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DIGITAL REPORT 2020

ACHMEA AUSTRALIA EMBRACES DIGITAL TO KEEP FARMERS FARMING IN ASSOCIATION WITH


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ACHMEA AUSTRALIA EMBRACES DIGITAL TO KEEP FARMERS FARMING 03

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ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

Emma Thomas, CEO of Achmea Australia, discusses the importance of meeting the changing needs of Australian agribusiness through a digital transformation

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chmea Australia is committed to helping agribusinesses protect their livelihoods and business continuity. It understands

the power of embracing digital innovation to reach new heights, without compromising on the value of face-to-face service to deliver on its purpose of keeping farmers farming. 04

The insurer is part of the wider Achmea Group, which began 200 years ago in the Netherlands with 39 farmers cooperating together to collect money in a glass jar, to compensate each other in the event of a haystack fire. From there, the Achmea Group became a global insurance brand. With 14,500 employees in the Netherlands and 2,500 internationally, the Achmea Group supports the lives of 13 million people in six countries. Through its brands, the Achmea Group has supported the Netherlands in becoming the world’s second largest agricultural exporter Emma Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Achmea Australia. Passionate about accelerating its sustainable business growth, Emma says through cherishing Achmea’s cooperative heritage, Achmea Australia has ensured


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ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

“WE DISTINGUISH OURSELVES IN THE MARKET THROUGH OUR HISTORY; OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS PARAMOUNT” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia 06

that helping agribusinesses and supporting their communities continues to be at the heart of its strategy. “We distinguish ourselves in the market through our history; our social responsibility is paramount,” she explains. “We are a direct insurer, which means agribusinesses can partner directly with us, the insurer for their farm insurance, as opposed to purchasing insurance products through a broker or another third party. Through this direct relationship, we offer Australian agribusinesses an insurance product that is built on 200 years’ expertise, whilst providing local on-farm service. Our purpose is to keep farmers farming; we exist to protect the continuity of farming businesses and the livelihood of farmers – as we have been since 1811.” Achmea Australia has made a long-term investment in its digital transformation, with its digital initiatives translating into increased agility and speed for the entire organisation. As the world confronts the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Achmea Australia’s digital strategy enabled the company to move quickly


Lending farmers a hand for over 200 years CLICK TO WATCH

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07 to transition employees from its office

Having grown up on her family’s farm

buildings and to work from their homes.

in the Otago region of New Zealand,

“Through the integration of technology

Emma has built a comprehensive

into all areas of the business, we have

understanding and passion for agricul-

built capacity for crisis resiliency. This

ture that she combines with more than

meant that we were in good shape to

20 years’ experience in the financial

accommodate this shift to remote work-

services industry. “As a child, when I

ing, whilst continuing to manage service

wasn’t at school, I was on my grandpar-

delivery without service disruptions to

ents’ merino sheep farm. Later I moved

our clients. COVID-19 has changed the

with my husband to a small farm on the

way we work, and it has underscored

Kapiti Coast, where we brought up our

the business continuity mandate. With

children,” she says. “We lived on our

secure and flexible cloud solutions, we

farm while I held several senior roles

can continue to service our clients from

spanning from finance to sales at a

anywhere – and at any time.”

large rural insurer in New Zealand.” w w w.a c hme a . com . a u


ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

08 In 2017, Emma moved to Sydney

of seeing the results of hard work and

to begin her role as CEO of Achmea

appropriately balancing opportunity

Australia, and instantly felt her personal

and sustainable risk management,”

purpose aligned with the company’s

she affirms.

values. “I am passionate about continu-

Achmea Australia has experienced

ing Achmea’s co-operative principles,”

rapid growth over the past few

she says. “I come to work each day

years. Having begun in Australia in

and proudly support a sector and

2013 with just two executives and a

country that helps feed not only the

couple of laptops, it is now achieving

nation but the world.” Emma believes

double-digit year-on-year growth.

that her personal family history is a

“Over the last three years, we have

major driving factor in how she lives

embarked on a journey of digital

her life today. “I have a love for the land.

transformation, our startup culture

This is where my personal values were

has evolved into a disrupter in the

shaped to appreciate the satisfaction

agricultural insurance industry,”


says Emma. “Since joining Achmea

With digital transformation playing

Australia, I have led the team to dou-

an increasingly prominent role across

ble the size of the business based

all industries, Emma says technology

on employee numbers and turnover.

is a core part of Achmea Australia’s

Achmea Australia has been a final-

growth strategy. “We have planned

ist in the Australian Direct Insurer

ahead to ensure a strong technol-

of the Year for 2018 and 2019 (by

ogy foundation for our future. It was

the Australian and New Zealand

important for us to differentiate

Institute of Insurance and Finance),

ourselves in the competitive insur-

and last year we were rated five

ance industry and speed-to-market

stars for our claims service by LMI

and enhancing service delivery were

ClaimsComparison.”

critical business drivers for us. 09

E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E :

Emma Thomas Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: Achmea Australia Industry: Insurance

Location: Australia

As Chief Executive Officer, Emma leads Achmea Australia’s rapid growth as a direct and specialist farm insurer. Having recently delivered a significant modernisation of its insurance technology platform, Emma is proud to continue Achmea’s co-operative principles which are underpinned by continued innovation, excellence in customer service and working together with industry partners to build a ‘better tomorrow’. Her credentials include: Chartered Accountant, CA ANZ, ANZIIF Senior Associate, Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Diploma for Graduates in Management (University of Otago, NZ). Passionate about continued personal development, Emma recently became a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. w w w.a c hme a . com . a u


ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

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“PARTNERSHIPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER AND INTEGRATED OFFERINGS ARE GAINING IN POPULARITY THROUGH THE EFFECTIVE USE OF DATA” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia

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We help Achmea know and serve farmers better. guidewire.com


“I COME TO WORK EACH DAY AND PROUDLY SUPPORT A SECTOR AND COUNTRY THAT HELPS FEED NOT ONLY THE NATION BUT THE WORLD” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia “What we look for in a strategic

Guidewire Software, Inc. has not only given us a competitive edge, it has also enabled us to differentiate ourselves and grow by adapting to the changing needs of our clients. This, in turn, has enabled us to employ more people in regional Australia, focus on mutually beneficial partnerships with agricultural associations and help to realise our vision of protecting and enhancing agricultural communities.” Despite the considerable growth

partnership is an alignment of cultural

and focus on digital transformation,

values, in which each partner has a

Emma affirms that its people remain

clear role to play. As an insurer with

the lifeblood of the organisation.

co-operative values, we take a long-

“Along with a cloud-based telephony

term approach, choosing to partner

system, the successful deployment of

with Guidewire Software, Inc based

our cloud-based policy administration

on a shared understanding of strate-

and underwriting solution has allowed

gic needs and priorities for innovation.

us to focus on developing our people,

They have provided us with a state-of-

so that they in turn can concentrate on

the art, intuitive, cloud-based policy

delivering the best service possible

administration and underwriting sys-

to our clients.”

tem. Achmea Australia and Guidewire

“In a time of accelerating change,

Software, Inc both share a passion for

I am inspired by the positive mindset

enabling the growth of their clients,

of our people and how we are working

meaning we seek to understand their

together with our partners to actively

needs and determine how to best serve

think outside the box, present innova-

them. Partnering with first-class tech-

tive ideas and business adaptation,”

nology service providers, including

she continues. “We are working together w w w.a c hme a . com . a u

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ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

“I AM INSPIRED BY THE POSITIVE MINDSET OF OUR PEOPLE AND HOW WE ARE WORKING TOGETHER WITH OUR PARTNERS TO ACTIVELY THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX TO DELIVER ON OUR PURPOSE” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia

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in challenging times, and by adapting and embracing digital opportunities, I am confident we will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.” Emma believes that Achmea Australia is not just an insurer, but also a disrupter that delivers a farm insurance product to meet the evolving needs of Australian agribusinesses. “Instead of only providing an insurance solution, our focus on both digital optimisation and on-farm service has enabled us to service our clients, both now and into the future. Through our direct approach, we discuss with our clients how they can proactively prevent the types of losses we have seen in our 200 years of international experience and local rural knowledge, and what impacts to consider should they need to rebuild after a loss,” she says. “We talk to our clients about what risks they can prevent without insurance, and then for the remaining risks, our clients have the ability to tailor our cover so they can insure what they want and how they want it. Through our direct distribution model, we can meet faceto-face with our clients to discuss the w w w.a c hme a . com . a u

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ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

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needs and requirements unique to

help our clients to limit climate-related

their farm.”

damage on the one hand (adaptation)

Emma believes Achmea Australia’s

and on the other support them in

proactive and innovative approach

reducing their carbon footprint (miti-

gives the insurer an edge over com-

gation). We must work together on

petitors in the industry. “We are

a healthier, safer and more future-

continually looking for ways we can

proof society. At Achmea Australia,

stay ahead of the market. We research

we do this in a committed, customer-

methodologies and invest in tools and

driven and results-oriented way and

expertise so we can help our clients

it doesn’t get much more important

by providing insight and solutions,”

than our core company values. One

explains Emma. “As an insurer, we

of these is “we aim for solutions” which

are looking at offering services that

is all about innovation and looking


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“OUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION HAS MEANT GREATER EFFICIENCY FOR OUR PEOPLE AND BETTER SERVICE OUTCOMES FOR OUR CLIENTS” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia

outside the box for a solution that is a win-win for both our clients and the Achmea Group.” Sharing information and ideas, particularly during these difficult economic times, can help to transform businesses, elevate performance and deliver value according to Emma. Achmea Australia values its partnerships and affirms that in collaboration with its partners, the insurer is continuously seeking innovative solutions that strengthen its business proposition as much as w w w.a c hme a . com . a u


ACHMEA AUSTRALIA

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possible. “To meet today’s global chal-

From August 2019 to January 2020,

lenges, partnerships are more important

Australia experienced an unprec-

than ever. Integrated offerings are

edented bushfire emergency which

gaining in popularity through the effec-

burned more than 18 million hectares

tive use of data,” she explains. “How

of land and destroyed thousands of

we remain relevant as a partner to our

homes and businesses. Tragically,

clients, true to our purpose whilst agile

34 people lost their lives and up to

in solving the new problems that our cli-

one billion native animals were lost.

ents face, will ensure Achmea Australia

Achmea Australia’s people witnessed

continues to strive as a business.

first-hand the devastation caused

We cherish our cooperative principles

in communities across the coun-

that we can achieve more by working

try. “The destruction caused by the

together for a sustainable future.”

catastrophic bushfires has served to


“WE UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS, WITHOUT COMPROMISING ON THE VALUE OF FACE-TO-FACE SERVICE TO KEEP FARMERS FARMING” — Emma Thomas, CEO, Achmea Australia

With the future in mind, Emma has a clear idea of how her organisation can continue to grow over the next few years and help agribusinesses do what

remind us of the essential nature of

they do best. “The digitalisation of

food security, reinforcing the value of

agriculture is seen as the next (fourth)

the agriculture sector and the impor-

agricultural revolution, it is trust, trans-

tance of insurance for continuity of

parency and relevance that will keep

supply,” explains Emma. “Our insur-

farmers farming,” she says. “Through

ance platform enables our people to

this revolution, we will continue to

focus on what we do best: stand shoul-

walk side-by-side with our clients and

der-to-shoulder with our clients to

communities, using our international

rebuild livelihoods and get farms back

expertise and local knowledge to aim

up and running again when something

for solutions to emerging problems.

unexpected happens.

I am passionate about accelerating

“It is being recognised that Achmea Australia’s focus on both digital opti-

our sustainable business growth as a direct insurer.”

misation and on-farm service is truly something special. We understand the power of technology to reach new heights, which has allowed us to respond to the challenges arising from COVID-19, without compromising on the value of face-to-face service to keep farmers farming.” w w w.a c hme a . com . a u

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LEVEL 6 AUSTR ALIA SQUARE PL A Z A BUILDING 87-95 PITT STREET SYDNEY NSW 2000 AUSTR ALIA T 1800 724 214 www.achmea.com.au

P0WERED BY

Profile for Business Review Asia

Achmea Australia June 2020  

Achmea Australia June 2020