Photo: Melanie Zanin

Training in extraordinary times Photo: Melanie Zanin

Dilara Bölükbas is one of 100 junior staff undergoing training with HDI in Germany. In common with so many career starters, her early days at the company have been shaped by the coronavirus.

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Published in November 2020 Author: Josefine Zucker

The coronavirus crisis has turned many areas of everyday life on their head. Businesses have found themselves in financial difficulties, employees had to be laid off or put on short- time working. Not so the HDI Group in Germany, which in August and September once again welcomed 100 trainees and students taking an integrated degree programme to the Group – albeit under unusual circumstances: hygiene measures, physical distancing and face coverings in the corridors are still the norm, and many meetings are held digitally.

One of the new recruits in this coronavirus era is Dilara Bölükbas. The 22-year-old initially studied sociology – but she soon began to wonder whether the highly theoretical discipline was the right one for her. Her part-time job with a fast food chain was all about tackling things hands-on – something which she found considerably more inspiring. It was this passion for the practical that ultimately led her to embark on commercial training with HDI.

Plexiglass and face coverings

“The training is theory and practice all in one. That’s what I like about it so much“, explains Dilara Bölükbas, who spends two days a week at a vocational college and three days at the agency in Düsseldorf. “It’s wonderful to have real contact with the customers right away.“ If customers need motor or homeowners insurance, Dilara Bölükbas is involved in the entire process from advising the customer through to policy formation.

The coronavirus pandemic means that most interactions with customers are conducted over the phone or in writing. Safety is taken very seriously at the agency. “We have had a plexiglass protective screen installed and we wear a face covering during conversations. Customers are also required to wear a mask, and we’re always careful to ensure good ventilation“, the trainee adds.

Well taken care of

All this means that she comes to the agency with a good feeling – also because there is always someone looking on over her shoulder, at a safe distance, of course. “I feel very well taken care of. Everyone takes the time to explain calmly how I am supposed to process transactions, and if I need to ask something again that’s fine too“, she explains.

After just a short space of time Dilara Bölükbas is in no doubt that her decision to train as a certified insurance practitioner was the right one: “The training has made me realise what a vital role insurance has to play. There is so much that still needs to be insured – and I find it interesting and important to pass this on to people.“ It’s the small successes that bring the greatest enjoyment. “When I calculate a new quote and the customer is happy that it is more favourable than a comparison quote, then I’m happy too“, says Dilara Bölükbas.

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