Emma Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at specialist farm insurer Achmea, was delighted to welcome Robert Otto, member of Achmea’s Executive Board to Australia. With 14 thousand employees, the Achmea Group supports the lives of 13 million clients worldwide. Achmea is active in six countries including Australia, with Mr Otto responsible for Achmea’s international portfolio.

Mr Otto’s visit to Australia coincided with one of the most dangerous bushfire weeks ever seen in New South Wales (NSW), with ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions impacting large areas of the state. Catastrophic is the highest fire danger rating. Over 100 bushfires are still raging across NSW, Queensland as well as other parts of Australia.

In NSW alone, the bushfires have damaged more than 1.6 million hectares – more than during the past three bushfire seasons combined. “These are unprecedented fire conditions and as Australia’s specialist farm insurer, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients to help protect their livelihoods,” Mrs Thomas said.

“Being part of the Achmea community means we thrive together in good times, but we also support each other during times of adversity,” Mrs Thomas said.

Focusing on insurance exclusively for farmers, direct partnership and risk mitigation, Achmea is in a stage of rapid growth in Australia. “Solidarity and community support were the driving forces behind the creation of Achmea, where more than 200 years ago a group of farmers got together to protect themselves against haystack fires,” Mr Otto said.

“That founding philosophy of community support lives on in our Achmea community today, supporting Australian farmers and their communities through these extreme fire conditions.” Through its brands, the Achmea Group has supported the Netherlands in becoming the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

Committed to greater risk awareness and disaster reduction, Achmea is rapidly growing its international footprint and works collaboratively for a better tomorrow. “Achmea’s strong growth shows that as an insurer, we are actively responding to changes in societies and client’s expectations, whilst cherishing our co-operative heritage and adhering to the same principles we started with in 1811 that we can achieve more by working together,” Mr Otto said.

Mr Otto and Mrs Thomas also attended the 2019 International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) biennial conference in Auckland, with Mr Otto recently having joined the ICMIF Board. Both Mr Otto and Mrs Thomas were invited to speak on international panels on the topics of emerging risks and threats and the future of work.

‘By participating in the ICMIF Board, the Achmea Group is keen to take up its responsibilities as an international cooperative  insurer by sharing inspirational practices and expertise. We are pleased to make this contribution to the development of ICMIF and its worldwide members,” Mr Otto said.


About Robert Otto
Robert Otto joined Achmea’s Executive Board in August 2015. He studied law at Leiden University and started his career in 1992 at ING. After two years as CEO of OHRA, Mr Otto became managing director of Delta Lloyd’s commercial division in 2010. In mid-2013, he moved to Achmea to become chairman of the Non-Life & Income Protection division.
Robert Otto’s responsibilities on the Executive Board include the foreign operating companies (Eureko Sigorta, Interamerican, Union, Achmea Australia and Onlia Canada), the Division Pension & Life, Achmea Bank, InShared and Human Resources/Management Development.

Robert Otto is a member of the Board of Thuiswinkel.org. He is also a member of the Board of AMICE (the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe).