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Rural insurance broker covers the field

Jess Murdoch knows what it’s like to be out on a farm in all weathers. And as a rural insurance broker in the Manawatu, she's well placed to understand the risks associated with doing business in this competitive sector.

Crombie Lockwood Rural Broker, Jess Murdoch, believes if her clients have the right insurance in place, they’re in the best position possible if the unthinkable happens. After all there is plenty that can go wrong, be it a natural disaster or a bird's nest catching fire in a tractor. 

“I know the trials and tribulations of living remotely and being 40 minutes away from the nearest supermarket and I know the little things can make a big difference when you're in that sort of environment.” Jess says.

Rural broking with a hands-on approach

Jess brings her industry experience to over 200 local clients, who include sheep, beef, dairy, and deer farmers, as well as logging contractors and market gardeners.

She lives and breathes the rural life. On a drive from Wairarapa back to Palmerston North recently, the Crombie Lockwood Manawatu rural broker came across a large Angus bull on the side of the road. Jess promptly put her hazard lights on and jumped out of the car to warn passers-by. Between herself and a tow truck driver, they managed to chase the bull back to its paddock. But that’s just another day in the ‘office’ for Jess.

“There's a running joke at our branch that ‘Jess has been here’ because there will be muddy footprints from my boots,” she laughs. Even her new work vehicle is already “filthy” because she’s always out with clients on their farms, literally going the extra miles associated with her rural role.

“I'm passionate about the farmers of New Zealand that keep our country operating,” she says.

Jess Murdoch Crombie Lockwood rural insurance broker

“I know what it’s like to milk cows, to be in the middle of calving and in terrible weather. I know what my clients are going through.”

Jess Murdoch
Crombie Lockwood Rural Broker

Delivering results for clients

Jess knows what sort of pressure many farmers and rural business owners can be under at certain times. Last February, one of her clients, Christy Biddle had to have three young dairy cows put down. They were spooked by a power company inspecting lines from a helicopter, and sadly they were severely injured.

“Christy didn’t have any cover under his rural insurance because the excess for cows is five animals, but obviously he was still in a hard situation,” Jess says. “I know how short on time many farmers are, so I offered to take over the complaints process with the power company.”

Jess got Christy a pay out, even though the complaint raised was more about the lack of opportunity for him to move his cows to a safer paddock before the helicopter arrived.

“When you’re not used to dealing with that sort of stuff all the time, you can get tripped up very easily,” says Christy.

“It’s good to feel as though you have someone in your corner handling the jargon. We have a very good professional relationship with Jess – nothing is a trouble, and she handles it all.” - Christy Biddle

 For Christy, Jess’s efficiency makes his life on the farm easier. Jess herself is adamant that, at the end of the day, a broker that delivers a personalised service adds to the experience for clients.

“When everything turns to custard, you’re so glad you’ve got insurance,” she concludes. “I like being the person in front of the client, with the insurance company behind me, doing right by both.”

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Published November 2021

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