We observe environmental, social and governance criteria – known as ESG criteria – in order to establish sustainability systematically in our business. The Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) are the platform for embedding these criteria in our core business.
At ERGO in Germany, we are incorporating sensitive issues in standard contracts (tariff business, for example in private customer business) and in individual business (conditions negotiated on an individual basis, for example in business with major customers and Group business). A joint CR committee of Munich Re and ERGO regularly provides all the relevant organisational units with an updated list of sensitive issues. The underwriting guidelines are reviewed in the light of these issues and revised as necessary.
A specially developed ESG audit list provides support for employees in evaluating risks to be insured. Since 2015, ESG criteria have been checked systematically when developing new products or when modifying existing products in tariff business.
Responsible design and fair sale of insurance products is a top priority at ERGO. When we sell our products, a consistently high level of high-quality advice is a top priority. Our sales partners in Germany operate on the basis of a standardised advice tool known as the “ERGO Kompass” (ERGO Compass), which focuses on the customers’ current life situation. This enables them to survey customer needs selectively and offer concrete proposals for tailor-made protection.
We have laid down the principles for cooperation with our sales partners in Germany within a Code of Conduct for self-employed sales agents. This defines the key principles of cooperation and understanding of fair dealings with customers, and goes beyond the requirements for ethical conduct. ERGO has also joined the Code of Conduct for selling insurance drawn up by the German Insurance Association (GDV). An external auditor assesses the appropriateness and effectiveness of the measures developed and implemented under the Code.
We are also committed to consider ESG aspects in the management of our investments. The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the General Investment Guidelines of our parent company Munich Re define the group-wide framework for this approach. Structured into asset classes, this defines specific criteria for the investment, including the sustainability of the Investments.
Our standardised environmental management system helps us to record, assess and minimise the environmental impact of our business operations, products and services systematically and consistently. Our large locations in Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain were certified in 2017 in conformity with the international standard ISO 14001. During the year under review, certified environmental management covered 42 percent of our employees (2016: 41.6 percent). The systems at our certificated locations are regularly audited by an independent external environmental auditor. Once all the requirements have been complied with, certification is upheld – a continuous process which generates consistent improvement.
In addition, ERGO uses internal communication channels such as Intranet and the staff magazine to regularly inform employees about current sustainability issues and projects. We also use a variety of events to communicate to employees our interpretation of sustainability at ERGO. The regular environmental audits of the individual departments carried out within the framework of environmental management also continuously raise the awareness of employees for the environmental and social requirements in our business areas. We also raise the awareness of our employees at the local sites in working groups, through our internal media and by means of campaigns.