Rural insurer, Achmea Australia, is replacing chief executive officer, Timo van Voorden, with New Zealand recruit, Emma Thomas.
She will fill his shoes as he returns to the company’s international head office in the Netherlands next month.
Mr van Voorden arrived in Australia in 2012 to locally launch Achmea’s co-operative-based risk management and insurance model.
He said building Achmea Australia from the ground up, and recruiting “such a great group of people” had been “an absolute dream job”.
He was particularly proud of the company’s achievements in the past three and a half years as it unrolled a tailored and cost effective insurance for agriculture businesses.
Ms Thomas joins the emerging insurer after being national sales head for FMG Insurance, NZ’s leading farm sector insurance business.
She has been a proven senior leader with extensive experience in the agricultural and financial services industry, and a central figure driving FMG’s market growth.
Prior to FMG her career included executive financial management at a NZ information technology company, and audit roles with Deloitte in NZ, Australia and the US.
She is keen to build on achievements already made by Achmea which works with clients to prevent and manage risks across five categories – buildings, inventory, business interruption, vehicles and liability.
Achmea operates alone, not through insurance agents, but is closely associated with the Rabobank banking network’s strong presence in rural Australia.
Rabobank is a majority shareholder in the insurer.
“Having seen first-hand the devastating impacts – both commercially and personally – of natural disasters and storm events on the farming community, the mutual ethos has a very important role in the Australian insurance industry,” Ms Thomas said.
Outgoing CEO Mr van Voorden was in no doubt the company was capable of hands with Ms Thomas and her team.
“Emma will make a significant contribution to Achmea Australia and our clients, and as a senior female industry leader she has potential to influence Australia’s agriculture agenda,” he said.