Emma Thomas is our Chief Executive Officer. Backed by more than 20 years’ experience in the agricultural and financial services industries, Emma is passionate about Achmea’s purpose to keep farmers farming to help protect their business continuity and livelihoods.
By Emma Thomas
Back in 1811, it was 39 pairs of community-minded hands that put money in a glass jar to establish a mutual insurance company of Dutch farmers.
Now, as one of the world’s largest cooperative insurers, many of our people still have their origins from the land, including myself.
My passion for farming started on my grandparents’ merino sheep farm in the high country in Central Otago, New Zealand. During the second World War in 1942, my grandmother, along with 4,000 other women across New Zealand, was enlisted for “essential work” on the land.
Without the luxuries of today’s farm machinery, these “Land Girls” kept the country’s wheels turning while the men went to serve in the war.
With my grandmother a trailblazing inspiration, I grew up to recognise that women can do anything they set their mind to.
My father also didn’t move to far from farming and after an extensive career in agricultural insurance, my parents realised their dream and purchased a deer and sheep farm in Riverton, Southland.
I spent many days on farm supporting the business, between studying and working in accounting and insurance.
Prior to moving to Australia, my husband and I lived on small sheep and horse lifestyle farm on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand where we brought up our children.
Recognising that sometimes you must close one door for the next one to open, we moved to Australia. I never planned to follow in my late dad’s footsteps, but here I am, at one of the strongest insurers in the world, with the same passion and commitment to protecting farmers as he had.
Continuing Achmea’s legacy of lending a hand
I’m proud to be a part of Achmea and our unwavering commitment to protect and enhance agricultural communities across Australia.
Every day, our people continue Achmea’s strong legacy of lending a hand to farmers and bringing our unique model to them to protect their livelihoods and the continuity of their farms.
Growing up on the land, I understand the remoteness and difficulty in receiving high quality services. This insight has provided drive for our vision to deliver real, personal service for farmers in an increasingly digital world.
Farmers can’t afford to be underinsured
The best farm insurance is accurate farm insurance, and at Achmea we strongly believe that farmers can’t afford to be underinsured.
Whether it’s with livestock, crop, glasshouses or poultry, the impacts of underinsurance can be devastating.
Having witnessed first-hand the damage caused by the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, as well as Cyclone Debbie in 2017, I understand that the impact of a loss is wide-reaching, and rarely limited to financial loss alone.
Disrupting the Australian farm insurance market
The Achmea approach to farm insurance is different. With more than 200 years of partnering with farmers and reducing on-farm risks, we proudly visit every farm we insure. Our local knowledge and international expertise in farm insurance is one of a kind in Australia.
Just recently, Achmea’s excellence in claims service received a 5-star rating from LMI Claims Comparison, an acknowledgment of our unwavering commitment to work alongside farmers to help protect their livelihoods.
Last year also saw our second consecutive nomination in the category of Direct General Insurance Company of the Year by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance, another reflection of the our success and growth in regional Australia.
At Achmea, we approach farm insurance differently from other insurers in the country. Our approach is unique in that we are committed to reducing risks to help build resilience.
Achmea’s team of Risk Specialists are located throughout Australia and literally go the extra mile to meet with you and get to know your farm. After all, no one understands your farm and business better than you.
This means you can be confident that your business will have the right amount of cover, in the right places, at the right times.
We believe the better we get to know your farm, the better we can support you to protect it.
We don’t set and forget
We understand things can change quickly in farming. That is why setting insurance for valuable farm items is not a one-off, set and forget approach.
We’re focused on a strong and direct relationship with you, so that all you need to do is let us know when something changes.
About Emma Thomas
Growing up on the family farm in the Otago region of New Zealand, Emma has an in-depth understanding of and passion for agriculture.
After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago, Emma held audit roles with Deloitte in NZ, Australia and the USA, and an executive role in an IT solutions company before moving into Senior leadership roles at New Zealand agricultural insurer FMG.
Emma has a strong affinity with agribusiness through her family and financial services background. She is passionate about the mutual ethos of Achmea.
Having witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of natural disasters on the farming community, Emma acutely understands the role a specialist rural insurance partner can play in supporting the agriculture sector.
Emma Thomas joined Achmea Australia as CEO in April 2017.