General standard indicators

ERGO Sustainability Reporting 2017

Organisational profile

  • ERGO Group AG

  • ERGO is one of the major insurance groups in Germany and Europe. The Group is represented in more than 30 countries worldwide and concentrates on the regions of Europe and Asia. ERGO offers a comprehensive spectrum of insurance policies, provisions and services. In its home market of Germany, ERGO is among the market leaders in every line of business.

    We provide life and property-casualty insurance under the ERGO brand. The broadly based portfolio complements the offer of our brands for health (DKV), legal protection (D.A.S.) and travel coverage (ERV). The brand ERGO Direkt stands for competence in online sales.

    Business fields International
    Brands ERGO Germany

  • Düsseldorf (Germany)

  • ERGO is represented in almost all countries of Europe, and is also present in Asia and Canada. The international companies generated around 29 percent of premium income in 2017.

    ERGO International – Countries

  • The ERGO Group is a joint-stock company (Aktiengesellschaft, AG) under German law. It is a subsidiary of Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers and risk bearers. The DAX company holds 100 percent of the shares in the ERGO Group.

  • The ERGO Group offers a comprehensive spectrum of insurance policies, provision and services in more than 30 countries and supports both private and corporate customers.

  • Around 42,000 people work as employees or as registered sales agents for the Group. In 2017, ERGO recorded a premium income of 19 bn euros and issued insurance benefits to customers amounting to 18 bn euros.

    Key employee figures
    Key financial figures

  • At the end of the year under review, the ERGO Group had a workforce of 27,405 (2016: 28,217), including 23,238 in-house staff and 4,167 salaried field staff.

    Employees at the ERGO Group by region, function and type of employment 
    2017 2016 2015
    Total employees1 27,4052 28,217 28,487
    Employees by region
    Germany % 56.1 58.3 60.4
    Rest of Europe % 43.3 41.1 39.1
    Other regions % 0.6 0.6 0.5
    Employees by function
    In-house staff 23,238 23,450 23,646
    Salaried field staff 4,167 4,767 4,841
    Self-employed field staff 12,4573 15,570 15,166
    Employees by employment type1
    Full-time employees % 72.6 73.9 74.7
    Part-time employees % 21,5 21.8 21,5
    Dormant employment contracts % 5.3 4.3 3.8
    1In-house staff and salaried field staff
    2Not included: Staff of Munich Health entities transferred to ERGO International in 2017
    3The decrease in self-employed sales agents can be attributed to structural changes in Germany and specific international companies, as well as to data corrections.

    (See G4-LA12 for a summary of employees according to gender)

  • The majority of our employees are employed in Germany and with the exception of senior executives, all employees have pay-scale salaries based on the German collective agreement for the private insurance industry. For our international companies and branches, the local regulations are valid – e.g. the tariff laws in the Netherlands and Austria.

  • We mainly purchase goods, work and services from the following sectors:

    • Information technology (software, strategic license management, workplace systems, telecommunications, service, central systems, strategic commercial provider management)
    • Travel management
    • External resources (advice, consulting, HR services, qualification, translation, language services)
    • Marketing services (promotional articles, print media, marketing services, media services, web media)
    • Facilities & Real Estate (health and safety)
    • Fleet management (Leasing)
    • Office support (office supplies, operating and business equipment)
    • Transport & Logistics (courier and logistics services)

    Our supplier management makes long-term relationships based on partnership a top priority. Sustainability and transparency along the value chain are equally important, together with price and quality. These principles apply to all the business units of our parent company Munich Re. Compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact and consent to the anti-corruption agreement of ERGO are therefore prerequisites for acceptance as a potential supplier.

  • Since 2016, there have been three separate companies – ERGO Deutschland AG, ERGO International AG and ERGO Digital Ventures AG - active under the umbrella of the ERGO Group AG, each of which bundle German, international, direct and digital business. ERGO Deutschland AG bundles the traditional business in Germany. ERGO International AG steers the international business within the Group. As the third pillar, ERGO Digital Ventures is responsible for all digital and direct business activities of the Group.

    In January 2017, Digital IT, with its headquarters in Berlin and Warsaw, started business operations. This business unit provides services in the area of modern information technology for the ERGO Group.

    At ERGO Digital Ventures, the new business unit “ERGO Mobility Solutions” has been operational since 2017 due to the growing importance of automotive financial services.

    The companies of Munich Health, which were responsible for the international primary health insurance business, were merged with ERGO International AG on 1 February 2017.

    In Germany, sales units were bundled into a tied agents’ organisation and several decentral locations closed. The new structure was implemented at the beginning of 2017.

    In April 2017, VORSORGE (preventative care) companies in Germany and Luxemburg were renamed to ERGO Vorsorge Lebensversicherung AG or ERGO Life S.A.

    Since October 2017, ERGO has been operating a representative branch in Bogotá, Colombia, responsible for opening Latin-American markets.

    In January 2018, the new division Leben Klassik (classic life insurance business), with around 1,200 employees, commenced business operations. This new division manages the portfolios of the legal entities of German life insurers ERGO Lebensversicherung, Victoria Lebensversicherung and ERGO Pensionskasse.

    ERGO Group Portrait

  • With its risk management and its sustainability strategy, ERGO takes the principle of preventative action into consideration, in order to prevent or weaken possible strains on or damage to the Company and/or the environment.

    Annual Report of Munich Re 2017, p. 68ff. (PDF file)
    Munich Re Combined non-financial statement  (PDF file)
    ERGO Corporate Responsibility Strategy 

    ERGO aims to continuously increase its contribution to environmental protection. Our Group-wide environmental management system enables us to continuously further develop our measures throughout all business operations. At our locations in Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, which are certified according to ISO 14001, we are developing comprehensive environmental programmes in the form of “targets & measures” catalogues. Our locations are regularly reviewed by an independent external environmental auditor. A standardised environment management system is in place for our large locations in Belgium, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Poland, Russia, Spain and Turkey, which is oriented on the requirements of the internationally recognised standard DIN ISO 14001. The carbon footprint of our business activities is the central indicator for measuring and assessing environmental performance. On an annual basis, our national and international locations determine the CO2 emissions from energy, paper and water usage, business trips and waste using standardised principles and in high quality. This was confirmed for 2017 by Ernst & Young to the Munich Re Group for selected quantitative environmental data (see verification statement of Ernst & Young).

  • The ERGO Group has obligated itself voluntarily to the following international guidelines:

    • UN Global Compact
    • Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI)
    • Principles for Sustainable Investment (PRI)

    In the year under review, we have further developed our Group-wide Corporate Responsibility strategy. The strategy pays into Agenda 2030 and its affiliated Sustainable Development Goals which were passed in 2015 by all members of the United Nations.

    In July 2013, the ERGO Group was among the first companies to adopt the “Code of Conduct for selling insurance products” of the German Association for Insurance (GDV). The code applies to all operational German ERGO insurance companies and the sales company ERGO Beratung und Vertrieb AG.

    On 1 March 2013, the German insurance companies of ERGO also signed up to the “Code of Conduct for handling personal Data by the German Insurance Industry” (Data Protection Code of Conduct). This code regulates the collection, processing and use of personal data.
    ERGO also participates in the initiative of the German insurance industry entitled “Well advised – advanced training for insurance agents in Germany”.

    Code of Conduct for Self-employed Sales Agents 
    Data protection

    ERGO is one of the signatories of the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Charter of Diversity): all the signatories make a commitment to creating a working environment that is free of prejudice and exclusion.


  • In 2017, the Group was a member of around 100 sector organisations, associations and networks. A selection is provided below:

    • Arbeitsgemeinschaft für betriebliche Altersversorgung e.V. (ABA) (working community for company pension schemes)
    • “Charta der Vielfalt e.V.” (Charter of Diversity, network)
    • Deutsche Aktuarvereinigung e.V. (DAV) (German actuary association)
    • Deutscher Verein für Versicherungswissenschaft e.V. (German Association for Actuarial Science)
    • UPJ e.V. (German CR-Network)
    • MVO Nederland (Dutch CR-Network)
    • Deutsches Aktieninstitut e.V. (German Equities Institute)
    • Deutsches Institut für Compliance e.V. (German Institute for Compliance)
    • Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft e.V. (German Insurance Association)
    • Industrie-Club e.V. (Industrial Club)
    • Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e.V. (Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries e.V.)
    • RKW Rationalisierungs- und Innovationszentrum der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V. (Cultural group of the German economy in the Rationalisation and Innovation Centre of German Industry)

Identified material aspects and boundaries

  • Three separate companies – ERGO Deutschland AG, ERGO International AG, and ERGO Digital Ventures AG – are active under the umbrella of the ERGO Group AG, bundling the German, international, direct and digital business sectors.

    Munich Re Annual Report 2017 (pages 25–26, pages 170–179)
    About the ERGO Group

    The Sustainability Reporting is relevant to the entire ERGO Group including its companies. Statements that are only valid for individual companies of the Group are labelled as such by us.

  • Our business activity is defined by a complex framework and a landscape of emerging potential for new risks and opportunities. It is therefore important that we regularly appraise the issues and focuses associated with our responsibility. In spring 2016, to this end, we launched a three-stage materiality analysis – this simultaneously enabled us to determine the content of our Sustainability Reporting.

    The first stage involved us identifying relevant topics derived from potential social impacts of ERGO’s business model and requests put forward by stakeholders to our company. We also analysed the following aspects:

    • the G4 Guideline of the Global Reporting Initiative (including the Financial Services Sector Supplement),
    • material challenges identified for Munich Re
    • the content of sustainability ratings and
    • the Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

    We also debated relevant arising issues from the perspective of consumer protection at a workshop held in conjunction with the Consumer Advice Centre North Rhine-Westphalia. This analysis yielded eight relevant issues.

    These eight issues were prioritised in the second stage through an online survey of our Customer Workshop encompassing nearly 900 customers. “Fair and transparent dealings with customers” was identified as the major issue, followed by “Sustainable investment of capital” and “Basic training and advanced training”. Generally speaking, two thirds of the surveyed customers stated that they believed it was very important for ERGO to take entrepreneurial responsibility.

    In the third stage, internal representatives from specialist areas assessed the value contribution of the issues to the future-proof capability of ERGO. Each was discussed in a workshop in light of the associated opportunities and risks. The materiality matrix that was developed was then validated by the ERGO Sustainability Committee.

    You can see the results of the assessments in the materiality matrix.

  • The configuration of our materiality topics does not only relate to ERGO internally. It also has impact on external stakeholder groups. The table shown below provides an overview of these issues. We have allocated the relevant GRI aspects to our materiality topics to provide assistance in general orientation. The materiality topics relate to the entire ERGO Group.

    Materiality issues Allocated GRI aspects Affected stakeholder groups
    Fair and transparent dealings with customers Product and service labelling, sales promotion, protection of customers’ private sphere, compliance, grievance mechanisms for impacts on society Employees, customers, sales partners
    Sustainable investment of capital Investments, active ownership approach Employees, customers, investors, society
    Basic and advanced training Basic and advanced training Employees, customers, sales partners, society
    Diversity and equal opportunities Employment, diversity and equal opportunities, equal remuneration for women and men, gender equality Employees, customers society
    Sustainable products Economic performance, indirect economic impacts, product portfolio, audit, active ownership approach, local communities Employees, customers, sales partners, society
    Raising awareness for sustainability Product and service labelling, investments, product portfolio Employees, customers, sales partners, investors, society
    Community engagement Economic performance, indirect economic impacts, local communities, product and service labelling Employees, customers, society
    Climate and environmental protection within the Company Materials, energy, water, emissions, sewage water and waste Employees, society

  • See G4-19

  • See G4-19

  • There will be no new presentation of information in comparison to previous reports for the business year 2017.

  • For fiscal year 2017, there are no significant changes in the scope and aspect boundaries in our sustainability reporting.

Stakeholder engagement

  • ERGO values an open and ongoing dialogue with its stakeholders. This allows us to identify at an early stage topics and emerging challenges of relevance to ERGO – both now and in the future – from the perspective of our stakeholders.

    Our stakeholder groups are

    • customers,
    • sales partners,
    • employees,
    • investors
    • and the community at large.

    We are in dialogue with them through a wide range of different channels.

  • See G4-24

  • Our stakeholder groups are customers, sales partners, employees, investors and the community at large. We are in dialogue with them through a wide range of different channels. The main focus lies on our customers. We ask them about the experiences they have had in contacts with our Company to improve our services, processes and products. In Germany, we regularly talk to members of the ERGO Customer Advisory Board and seek the opinions of the participants in the ERGO Customer Workshop on the Internet.

    Ways of including our stakeholder groups are for

    • Customers: sales partners, customer service and customer advisors of the companies, ERGO Customer Advisory Board, ERGO Customer Workshop
    • Employees: dialogue formats, employee surveys, HR departments, employee representatives, ombudsman (external)
    • Shareholders: financial communication, Annual General Meeting
    • Society: Through the responsible departments, we are in constant contact with a large number of industry associations, interest groups and networks and scientific institutions (see G4-16).

  • Our customers
    Continuous communication with our customers is particularly important to us. As a participant in the ERGO Customer Workshop or as a member of the ERGO Customer Advisory Board, they can play a role in influencing the Company with their ideas and their criticism. Alternatively, they can give us their feedback in the online form on our website and by taking part in customer surveys. We also engage with customers and the general public through social media.

    In April 2016 we carried out a dedicated online survey of our ERGO Customer Workshop involving nearly 900 customers – including representatives of the Customer Advisory Board. Customers taking part in the survey stated that the topics “fair and transparent dealings with customers” and “sustainable investment of capital” were top priorities as far as they were concerned (see G4-19). More than two thirds of the customers taking part in the survey believed that it was very important as a matter of principle for ERGO to take entrepreneurial responsibility.

    We want to promote the diversity and varied potential of the people in our workforce totalling some 27.400 employees. Ultimately, their expertise and their innovative powers make them key drivers for the success of our business. That is why we engage in continuous exchange with them worldwide and on every level.

    ERGO belongs to Munich Re. Munich Re is in constant and intensive communication with private investors, institutional investors, analysts and rating agencies. Find out more on the Munich Re website.

    Through the responsible departments, we are in constant contact with a large number of industry and business associations, interest groups and networks and scientific institutions (see G4-16 for a list of selected memberships).  

Report profile

  • The reporting period is the calendar and financial year 2017. Important events up to 31 May 2018 have been included in the report to reflect current developments.

  • The sustainability reporting for the year 2016 was published in January 2018.

    ERGO Sustainability Report 2016

  • ERGO has published a sustainability report since 2012. Starting in the reporting year 2014, we have been reporting about our sustainability activities in the form of an extensive GRI Balance Sheet on our Website.

  • ERGO Group AG
    Corporate Responsibility
    Sabine Mende

  • This table is the GRI Content Index in accordance with G4.

  • The report was not verified by an external auditor.


  • In accordance with the Articles of Association of ERGO Group AG, the Board of Management consists of at least two persons. The Supervisory Board determines the number of members of the Board of Management. The Company is represented by two members of the Board of Management or one member of the Board of Management together with an Authorised Signatory. The Board of Management has six members, one women and five men. The Chairman of the Board of Management is Dr. Markus Rieß.

    The Supervisory Board is the highest monitoring body for corporate governance. It comprises 16 persons, ten men and six women. Since 27 April, 2017, Dr. Joachim Wenning holds the position of Chair. He replaced Dr. Nikolaus von Bomhard.

    The Supervisory Board formed five committees (Audit Committee, Standing Committee, Board Committee, Mediation Committee and Nomination Committee).

    The ERGO Reputation and Integrity Committee assesses reputational risks of individual business transactions and, within this scope, also reviews environmental risks, social risks and governance risks (ESG risks).

    The Munich Re Group Corporate Responsibility Committee (GCRC) provides advice to the Board on the further development of our Sustainability Strategy. The GCRC has adopted ESG aspects which are applicable Group-wide. It identifies and also prioritises sensitive business topics, for which Group-wide positioning concepts are being developed.

    The strategy and the activities on Corporate Responsibility are bundled in the Corporate Responsibility unit. The unit belongs to the Corporate Communications Division which reports directly to the Chairman of the Board of Management.

    ERGO Articles of Association

Ethics and integrity

  • Compliance with applicable laws and regulations in the respective companies of the ERGO Group AG is a self-evident obligation for all employees. These are supplemented by corporate regulations. Violations of statutory guidelines or regulations of the Code of Conduct and the internal guidelines will be tolerated under no circumstances by ERGO and will be resolved and disciplined in an appropriate manner. This is the only way to sustainably prevent risks of reputation, liability and economic nature for ERGO.

    The Compliance Department (ERGO Compliance) develops and steers Codes of Conduct and compliance regulations, for example, to avoid corporate crime and to manage incentives. The tasks of ERGO Compliance include systematic identification and analysis of relevant risks, establishing and improving corporate regulatory works and policies for Compliance, provision of information, training and consulting to the Management Boards, the employees and the sales partners, monitoring compliance with regulations, and identification of violations.

    Topic-specific directives, such as the ERGO Environment Guidelines or the Corporate Responsibility Guideline on Social Commitment of the ERGO Group are developed in the respective business units and rolled out in the relevant companies of the ERGO Group AG.

    Insofar as individual regulatory works are not applicable to all companies of ERGO abroad, ERGO will successively define minimum standards in these locations.

    The ERGO guidelines will be reviewed at regular intervals and updated, whenever necessary. They are available in English for the entire Group. The local companies are responsible for translating guidelines into the respective country language.

    Corporate Governance

    ERGO also imposes special requirements on external service suppliers: they are obligated to sign an anti-corruption agreement and to observe the principles of the Global Compact.

    In addition, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) signed by Munich Re are binding for the ERGO Group. ERGO has also made a commitment to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.