14 June 2018
Who is Sir John Newman-Morris
For years a portrait looked down at the AMA Victoria boardroom table almost hiding in plain sight. You would be forgiven to walk by without noticing the portrait or knowing the subject with no identifying plaque beneath it, until now. The portrait belongs to Sir Geoffrey Newman-Morris, born 14 May 1909 in Violet Town, a distinguished surgeon in Victoria. In 1957 the last of the company’s original directors, Sir John Newman-Morris, passed away leading to Sir Geoffrey to take his place.
Joining the board of BMI firstly as director and subsequently as its chairman, Geoffrey Newman-Morris oversees an extensive period of the company’s growth and expansion. In 1962 an agreement is entered with Edward Lumley & Sons of Victoria to replace the Automobile, Fire and General Insurance Company of Australia on account of more favourable terms. Over the years that follow and as a result of changes in the legislation governing insurance companies, BMI restructures its insurance activities close to one of an insurance intermediary in order to continue in its provision of tailored insurance solutions to doctors and dentists.
In 1977, at an Extraordinary General Meeting, the company resolves to change its name to Victorian Medical Insurance Company Ltd (VMIC) leading to more formed relationships with underwriters expanding the company’s offerings. The company changes name one more time to the Victorian Medical Insurance Agency Ltd (VMIAL) to comply with new rules, a name that stands to this day.
Geoffrey Newman-Morris’s accomplishments and achievements aren’t exclusive to the business of VMIAL. His involvement and distinguished service over his career saw him receive accomplishments such as:
- Chairman of The National Red Cross
- Vice Chairman of The International Red Cross
- Awarded the Henri Durant Medal – The highest honour of the Red Cross
- Knighted in 1969
- Honorary Secretary of BMA Victoria from 1955 to 1957
- President of BMA Victoria in 1961
- Chairman of the AMA Victoria State Council from 1965 to 1973
- Chairman of the AMA Federal Assembly from 1967 to 1972
- Awarded the AMA Gold Medal in 1974
On October 20, 1981, Sir Geoffrey Newman-Morris passes away, leading to his memory being immortalised in a portrait by Mr Harold Freeman in 1982.