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Ilias El Hamouti

ERGO and me: a look through the sales back office

“My name is Ilias El Hamouti. I joined the formal training programme to qualify as a back-office management assistant in insurance and finance.”

Why work in insurance?

“Because a lot of people in my family worked in insurance, joining an insurance firm after leaving school seemed like a logical option to me. I decided right away, on the day of my recruitment test, that I wanted to work for ERGO. Partly because of its good reputation and partly because it somehow just felt right. My training programme began with a six-week stint in the company’s Cologne service centre. Here, I had to talk to multiple clients on a daily basis and answer their questions on a diverse range of topics. This provided me with a solid grounding in many areas of insurance. As a result, I can already do my work very independently. And if I do need help, my more experienced colleagues are on hand to assist."

What are the training staff like?

“Whenever I move to a new department, my trainers prepare me intensively for work in the respective specialist area. We have induction trainers who tend to deal with more organisational matters, and we have specialist trainers who focus on specific areas of insurance. We tend to be in daily contact with the specialist trainers, who really help us develop our technical knowledge. This close contact means we develop special relationships with them. I still like going back to my ‘old’ departments to say hello.”

What is it like at ERGO in general?

“People often think working in insurance must be stuffy and formal. So I was really pleased when I saw how laid-back and friendly the working atmosphere at ERGO was. We laugh a lot; my colleagues are a lot of fun. I feel very much at home here. I often arrange to have lunch in the ERGO canteen with other trainees or with colleagues. We also have a great snack bar if we need something to keep us going during the day, and good coffee at the mocha bar.”

What are the typical tasks of a back-office management assistant in insurance and finance?

“Advising clients is one important part of my role. Another is looking after our partner agencies. I’m currently working in the department for commercial liability. The cases I deal with vary greatly. Sometimes it’s a new insurance application, sometimes it’s a change of name, sometimes it’s an order for collection, and so on. So I’m on the phone a lot, whether it's with clients or with partners.”

How does the company prepare you for tasks and examinations?

“There is the vocational school on the one hand. On my programme, I have to attend school in blocks lasting three to four months. Then there are the internal ERGO training sessions on the various products and subjects. These focus mainly on the fundamentals. We also have to regularly attend seminars and workshops on special subjects. These tend to run for two to three days. All in all, I feel really well prepared to perform all of my tasks at ERGO!”

Where do you go from here?

“Even though I’m on a back-office sales training programme, I still have to do a three to four-month stint in field sales. And I’m really looking forward to it! ERGO is always at pains to ensure that its trainees are sent to agencies close to where they live. I’d like to be stationed at an agency with lots of client contact because I love working in the field and advising clients directly. This would enable me to broaden my horizons and give me a good overview of the options available to me on this career path.”

Are you curious? Find your challenge at ERGO here