The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has launched a cyclone awareness campaign designed to help the general public understand cyclone warnings.
With El Niño currently in affect, the BOM released its cyclone forecast last month with numbers expected to be down on historical averages but BOM deputy director, Rob Webb, said the likelihood of severe weather events rapidly increases through spring and summer.
"While the strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean reduces the chances of an unusually active cyclone season, it’s not the number well remember, it’s the impacts," Webb said.
"Even one tropical cyclone can have a significant impact, particularly if it makes landfall in a heavily populated region, or an area vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.”
The awareness campaign sees the launch of an informative video that stresses the importance of preparedness alongside a breakdown of the different intensities of cyclone.
Webb noted that, even in El Niño years, cyclones remain a major threat to Australia and urged the public to stay alert and prepared.
"Enjoy the Australian summer, but make sure you keep one eye on the weather and be ready to act,” Webb continued.
“There has always been at least one cyclone cross the Australian coast each year, including during El Niño seasons. Typically eleven tropical cyclones form in the Australian region during the November to April cyclone season, and four of these make landfall.”
Insurer Zurich clarifies NZ situation after job cut announcement
Following news that Zurich’s Australian business could see a ‘number of redundancies in its general insurance business’, the insurer has stated that its New Zealand operation will not be affected.
The announcement regarding the Australian operations was made this week after reports that the insurer was looking to cut jobs in the UK following a 78% dip in profits while its international CEO, Martin Senn, also faces the chopping block.
Rajbir Nanra, interim CEO of Zurich General Insurance, Australia & New Zealand, said that the potential cuts would improve efficiency in the country.
“The potential job losses are part of a program to improve operational efficiency to support Zurich’s strategy and growth plans in Australia,” Nanra said.
The company also said it had ‘actively managed’ people-related costs for the last six months by not replacing available roles in the business to have as limited an impact on current staff as possible.
Nanra said company strategy had been evolved to ‘support, meet and exceed our broker and customer needs into the future’.
The company has now confirmed to Insurance Business that consultation with employees in Australia had commenced regarding the changes to its organisational structure but stressed: “Zurich's New Zealand operation is not impacted by this announcement.”
Towers Watson delays Willis vote
Towers Watson & Co. postponed a shareholder meeting on the proposed merger with insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Plc as the consulting firm seeks to counter opposition to the planned US$8.7 billion deal.
The meeting will be Friday in Miami Beach, Florida, rather than Wednesday, the consulting firm said in a statement distributed by Business Wire.
Towers Watson shares fell 8.8 percent on June 30, the day the Willis deal was announced, stoking shareholder criticism that Chief Executive Officer John Haley settled for too low of a bid. Proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co. recommended that the consulting company’s shareholders vote against the deal that investor Driehaus Capital Management LLC had derided as a “takeunder.”
“Proxies previously submitted will be voted at the reconvened meeting unless properly revoked,” Towers Watson said in the statement. “Stockholders who have not already voted or wish to change their vote are encouraged to do so.”
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