the New Zealand way of life. The company believes independent financial advice matters in ensuring Kiwis get access to the insurance protection they need. Fidelity Life distributes its products through a network of 2,700 independent financial advisers, as well as through strategic alliance partners, and employs around 300 staff across six offices. For more information please visit www.fidelitylife.co.nz
About The New Zealand Superannuation Fund
The $36 billion NZ Super Fund is a global investment fund that was established by the NZ Government to help pre-fund universal superannuation. A long-term, growth-oriented investor, the Fund has returned 10% p.a. since inception in 2003, and currently has around $5 billion invested in NZ, including significant stakes in Kaingaroa Timberlands, Datacom, Kiwibank and Metlifecare. For more information please visit www.nzsuperfund.co.nz
Acquires CommInsure and Sovereign, enters long-term distribution partnership with CBA and ASB
AIA announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire CommInsure in Australia and Sovereign in New Zealand. It will also enter into 20-year strategic bancassurance arrangements with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in Australia and ASB Bank (ASB) in New Zealand. Subject to regulatory approvals, the acquisition is expected to be completed in 2018.
The acquisition and partnership agreement will deliver a range of important benefits to AIA and our stakeholders, including:
It will make AIA the leading life insurer in both Australia and New Zealand’s profitable individual life protection segment It will be immediately accretive to AIA’s earnings It will add to AIA’s strength in retail and group insurance by materially expanding and strengthening AIA’s distribution capabilities and customer reach to CBA and ASB’s combined base of 13 million customers
AIA Australia and New Zealand CEO, Damien Mu said: “The scale and nature of the agreements with CBA and ASB represent an enormous step forward for AIA in the pursuit of our purpose to make a difference in people’s lives, and will significantly transform and expand our market leading presence in Australia and New Zealand.”
“By partnering with CBA and ASB, we can bring together the expertise of each organisation to further improve our offering to help champion Australia and New Zealand to be the healthiest and most protected nations in the world. This is an excellent outcome for all customers that we help not only through financial protection, but also by improving their health and wellbeing.”
Mr Mu said, “We have a strong history of building trusted, engaging and enduring partnerships with leading financial institutions in Australia, New Zealand and across the region. We look forward to welcoming our new team members from CommInsure and Sovereign in due course, and to building a successful partnership with CBA and ASB. We remain absolutely committed to our existing partners, and will be focused on ensuring that we continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for them and their customers.”
AIA Regional Chief Executive, Bill Lisle, said: “AIA Group is deeply committed to Australia and New Zealand and we are excited about our future in both markets, particularly in light of the highly attractive agreement we have announced today. We have a high performing and very experienced team in Australia and New Zealand, which is part of AIA Group, one of the largest and strongest life insurance companies in the world. We look forward to ensuring that the acquisition and bancassurance partnerships we have agreed to with CBA and ASB generate very positive and enduring benefits for our customers in both markets and indeed all of our stakeholders.”
Theresa Gattung, Chair of AIA Australia, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for AIA Australia to further strengthen our leading positions in both markets and to serve our customers. We have a great team, and we look forward to expanding on this with the Sovereign and CommInsure teams in due course, and building our partnership with CBA and ASB. I would also like to thank my fellow Board Members Peter Yates, Elizabeth Flynn and Paul Costello for their contribution and support during this time."
ABOUT AIA AUSTRALIA AIA Australia Limited is an independent life insurance specialist with over 40 years of experience building real and sustainable partnerships. The company employs over 900 people. AIA Australia offers a range of products that protect and enhance the lives of more than 3.3 million Australians and is widely recognised as a market leader in product innovation and development. In 2016, AIA Australia paid over 16,000 claims totalling over AUD$1.1 billion.
AIA Australia is the country’s second largest life insurer with a market share of 14.6% and total inforce premium of over AUD$2.3 billion. The company works closely with major financial institutions and corporate partners to provide life insurance solutions for their customers. AIA Australia is the number one group insurer by inforce premium. In addition, AIA Australia is the fastest growing provider of retail life insurance products sold through financial advisers, ranked number one for new business on a rolling 12 month basis, with a market share of 16.8%. AIA Australia also works with a network of affinity partners that distribute life insurance products. By having a partnership philosophy at the core of its business, AIA Australia is focused on building genuine relationships and delivering real value to its business partners.
In March 2014, AIA Australia introduced ‘Vitality’ – the world’s leading scientifically-backed health and wellness programme, to the Australian market. AIA Vitality aims to be the catalyst for real change to the positive health outcomes of Australians.
ABOUT AIA NEW ZEALAND AIA New Zealand is a member of the AIA Group and employs over 140 people. Since the company arrived in New Zealand in 1981, AIA New Zealand has consistently provided the market with innovative personal and business insurance products that suit the Kiwi way of life. Over the last quarter, AIA New Zealand led the market for new business sales in corporate solutions.
Today AIA offers a complete range of risk management products that focus on the needs of customers. AIA New Zealand is based in Auckland with regional offices in Wellington and Christchurch. However, through a network of financial advisers, AIA reaches every corner of the country.
AIA New Zealand is a member of the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman Scheme (ISO) and the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ). Standard and Poor’s reaffirmed AIA New Zealand’s insurer financial strength rating at AA- in June 2016. ABOUT AIA
AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or the “Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, Cambodia, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 49 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar.
The business that is now AIA was first established in Shanghai almost a century ago. It is a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region (ex-Japan) based on life insurance premiums and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It had total assets of US$200 billion as of 31 May 2017.
AIA meets the long-term savings and protection needs of individuals by offering a range of products and services including life insurance, accident and health insurance and savings plans. The Group also provides employee benefits, credit life and pension services to corporate clients. Through an extensive network of agents, partners and employees across Asia-Pacific, AIA serves the holders of more than 30 million individual policies and over 16 million participating members of group insurance schemes.
AIA Group Limited is listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the stock code “1299” with American Depositary Receipts (Level 1) traded on the over-the-counter market (ticker symbol: “AAGIY”).
The technology sector is booming in the South Island, especially Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Queenstown, Delta Insurance’s Karl Samson, the only liability underwriter on the ground in the South Island, says.
Delta offers much more than insurance for technology risks, they are recognised as market leaders in the broad Liability Insurance market and this ranges from very standard coverages such as Public Liability and Statutory Liability right through to more niche products such as UAV (Drone) insurance,” Samson says.
“But in particular, Delta’s offerings for technology and cyber liability are a great fit for key South Island technology companies. We are looking to really establish ourselves as a key partner for the technology sector and we’ve just signed up as member of Canterbury Tech to better get to know some of our customers and prospective customers.
“As well as being a leader in the technology sector, we were also the first in New Zealand to offer a local environmental and pollution risk solution which, covers increasing and problematic risks such asbestos and meth. This type of innovation sets us apart from the rest.
“This point of difference is leading to a better understanding of South Island businesses and brokers. We want to provide more effective solutions to South Island businesses – one example is the technology sector,” he says.
Delta is also New Zealand’s only risk management-led cyber insurance provider with a comprehensive panel of IT experts to help clients manage their cyber security risk. This includes access to a free pre-loss cyber risk assessment as well as access to experts in the event of a cyber-attack.
Delta director Ian Pollard says its vital they have someone on the ground such as Samson who is 100 percent aware of the requirements and issues facing brokers in the South Island.
Samson has 12 years’ industry experience, with recent roles at multinational brokerages dealing with a wide range of clients across the South Island, including sole traders, listed companies and government departments. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and Management from Lincoln University.
Inquirers back off one step short of the Supercat Issuers
The arrival of Erin Brokovich (pictured) in Christchurch and her call for those at the wrong end of insurance compensation to “speak up” about the injustice of it all is a further reminder of the obscure role in the earthquake aftermath of the global re-insurers.
Among the most powerful forces force in reinsurance is Berkshire Hathaway. It is considered within the industry to be the leader in supercats which is the category of reinsurance involved in major disasters such as the Christchurch earthquake.
Berkshire Hathaway sells sell policies that insurance and reinsurance companies purchase in order to limit their losses when mega-catastrophes strike.
The company is therefore the major reinsurer of reinsurers.
Though Mr Buffett in New Zealand is frequently the subject of admiring, some might say, adulatory, media coverage the matter of his involvement in these supercats is ignored out of either ignorance or out of fear. Or both.
The matter has similarly been too complex for politicians to contemplate at least openly.
Hurricanes and earthquakes are the two primary factors in the probabilities of supercats.
It is said that Mr Buffett’s supercat exposure can weather at any given time the eventuality of the calculable risk of up to four such eventualities.
Supercat insurance shares with the rest of the insurance sector one quite literally priceless advantage. Payments are received prior to the issue of the policy. In other words, cash up front.
This payment-in-advance gives the industry its cash float which in the case of the supercat sector is immense.
Therefore the following questions need to be asked:-
1. Who are the Christchurch reinsurers?
2. Who reinsures them?
3. Are the ultimate reinsurers solvent?
4. If so why are they not compensating the Christchurch home owners?
Instead the various debates have circled around the role of the primary insurers, the known insurers.
Erin Brokovich, formerly a California legal clerk, and the centrepiece of the eponymous film that starred Julia Roberts is roving ambassador for an Australian-based legal compensation practice.
As an environmental advocate she transcends the routine geomantic abstract preoccupation with global warming/carbon levels and by her presence fixes it upon the unpleasantness of ordinary people in the face of ambitions of big business.
Can Miss Brokovich now force into the light the identities of the entity or entities that hold the supercats over Christchurch and who decline to pay out on them?
| FRom The MSCNewsWire reporters' desk || Tuesday 11 April 2017 |||
Have you ever thought of applying the principle of “Caveat Emptor” when hiring a H&S advisor?
The other day I was chatting with a friend and he was telling me about a business associate who was rather concerned about the amount he was having to pay for his Health and Safety consultant along with the down time he was experiencing having being told that weekly H&S meetings were essential under the new Health and Safety at Work Act. Not to do so could see him incur expensive penalties.
What my freind could not understand was that a colleague of his, who is also a buisness owner, could get away with running just one H&S meeting a month.
It so happened that I was preparing an article on Caveat emptor and how important it is to take heed of this especially it in the area of health & safety. Effectivly he has no come back on the cosultant who prescribed the weekly meeting so enter Caveat emptor. Take time to work through the H&S swamp of nonprescriptive legislation with your consultant.
So if you are thinking of hiring an external H&S consultant or you already use one, I suggest you follow this link to my article. Hopefully you will gain from it.
|| A Hasmate release by Gordon Anderson | Wednesday 22 March 2017 |||
WorkSafe has developed a new online tool to help businesses get started with managing their workplace health and safety risks. The ‘Around the Block’ tool is animated and interactive, taking users on a journey through a typical city block.
Thirteen businesses often seen on a city block have been included so far – from cafes and hair salons, to medical centres and petrol stations. Clickable hotspots within each of the interiors identify some of the health and safety risks in that business and provide some information on how to manage them.
Over time, more business types will be added to the block, particularly targeting small and medium sized businesses that make up some 97% of the in New Zealand business landscape.
“Businesses have told us they want to better understand health and safety in their particular business context, so we worked with representative businesses to develop and test the tool. It’s designed to support them with training and involving workers in identifying and managing some of their key health and safety risks,” said Katherine Low, Manager Education and Engagement Strategy at WorkSafe.
The tool, www.worksafe.govt.nz/atb, was built by WorkSafe in collaboration with ACC to help businesses better understand their obligations under the new Health and Safety at Work Act from a risk management perspective.