An El Nino event, typically associated with heatwaves and bushfires in eastern Australia, could form later this year following the end to climate driver influences that have recently brought wet weather and flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued an El Nino Watch, meaning there’s a 50% chance of an event forming. This is twice the normal likelihood.

“An El Nino Watch is not a guarantee that El Nino will occur; rather it is an indication that some of the typical precursors of an event are currently observed,” the bureau says.

The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) monitored by climate models reflects swings between La Nina and El Nino conditions, based on changes observed in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Australia’s third-consecutive La Nina event has now ended with atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the Pacific having returned to neutral levels.

Gary Okely


Gary Okely has been appointed President of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) after the departure of Dianne Phelan, whose term concluded in February.

Mr Okely, pictured, has served as NIBA vice president since early last year and was replaced in that role by Steadfast EGM Partner, Broker Services & Agencies Nick Cook.

Ms Phelan, who remains on the NIBA board as a director, said Mr Okely has “great ideas to help our industry progress” and she is excited by the prospect of supporting him.

NIBA CEO Phil Kewin congratulated the new appointments and acknowledged Ms Phelan for her “significant contribution” to NIBA as president.

“We understand the challenging environment. However, we are deeply concerned that firms are not meeting their Internal Dispute Resolution and External Dispute Resolution obligations – particularly in insurance.”

Australian Financial Complaints Authority Chief Ombudsman and
CEO David Locke addresses rising complaints and dispute delays.


Youi long-term employee Nathaniel Simpson has been appointed CEO, taking over the top job in July from Hugo Schreuder, who moves to the Youi board from next year.

Sunshine Coast-based Mr Simpson is currently Chief Product Officer. A qualified actuary, he has worked at Youi and its South Africa-based parent company Outsurance Group for 17 years.

Mr Schreuder, who also lives on the Sunshine Coast, was Youi’s founding CEO in 2008 after joining Outsurance in 2003. He was appointed to the board of the Insurance Council of Australia in December.

“I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Hugo for his exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to Youi,” said David Foster, who became Youi Chairman at the start of this year, taking over from Campbell Corfe who stays on as Non-Executive Director.


The Federal Government should move to a rolling 10-year resilience funding program, given climate change and natural disaster impacts, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says in a pre-Budget submission.

The Albanese Government’s first Budget in October last year delivered up to $200 million a year in Federal investment for five years through the Disaster Ready Fund (DRF). State and territory agencies apply for matching funding for projects under the scheme.

“Given the long-term challenges posed by worsening extreme weather in Australia, investment in disaster resilience will clearly be required well beyond the 2028-29 end date for budgeted DRF spending,” ICA’s submission says.

Moving to a rolling 10-year program, as with funding for land transport infrastructure and defence spending, would help communities and governments to plan and develop a pipeline of investments. The funding should also be indexed for inflation, it says.


Australians looking for new homes are prioritising good coffee and dining options over wild weather and bushfire threats in their new postcodes, IAG-owned NRMA Insurance says in a new report.

Only 26.6% who have recently moved or are planning to relocate have researched their new property’s vulnerability to wild weather risks, placing it equal last with recreation and entertainment options on a list of nine considerations that Australians will include in their checklist before deciding on a new address.

Local cafe and dining choices placed seventh, on 27.2%, while affordability tops the list, at 78.2%, followed by public transport and convenience (40.2%), healthcare facilities access (35.7%), outdoor lifestyle factors (35.4%), quality/proximity of education facilities (34.6%) and crime rates (31.9%).
NRMA Insurance says the survey findings are worrying.

“After the devastating severe weather Australia has experienced in the past few years, we were surprised when our latest research found that most Australians consider property vulnerability to wild weather a lower priority than local cafes and restaurants, when moving homes,” EGM Direct Claims Luke Gallagher said.