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Morning Briefing July 22: Damning review finds insurance sector lacking

A damning review of the insurance sector is released, the Government confirms MIQ is here to stay for some time yet, and there's fresh warnings over the strain felt by the country's hospitals. 

Source: istock.com

Overcharged, double charged or not receiving promised discounts – all are problems insurance customers are facing, a damning review of the insurance sector has found.

The Financial Markets Authority surveyed 42 insurance companies to check if they are prepared for an upcoming new conduct licensing regime – and found 95 per cent of fire and general insurers are acting “well below” expectations.

Now, thousands of insurance customers may soon find a bit of extra cash in their bank account with some companies being forced to pay them back for incorrect charges. 

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MIQ set to stay some time 

Fully vaccinated travellers to New Zealand can expect two weeks in managed isolation for the foreseeable future, with Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins saying the country is “quite a way” from any changes to MIQ.

He says the Government is considering alternatives like people isolating at home or for shorter periods in isolation facilities, but the current system is expected to remain in place until at least early next year. 

Auckland University Professor of Medicine Des Gorman criticised that decision, telling RNZ’s Checkpoint leaving MIQ requirements unchanged for that long is “illogical”.

He says using alternative isolation for low-risk people could relieve the current stress on MIQ facilities. 

Meanwhile, the Government has extended the pause in quarantine-free travel with South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

The decision comes as Sydney’s tougher lockdown fails to make much impact on the city’s Covid caseload. Another 110 cases were confirmed there yesterday, with 40 per cent of them out in the community while infectious. 

Brisbane wins Olympic bid

The Olympics are heading Down Under once again with Brisbane confirmed as host of the 2032 Games.

The Queensland capital’s selection is expected to have flow-on benefits for New Zealand – and not just in sport

Otago University professor James Higham says the Games will have other benefits through tourism and the potential hosting of teams at training and sport facilities.

He says New Zealand needs a well-organised leveraging strategy to take full advantage of the 2032 Olympics. 

Brisbane’s selection as host city comes as Tokyo’s Games begin under the cloud of Covid-19.

But the head of the World Health Organization told officials yesterday the event shouldn’t be judged by the tally of coronavirus cases that arise because eliminating the risk is impossible. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says how those infections are handled is what matters most.

Hospitals hammered through winter

A paediatrician at Starship Children's Hospital is warning a third wave of sick children will overwhelm the nation’s already struggling hospitals.

Dr Cameron Grant says Starship has been dealing with surges in RSV, as well as waves of adolescents presenting with “really serious mental health problems”.

He also warns a surge in whooping cough and measles is around the corner due to lower vaccination rates, which “will kill children”. 

Grant says Starship is full and wants to send babies back to other hospitals – but they’re also full.

His comments come as the Bay of Plenty becomes the latest region to grapple with overwhelming demand in its hospitals.

A state of emergency has been declared at Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals, with experts warning there could be even more pressure on services still to come.

Epiha denies 'hunting' officer

The man who admits killing Constable Matthew Hunt but denies trying to kill his partner has taken the stand in his own defence.

Eli Epiha has told the court his original intention that day was to protect his family from gang violence. He says he only fired a warning shot at Constable David Goldfinch.

The court also heard from Natalie Bracken yesterday, the woman who helped Epiha escape the scene.

Their trial continues today.

Other news of note this morning:

- Fiji has again reported more than 1000 new Covid cases, as well as 21 new Covid-related deaths, including two pregnant women.

- Severe flooding in railway tunnels in China has trapped passengers in rising waters and left 12 people dead.

- New concerns have emerged about safety at food manufacturing giant, Talley’s. 

- An Auckland University professor who hasn’t seen his husband for 18 months is taking the Immigration Minister and chief executive of MBIE to the High Court.

- China's embassy has summoned New Zealand officials to a meeting after the Government voiced criticism of state-funded hacking.

- The Government’s Three Waters reforms hinge on Auckland’s participation, according to the National Party. 

- New Zealand’s Olympic campaign got off to a tough start last night as the Football Ferns lost to Australia.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' expression of gratitude following his trip to space has drawn criticism

- And Lorde has released a new single from her upcoming album, a song called Stoned at the Nail Salon

And finally...

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