As the inaugural Angus Foundation and Achmea Australia cadet, William Richards recently completed a four-week placement to gain practical experience with Achmea Australia, a growing specialist agricultural insurer that supports thousands of agribusinesses across Australia. 

In addition to his time spent with Achmea Australia, William also completed the five-day Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, which saw him take part in the intensive developmental workshop. 

William has provided an overview of his experience during his cadetship with Achmea Australia, as well as the Rural Leadership Program, reporting on the experience and the skills and knowledge he gained. 

Read his report here: 

The Angus Foundation provided an opportunity to attend a Rural Leadership Program held by Marcus Oldham College as well undertake a four weeklong cadetship with Achmea Australia.  

Achmea Australia is a specialist agricultural insurer with a team of Farm Insurance Specialists across the country. This cadetship provided a unique experience where I spent the first two weeks in the Sydney branch, learning the behind the scenes processes and operations and then two weeks on the road traveling Victoria with Achmea Australia’s Farm Insurance Specialists.  

The Rural Leadership Program held at Marcus Oldham was a great week where I learnt the foundational skills of what leadership is and many exercises that allowed us to put what we were learning into practice. With great speakers and other attendees from across Australia, it was great to make connections and hear other stories of leadership challenges and as a collective how to overcome them.  

The cadetship with Achmea Australia started with two weeks in their Sydney branch, which was an eye-opening experience. Over the course of the  two weeks my role was to learn as much as possible. Coming in with a basic understanding of insurance I was able to develop a greater understanding of all the moving parts and all the teams involved with developing a farm insurance quote for a client.  

Cycling through the Client Experience, Marketing, IT, Risk, Claims, and People and Culture teams, I was able to experience parts of the company and learn what each team does for the whole picture. There were also some new employees starting and I was able to join into their training sessions which also provided me the opportunity to learn more about the company, the product and the insurance industry. Meeting with the company’s management team also gave me a greater understanding of some industry-level issues and also future goals for the business.  

The second two weeks I headed to Victoria and started down in the Gippsland region, following and learning from a Farm Insurance Specialist to understand the front-line processes. We were able to go to multiple first farm visits which gave me a good understanding of the process of collecting information to send back to the office and prepare the quote.  

One of Achmea Australia’s key features is the fact they walk the clients farm and talk with them to understand their business and what insurance needs they have. The middle of the two weeks I was able to attend the Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, where I was able to meet many existing clients and many potential clients. It was great to also learn more about the wool industry and see one of the methods used to promote their role as a specialist agricultural insurer.  

Finishing off my Victoria trip I was based in Cobram traveling between New South Wales and Victoria. During this time, I was able to see quote presentations, first farm visits and policy renewals of many different farms as well as both small and large operations.  

I was able to gain knowledge from these four weeks such as understanding the insurance industry and the business of Achmea Australia on a level not many would get to experience. The client meetings allowed me to further develop many skills such as communication and how to interact with a wide range of clients with diverse backgrounds. It was a great experience and being out on the road, interacting with clients and walking the farm was definitely the highlight and more up my alley.  

I would definitely encourage anyone thinking of undertaking a cadetship to take the jump and apply next year. Being in my final year of university, I have made many connections from the program as well as gaining industry experience before I finish my degree. There are not many opportunities to be welcomed into a unique business such as Achmea Australia, where you can gain insight into many parts of the company. The exposure and development I experienced was incredible and for anyone looking to experience an industry not many think of working in, Achmea Australia has certainly shown another side to insurance.  

It was great to meet the other recipients at the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and continue to connect after our cadetships were over.  

I would like to thank the Angus Foundation for providing the ability to undertake this cadetship and to Achmea Australia for the opportunity to explore their business and learn an abundance in an industry I previously didn’t have much insight about.