Weekly Wrap: Quarterly report reveals Gvmt scheme benefits

Weekly Wrap: Quarterly report reveals Gvmt scheme benefits | Insurance Business

Weekly Wrap: Quarterly report reveals Gvmt scheme benefits
Quarterly report reveals Gvmt scheme benefits
The latest quarterly report released by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has shown that the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is on time and on budget.

The report shows that more than 19, 700 people are now using NDIS with more than $1.2 billion invested in services and equipment.

CEO of NDIA, David Bowen, said that the scheme is on track to help more and more Australians as the roll-out continues.

“The Scheme is making a real difference to the lives of people with disability, their families and carers,” Bowen said.

“From July next year the NDIS will roll out more widely across Australia. Ultimately, around 460,000 Australians, their families and carers will benefit from the NDIS.”

Bowen stressed that the quarterly report is an important milestone as it shows how the scheme is tracking.

“The report shows that the NDIS is being delivered on time and on budget,” Bowen said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the Scheme’s roll-out to ensure the NDIS is sustainable for generations to come.”

Aussie insurance recruiter Ensure targets NZ
Australia’s number one insurance recruiter, Ensure Recruitment, has opened its doors in Auckland to fill what it says has been a gap in the NZ market.

The boutique recruiter, which focuses on the more specialist, technical positions in the market, realised there was good reason to establish the business after doing some work over here for some clients from Australia.

General manager for the New Zealand office, Hamish McDonald, said the team had been quietly working away in the few months since setting up their Parnell office.

“Our proposal to our clients is to partner with them. We want to be an extension of their brand and their business offering so we’ve been reasonably slow and deliberate in how we’ve approached the market but it’s grown well.”

He added: “We’re not looking for the volume of the transactional recruitment model. We’re looking to be more like a technical specialist and partner to the insurance companies.”

He said the team did a lot of research on candidate pools to work out where the up and coming talent was, and were proactive in matching the right people to the right businesses.

McDonald said so far in New Zealand Ensure had operated predominantly across the life and general insurance markets but was planning to dovetail into the broking markets, advisory markets and associative areas such as travel and health.

Ensure is not the only self-described specialist insurance recruiter to target the New Zealand market in 2015 as Stirling Andersen opened its doors at the beginning of the year.

McDonald, who has been in recruitment in New Zealand since 2003, said insurance often came second to the banks and broader financial services however.

“Because of that there is less knowledge around what the needs of the companies are, firstly to understand what the roles are they’re recruiting for and critically, sourcing the right people with the right technical skills.

“So I think there’s enough happening in the market to warrant players like us but it’s more because we have a narrow niche focused solely on insurance.

“Typically it’s in areas where insurance companies have tended to struggle. They have a tendency to approach people from other organisations directly themselves, or go through their networks, and our offering is to present a broader range of network to choose people from.”

He said having their trans-Tasman offering was appealing too. There had been a few New Zealanders returning home after long stints in Australia as well as Australians looking to come to New Zealand.

Ensure also had an Asian offering in Hong Kong therefore covering a good flow of talent around the Asia Pacific region.

Willis defends Towers Watson deal, speaks out against detractors
Willis Group reacted negatively to a recommendation from an advisory firm last week to Towers Watson stockholders to reject its planned merger with the insurance broker.

Proxy firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. told shareholders of Towers Watson & Co. that the proposed merger with Willis, valued at US$18 billion, was not in the company’s best interests – although it would benefit Willis.

ISS believes Towers Watson shareholders are being asked to accept too low a price for the merger, in view of the company’s strong balance sheet and growth prospects. The firm pointed particularly to Towers Watson’s health-exchange business, which helps companies connect their employees with insurance policies, as a source of future growth.

ISS also suggested the fact that the company had not negotiated with any other potential buyers other than Willis was a sign that the merger was not well advised.

“Although the potential long-term benefits of the deal appear compelling, it is not at all clear that realizing those opportunities necessitates taking a steep discount,” ISS wrote in a report in anticipation of the November 18 vote.

Now Willis is hitting back, defending its offer for Towers Watson as fair and the future growth prospects of the merged company as bright.

“We believe that this perspective neglects the estimated US$4.7 billion in incremental value for shareholders that we expect through clearly identified cost, tax and revenue synergies,” said Willis CEO Dominic Casserley. “We respectfully disagree with the conclusion reached by ISS.”

The company statement continued, saying the broker is “pleased that ISS recognizes the strategic merits and long-term benefits of the merger.”

“However, we are disappointed with their conclusion that Towers Watson shareholders should not support the merger.”

Towers Watson also said in a news release that it disagreed with the ISS conclusion, saying the advisory firm did not credit “the significant long-term value creation potential of the proposed merger with Willis.”

“We firmly believe that the combination with Willis is in the best interest of our shareholders and remain committed to successfully completing the transaction,” the company said.

Recommendations from proxy advisory firms are taken seriously, the Wall Street Journal noted, especially when stockholders are split in their decisions.

The final stockholder vote on the merger is scheduled for November 18.