Surety is really at the heart of a company, and the economy. A  surety bond  protects one party from losses incurred if the other fails to fulfil the terms of a contract – for example, if a building is not delivered on time (or at all). It’s an important financial product for our customers to help manage and develop a business, whether the objective is to optimise the corporate treasury, to comply with the law, to expand locally or to grow into new international markets.

At Allianz Trade, we cover large segments of the economy with surety bonds, including construction, industry, infrastructure, engineering, urban development and more. And as a surety account manager, I help customers across different sectors finance their activities in France and abroad. I also work to expand our offer in terms of digitalisation and sustainable solutions. Read on to get a glimpse into what working in surety is really like!
I’ve been working in surety for four years. I began my career as an asset manager in financial technology and banking, working across products such as cash flow management, trade finance, and loans and savings plans for businesses. I was initially drawn to surety because I wanted to work on a new product that I wasn’t familiar with. But I quickly learned that it also offers great opportunities to work on new solutions that support the future of business.

I enjoy the surety business because it’s really fundamental to a well-functioning economy. We offer essential support to our customers in business, helping them secure large projects such as the completion of real estate programmes and the development of logistics platforms, machinery and equipment. My customers include mid- and very large-capital organisations. These are typically in infrastructure and construction – a sector that represents 60% of my portfolio.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on various projects, and a highlight was setting up a €20 million bonding contract for the French leader of public and private heritage restoration. I secured the business of 15 subsidiaries, enabling them to issue market and payment bonds to optimise their treasury and to secure their environment as part of their restoration, conservation and promotion operations. With my help, the customer was able to diversify its financial partners, receive better financial conditions and lighten its daily bonding management by using Allianz Trade’ online bonding tool, a true added value.
I am now responsible for developing new e-surety and bonding tools that will make it even easier for our customers to manage and grow their business. I also support our surety customers in their challenges around sustainability, and manage relationships with brokers, banks and insurers that we partner with on complex projects.
A typical workday for me involves lot of calls as well as physical meetings – whether with customers, brokers, banks or internal contacts – to manage new projects or renewals. I spend about half my time talking to new customers, prospects and analysts, and the rest managing existing relationships and paperwork. At every step of a contract, I need to be updated and available to reassure my customers and justify their projects to risk underwriters. That’s the ‘front office’ part of my role, but I’m also responsible for the ‘mid’ and ‘back office’: I coordinate work forces in our department, follow up on surety issuance, contribute on the Know Your Customer / Know Your Business process, update financial data, manage internal resources and sometimes prepare contracts for specific transactions.

There are 13 surety account managers on my team, including two team leaders. We all have to be extremely proactive to ensure our customers get their surety bonds on time, but help each other daily by sharing advice and contacts. To be successful in the role, you need to be very business oriented and organised, but also have good financial and legal knowledge, great interpersonal skills and know how to handle stressful situations with diplomacy. And above all, you need to be innovative and know how to be a team player.
What surprises people most about working in surety is just how varied the profession can be, especially when working for a large credit insurer that supports customers across the globe. Being part of a worldwide leader means having access to a wealth of expertise and the resources of a group, and working with some of the top asset managers in the world.

Victor-Maxence Lecomte

Business manager for Surety