Meet our people: National Head of Agriculture, John van der Vegt
Published 26 July 2022
“It’s a challenge, an enormous opportunity and it remains an elusive goal,” says Gallagher National Head of Agriculture, John van der Vegt, of the need to provide Australian broadacre and cotton growers, horticulturalists and plantation owners with fit for purpose insurance cover to financially protect their businesses.
“In Australia the majority of fruit, vegetables and nuts, and viticultural crop production is uninsured and most is exposed to a variety of natural perils that the growers can’t control,” he says of the need for the crop insurance sector to pursue the development of new insurance solutions for these growers.
When Gallagher acquired AgriRisk - the niche agricultural insurance business in 2019, we gained the benefit of his 30 years of experience in the cropping sector and the teams ability to find traditional and parametric insurance cover for his their clients.
In considering the merger van der Vegt says AgriRisk thought that Gallagher would be the best fit for their business model and give their employees the opportunity to grow their careers.
“The first thing we noticed from our preliminary meeting was the importance Gallagher placed on its people and culture. This resonated with us, being a small family-like business.
“Secondly Gallagher took the time to understand our business and its inherent volatility, being largely dependent on crop production and climatic conditions, and thirdly we liked the fact that Gallagher had a regional presence which would allow us to expand geographically.”
Gallagher also offered him greater variety in his new role, combining management and financial responsibilities with meeting client needs and scouting new business opportunities. “I also have the latitude to pursue alternative solutions like parametric insurances,” he notes.
Maintaining a fresh perspective
His market and product knowledge play into understanding the available insurance options and recommending the most appropriate solution.
Despite or even because of the challenges of delivering solutions to a sector where available insurance products can be difficult to find, van der Vegt says he enjoys the creativity involved with an insurance market in a state of constant change.
“Even in our small agri segment we have insurers entering and leaving the market, or different product lines, and they all have different appetites for different risks in different regions so you have to cover the market to find the optimal solution for your clients ‒ there is no such thing as a set and forget solution!”
Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective.