More than one way to be under the weather

Severe weather, such as the storms which flooded Roxburgh recently, continues to cost those with...
Severe weather, such as the storms which flooded Roxburgh recently, continues to cost those with insurance policies a lot of money. Just don’t ask the Insurance Council for a straight answer. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
I’m tired and grumpy. The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day, but I’m looking forward to getting my late shift over and done with, and getting home to bed. At the time of writing there’s still nine hours to go though.

Isn’t it weird how some days your energy levels are low and you feel out of synch, often for no apparent reason?

In my case though, I know why I’m feeling below par. Admission time, I’m just getting over whooping cough, which I’ve learnt is not something you should really bother telling people, judging by the reaction of some and the feeling you get of being somehow "dirty".

Initially, I had asthma and bad bronchitis, but by the time they diagnosed pertussis it was too late to do anything about lessening its effects. I’ve never been so sick in my life. It’s now more than two months since I began coughing, so I’m told it should finally clear in the next month or so. And my voice has just about recovered.

Anyway, I’m tired and grumpy because I woke up coughing about 2am yesterday  and couldn’t get back to sleep until the first birds were tweeting away merrily outside about 4.30am.

Until now I’ve always been a good sleeper. I’ve never worried about insomnia, and have been lucky not to have to think of ways to occupy sleepless hours. Now I have a great deal of sympathy for those regularly up in the night.

Being sick and unable to sleep has been very good for my reading prowess — I’ve rattled my way through plenty of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo crime novels, and even had a go at Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. But I’ve also watched plenty of stupid stuff on YouTube to pass the hours.

Probably best not to ask Arthur Daley for one of his special insurance policies. Photo: ODT
Probably best not to ask Arthur Daley for one of his special insurance policies. Photo: ODT

So I’d like to ask all the insomniacs out there, how do you fill in time when zzzzzz seems unlikely? Keep your answers seemly please.

Sometimes, when you’re having an off day, there really isn’t much you can do about it.I knew things were stacked against me today when the soles of my shoes got stuck to the pavers at the University of Otago at lunchtime and I literally could not move or walk off — I’m sure someone must have been pouring honey over the ground. Then I got to work and accidentally dropped four of those effervescent energy tablets into my glass of water instead of one. I took one sip and that was my allowance of sugar for the next 10 years. Could be the cure for the lack of energy though.


Here’s another reason for grumpiness — people avoiding answering the simplest of questions. Did anyone else see Insurance Council of New Zealand chief executive Tim Grafton on the television news on Wednesday night? He was asked several times if the huge payouts for weather-related claims in the past year would mean an increase in people’s premiums. And several times he threw it back on to the reporter (and viewers), saying he’d let him work that out for himself.

For goodness sake, why not just answer the question? Why be difficult and obstructive? Everyone knows the answer is most likely "yes" anyway.

‘Clam Assurance’

I was watching an episode of Minder yesterday morning. The crafty Arthur Daley was selling insurance to go with his motors underwritten by "Clam Assurance", a "very respectable company" based in the Channel Islands, he said. I wonder what Clam’s cover for weather is like?


From a submission to a government report on fuel prices: Z Energy said it was "open to a conversation around the point of how to encourage a more liquid wholesale market".

Caroline, of Dunedin, has collected many gems over the years. Here’s one: "He said eyeballs were migrating to the digital arena where there were proliferating and lower, or even zero, cost choices."

Last word for the week

That’s not a seal barking. That’s me coughing. Have a good weekend. Sleep well.


Paul, as a representative of many insurers, I cannot state that prices will rise or go down as this could be seen by the Commerce Commission as reflective of collusive pricing behaviour. It is for each individual insurer to determine their appetite for risk and how they want to price it. We advise the media this all the time, but it doesn't stop the question being asked nor the limits to which it can be answered. Those who know me over the years will know I do not obfuscate and front the media no matter the issue.