In AgriRisk’s 25 years, there has been some dramatic changes, and Managing Director John van der Vegt reflect on some of these:
Growth in Crop Insurance Market
In 1989 the insurance market for “exotic crops” such as cotton, forestry, horticulture and viticulture was almost non existent in Australia. AgriRisk had to secure overseas reinsurance support to underwrite many risks. This was both time consuming and expensive. Today the local insurance market for exotic crops is thriving with four???IS THIS STILL RIGHT specialist underwriting agencies: Agricola, Primacy, Insurance Facilitators and Rural Affinity. This local market is great for growers because it means better products and more competitive pricing.
Rise and Fall of Managed Investment Schemes
We have seen the rise and fall of the Managed Investment Schemes (MIS). From reasonably humble beginnings this tax driven sector thrived through the early 2000s with projects established to grow plantation timber, exotic timber, grapes, almonds, avocados, walnuts citrus, flowers and cattle. AgriRisk was heavily involved in this sector for a number of years through its development and growth cycle, and eventual demise. Today MIS assets still exist, and are just managed under different structures and entities.
Devastating Natural Events
We have survived droughts that significantly impacted our clients over an extended period, massively reducing successive cotton crops, decimating cereal crop yields and forcing farmers to drastically reduce livestock herds. Of course we have also seen short, sharp catastrophic events including:
• Queensland floods that have repeatedly devastated our Central Queensland clients
• Massive fires in Victoria that have impacted our plantation owners
• Cyclones that have impacted our Queensland tree crop growers
• Hail storms that impact our cereal and cotton growers on an annual basis.
Technology: The Way We Do Business
In 1989 faxes changed our client’s expectation forever. No longer solely reliant on mail deliveries to regional locations that could take more than a week, the fax became crucial to business everywhere. Mobile phones arrived shortly thereafter but they looked like bricks and the regional networks meant that you had to be standing beside a tower to get a decent signal that didn’t drop out. Today of course mobile technology continues to change the way we do business with email and web allowing transactions that 25 years ago would have taken weeks to be completed in a matter of minutes.