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AAMI, SES celebrate ten years together

Published 25/07/2012

Visiting Victoria’s SES volunteers is one of John Bennetts’ favourite parts of his job.

Mr Bennetts is Executive Manager Sponsorships for AAMI. This year, AAMI and Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) are celebrating the tenth year of their partnership.

Over that time, AAMI has provided more than $4.6 million to SES, $2.6 million of which has gone directly to the 151 volunteer units across the State in the form of operational equipment. These items, which include everything from ladders to chainsaws, enable SES’ 5,000 volunteers to do their job supporting the community in times of crisis.

It’s a purpose that AAMI shares. When hail falls or flood hits, both the SES and AAMI play their part in helping the State through the crisis. It’s this shared goal that has made for such an enduring relationship.

“I think if we go back over ten years ago, AAMI was in the early days of sponsorship. We had embarked on sports arrangements when the SES opportunity came,” Mr Bennetts said.

“We thought it was a very good fit and that it also allowed us to really put back in to the community.

“That it has been going for ten years shows how good a fit it is.”

Over a six week period every year, Mr Bennetts and his team travel the State visiting various SES units to give volunteers their new equipment.

“The appreciation from volunteers when we give them the equipment never ceases to please me. I’ve got to say, meeting the SES volunteers is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job,” he said.

 “Finding out what is happening in the regions and the impacts on the community are really beneficial as well.”

Mary Barry, Chief Executive Officer of Victoria SES, said that appreciation extended throughout the organisation.

“Ten years is a wonderful milestone that speaks to the strength of our relationship. It goes to show what a genuine partnership this is and the good faith on each side,” she said.

“We are extremely thankful for the equipment AAMI has provided. It has greatly enhanced the capabilities of our volunteers. On behalf of the volunteers, staff, board and executive of SES, I’d like to thank AAMI for their decade of support. We’re all looking forward to another ten years.”

Mr Bennetts said AAMI’s sponsorship of SES was seen as a model for corporate/community partnership within his industry.

“We have a lot of interaction with other insurance brands. When they are looking for sponsorship opportunities they say to us; ‘what we want is something like you have made with the SES in Victoria’.”

“That’s gratifying to hear.”

It has been a busy two years for both SES and AAMI. As well as some major flooding events, Victoria has suffered through the Christmas Day hailstorms and even an earthquake.

While both parties hope these events will not be repeated, they plan to keep working together to best help those affected.

Mr Bennetts said the relationship benefited from a clear model that had worked well, but that both parties were continuously looking at ways to enhance it.

“The important thing is we keep working together,” he said.

“I’d like to emphasise how delighted AAMI is to be involved with the SES. We are very grateful to the volunteers to have our brand on their equipment and clothing. The orange is very important to the volunteers and we certainly appreciate it.

“We’re looking forward to a long association.”

Central AAMI handover