Five minutes with… Peter Morsley, ARGIS farm insurance underwriting manager

Q. When did you join ARGIS?

A. I’ve been working at ARGIS (and it predecessor companies) since February 2007. After returning from a period living in the UK, my partner’s job took us to Albury-Wodonga on the Victoria/NSW border. I’d worked in financial services in the UK, and while there weren’t many financial services roles in country Victoria, I joined Farmers Mutual Group (now ARGIS) as an assistant claims officer and that’s how I began my career in insurance.

Q. How did you transition from assistant claims officer to underwriting manager?

A. I worked my way up to claims officer and then into underwriting when the opportunity presented itself. I think having started in claims gave me a really valuable insight into the types of farming losses that occur and how insurance policies respond to them and having this knowledge has definitely helped me as an underwriter. I moved back to Melbourne, where I’m originally from, when the Albury-Wodonga office closed and took up a role in head office where I progressed to senior underwriter then underwriting manager. Having worked in a regional office meant I’d been closer to our farming clients and had the opportunity to see some of the risks up close which I think has also been of benefit to me as a farm underwriter.

Q. What personal insights do you bring to your work in the insurance industry?

A. I live on the outskirts of Melbourne on a large residential block surrounded by nature, which is wonderful, but also comes with a significant bushfire risk. So I can relate to brokers when they express frustration about the availability and price of cover in fire-prone areas. And I’ve also experienced just how real that risk can be – during the 2019-20 summer fires there was one day where we packed up our irreplaceable belongings and left our home, not knowing whether it would still be standing when we returned.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

A. I’m a runner and I finally achieved a longstanding goal of running a marathon in October 2019 when I completed the Melbourne Marathon. I had planned to do it again this year but, like so many plans in 2020, Covid-19 put an end to that. They did hold a virtual marathon but with the 5km travel limit in Melbourne it would have meant a lot of laps around my area, which is fairly hilly so that wasn’t too appealing! I’m also a big music fan and collector and while live music is off the agenda for now, I never really got into digital music and have been investing in my vinyl collection for the past few years. My five year old son and four year old golden Labrador also take up lots of my free time.

Q. What’s something most people probably don’t know about you?

A. During my time in the UK I worked in a shortbread factory in Scotland for a few years baking and packaging shortbread. Despite this, cooking is not my strong point and I’m especially bad at baking. But it did give me a discerning palate when it comes to shortbread, which I love, and from time to time I order a batch from overseas to satisfy my craving for good shortbread!

To contact Peter, farm underwriting manager at ARGIS, you can email him at