Down Under
Feb 22, 2017

LEAD STORY

The insurance head of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) put directors of insurance companies on notice that they could be in breach of their director duties if they fail to incorporate climate change risks into their financial models and disclose the risks they face.

 

 

 

 

 

LANDMARK SPEECH

In a speech to the Insurance Council of Australia Annual Forum last week, APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes explicitly addressed that some climate risks are distinctly financial in nature, foreseeable, and must be considered and managed. This is the first time an Australian financial authority has clearly indicated climate risk is a concern for financial institutions.

 

THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that for the third straight year that Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016.

 

CALIFORNIA FLOODING

California residents in the Northern and Central area were ordered to evacuate last week among flood warnings. As California shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges, massive rainfall has strained its dams, rivers, and levees. The state ordered 188,000 residents to evacuate after a near-disaster at the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the US, when the infrastructure of a spillway failed from the stress of the reservoir filled to capacity. Large regions in California are on track to experience their wettest winter on record. Let's hope the Golden state gets some sun soon.

Internet Of Things

CYBER ATTACK

An unnamed university experienced a major hack into its network through more than 5,000 connected devices on campus last year, according to a preview of Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Digest report. The college campus was hit by an internet of things (IoT) botnet, which took control over everything from light bulbs to vending machines. The study reported that proper security testing is the underlying problem with IoT devices and many of these devices are rarely patched or updated.

 

THE ALLIANCE

Telecom companies, such as AT&T, IBM, and Nokia, announced they are joining forces to research and raise awareness to better secure the IoT segment. Dubbed the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance, they will engagewith policymakers and other organizations to guide security standards and policies. IoT devices and services are expected to hit $2 trillion this year. Think about the devices in your organization and your home - how connected are you?

Making Our Way Around The Country

A NEW SPARC IN WASHINGTON

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced the Secondary Payer Advancement, Rationalization, and Clarification Act (SPARC Act - H.R. 1122) into the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The SPARC Act delivers clear rules on when Part D Plans would be obligated to pay insured claims with a Medicare beneficiary. The SPARC mitigates the “pay and chase” concept. Part D plans would not expend unnecessary funds recouping funds improperly paid to beneficiaries. Under the SPARC Act, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), whose anticipated new chief faced Senate confirmation hearings last week, must share Medicare reporting data with Part D plans within 15 days of receipt through an online portal to expedite settlements. We are advocating for the SPARC Act in Washington, and will most certainly keep you apprised of the bill's progress this term.

 

FLORIDA

The Florida Division of Workers' Compensation released an online insurance company database to assist Florida business owners with obtaining workers' compensation coverage in the Sunshine State. The new online database, launched by The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) is called the Coverage Assistance Program (CAP). It allows employers to search for insurance companies that are actively offering workers' compensation policies for their industry type.

 

FLU SEASON

Flu season is hitting its peak in 43 states - including Illinois and my household. With more than 14,000 cases nationwide each week, including 5 in my house, the flu causes U.S. workers to lose up to 111 million workdays at an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity. Good luck and be healthy out there.

About The Way

The Way is Gallagher Bassett's weekly governmental briefing on state and federal affairs that affect our industry. We thank you for starting your Wednesday morning with us. Please be sure to follow #GBTheWay for additional news and updates as we make our way throughout the country on the issues affecting our industry. For more information, please connect with GB on LinkedIn, follow us on Twitter, or contact the authors, Greg McKenna or Cari Miller, directly.

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