Newspaper blows the whistle on insurance company's sex party

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It was meant to be the office party of a lifetime and the insurance reps made cryptic boasts about it in their in-house magazine for months afterwards.

"We had a hell of a good time. We can't find anyone who doesn't want to go back immediately for a second helping!" is how one employee put it.

But yesterday it emerged that the "hell of a good time" they were alluding to was a lavish, Roman-style staff sex orgy held in Budapest's historic Art Nouveau thermal baths which was organised and paid for by Germany's normally reputable Hamburg-Mannheimer insurance group.

Years of dedication shown by the company's top 100 male sales representatives was rewarded on the so-called "Incentive Trip" with the services of dozens of hired prostitutes and a handful of higher-class call girls who were reserved for "best reps" and board members.

Lurid details of the aquatically assisted sex orgy were leaked by anonymous participants to Germany's Handelsblatt yesterday. The business newspaper was tipped off after receiving a copy of the company's in-house magazine Profil which referred to the sex party that took place in Budapest in 2007.

One described how the city's famous Gellert thermal baths had been hired out for a whole night by the Hamburg-Mannheim group and transformed into an "open air brothel" from which ordinary members of the public were excluded. Curtained, four-poster beds were specially installed around the bath's thermal pools to enable the reps to have sex with a modicum of privacy.

Germany's Ergo insurance group, which is now Hamburg-Mannheimer's parent company, admitted yesterday that an excursion to Budapest along the lines described had been held in 2007.

Ergo said it regretted what had happened and that the party was a "serious violation" of company rules.

"The managers and board members responsible no longer work for us," Ergo insisted.

However, Handeslblatt reported that many of the insurance reps and managers who were at the event, are still with the company.

The Hamburg-Mannheimer's orgy was not the first German company sex party to be exposed in the media.

In 2005, Peter Hartz a former Volkswagen executive and top adviser to the then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder resigned after being implicated in a scandal at VW involving call-girls for union leaders.

Feminist groups say holding company sex orgies for male staff would be impossible if Germany – with one of the lowest numbers of top female directors in the industrialised world – had a more balanced boardroom gender ratio.