Diversity is important to us as an employer. This is also reflected in the number of different professions we offer. Edoardo Passano studied architecture and has been working for Helvetia as an underwriter in the art department for almost ten years. Having originally studied chemistry, Chantal Ulmer has been working in Risk Engineering since the summer before last. They both have extraordinary jobs and backgrounds, which they are happy to tell you about.
"I've always been interested in natural sciences. One reason for this is certainly my family: my mother is a biologist, my father a geologist. I chose chemistry because I'm fascinated by how something new can be created from two existing substances. When I chose my career, I decided to train as a chemical laboratory assistant. After my apprenticeship I studied chemistry at the university of applied sciences. Most recently I spent seven years in quality control in the chemical industry. I've been working at Helvetia in Risk Engineering for corporate customers since summer 2020. My team and I are responsible for identifying and managing risks in companies in the areas of fire protection, natural hazards, occupational and operational safety and much more. Our task is to explain to people without a scientific or technical background what companies do and what risks have to be accepted. Given my training, I mainly look after pharmaceutical and chemical companies – as well as companies in the food industry.
Many people were surprised when I decided to move to Helvetia. My colleagues from the chemical industry in particular had little idea of what my job would be like. Most of them work in the laboratory or in research at pharmaceutical companies. But contrary to what you might think, technical experts from chemistry and other natural sciences are also needed at Helvetia. In our team alone, besides me as a chemist, there are two mechanical engineers and a civil engineer, all of whom have to deal with their respective industries."
"It always arouses a certain curiosity when I tell people I work for an insurance company. People quickly ask whether I spend all my time issuing policies. I don't. My job as an underwriter in the art sector is more about looking after customers and cultivating contacts. I came into contact with art itself at an early age, because my father was a passionate art collector. As a child I was taken to galleries and antique shops more than to the playground. Later I studied architecture in Italy, majoring in art history. After graduating from university I switched to the art industry, which brought me a range of experience. Eventually I founded my own business, where I still engage in dealing, advice and brokerage.
I've also been working for Helvetia as an underwriter in the art department for almost ten years now. One of my tasks is to assess the value of the objets d'art of our corporate and private customers. In addition to individuals, I also look after galleries, foundations and museums. What I like most about my job is its versatility. It's most unusual for any two customers, or any two objets d'art, to be exactly identical. Finally, the key to success is to have a developed network. As an underwriter in the art business, you have to be well connected and know a lot of people. My father always told me: "Collecting art is okay, but first you have to collect contacts."