The Generali Group

The Generali Group's profile  | Social and environmental commitment

The Generali Group’s profile

The Generali Group is a leading international insurance and investment company led by Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., founded in Trieste, Italy, in 1831. The Group has always been characterized by a strong international orientation and is now present in 69 countries: the Group's insurance turnover exceeds € 70 billion, 29% of which originates in Italy and 71% abroad.

In its core insurance business, the Generali Group is primarily focused on the life segment, in which it remains the European leader. Its product line in the life segment consists mainly of savings and protection policies, which account for the majority of the portfolio, alongside the Health business and the supplementary pension policies.

In the non-life segment, the Group is primarily focused on the retail market, on which it provides coverage of the entire insurance portfolio.

In addition, Generali is among the world’s major players in the field of assistance, through the Europ Assistance Group, which provides worldwide services in the motor, travel, health, home and family segments.

The Group has also expanded its business from insurance to a full line of asset management, properties and financial services. In detail, the Banca Generali Group is among the leaders of the Italian personal financial services market, whereas the BSI Swiss Group the oldest bank in the Canton of Ticino, provides a full range of private-banking financial services. up


The generali Group

The Group leads the Italian market and has consolidated its position among the world's foremost insurance groups, achieving increasing importance on the Western European market, its primary area of operation, where it remains among the top operators in Germany, France, Austria, Spain and Switzerland. The Group has an important position also in Argentina.

In addition, the Group has a strong presence on markets with high growth potential. In particular, it is among the leaders in Central and Eastern Europe through Generali PPF Holding. The Group is also present in India and China; in particular in China it is become leader among the insurance companies with foreign equity interests in few years after entering the market.

With particular reference to the distribution channels, the Group has developed new distribution solutions additionally to the traditional and financial advisor channels. Attention to changes in the society and in the markets, combined with the consolidated policy of diversification, allowed the company to promote innovative initiatives related to insurance services as shown, in particular, by the experience in Italy of Genertel, specialized in the phone direct sale. This policy has allowed the Group to become the leader in insurance policies sale also through alternative channels such as internet and phone in France and Germany.


Social and environmental commitment

In the Generali Group the long-term business sustainability takes part of the insurance business and this can be confirmed by a development that has lasted 180 years. The enhancement of employees and attention to the expectations of clients, shareholders and communities are deeply rooted in the culture of the Group and inspire the daily behavior.

Over the past decade, however, the commitment to sustainability has gradually strengthened, with the transition to a systematic approach and management. The preparation of some documents that explain the principles and operating methods of the Group in relations with the various stakeholders, and the definition of objectives and targets have increased the transparency and effectiveness of the reporting. 

The social and environmental issues associated with operations are reported in detail in the Sustainability report, published in May and drawn up in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) used worldwide by organizations of all sizes and sectors. In addition, to provide a more complete view of the activities and achievements of the Group during the year, some non-financial information that integrate financial ones have been anticipated in this document since last year.

With the approval of the Ethical Code for suppliers of the Generali Group by the Board of Directors of the Parent Company in December, the Group has continued on the drafting of specific codes to be adopted in order to increase transparency for the various stakeholders and, at the same time, to require them to comply with the Group policies and its voluntary codes. 

The systematic approach, initially applied in the environmental field, is now gradually being extended to dealings with the other stakeholders as well. The Group is in fact proceeding to the identification of the objectives and targets on social issues most relevant to the various stakeholders, to be pursued with targeted and effective actions and to be used to measure and report in a more timely and transparent way on the results achieved over time, in a perspective of continual improvement. 

The systematic approach to sustainability has led the Group to attribute fundamental importance to listening to stakeholders, who are increasingly involved in decision-making processes. The Generali Group is aware that cooperative, appreciative stakeholders are indispensable to maintaining its success over time and contributing to the economic and social growth of the communities in which it operates.

In relations with employees and sales force on pay-roll, the Group's social responsibility translates first and foremost into recruiting, remuneration, management and career development policies that prohibit all forms of discrimination. Diversity is viewed as an opportunity for enrichment. All employees are hired under regular employment contracts and all forms of child labour and forced and compulsory labour are prohibited. In order to verify compliance with the core international standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Group annually monitors the situation. As known, the new Ethical Code of the Generali Group, approved in May 2010 and still under implementation during 2011, invokes the fundamental human and labour rights. The Code was translated into the local languages and published on the Group website and on that of each Group company. The correct understanding and dissemination of the contents of the document to all Group employees, and the creation of awareness of fundamental human rights are pursued by means of an e-learning course that was translated into 22 languages. The training program was launched in 2011, when it involved more than 6.000 employees, mainly in Asia. The course will be distributed to South American and European employees as to be ended by 2013. In general, the Group is committed to intense training activities with the aim of fostering personal and professional growth of its employees: the Group's competitive advantage is built upon their commitment and competence. The Group guarantees working conditions that are respectful of individual dignity in safe, healthful working environments. The attention to employees is expressed also in responding to their needs for measures aimed at striking a balance between professional and family life. Since such measures facilitate the management of family duties, they help create a better mood in the company.

The Generali Group has an Environmental Policy invoking what stated in the Ethical Code in the area of the environment. The document defines the Group objectives and commitments in this respect. The Group aims to contribute positively to sustainable development by steering management choices toward a smaller direct and indirect environmental impact of its business. To that end, it considers one of its primary objectives the efficient management of natural resources in such a way as to minimise the environmental consequences of the consumption of energy, paper and water, waste production and greenhouse gas emissions. As for the achievement of the objectives, the development and dissemination of a greater environmental responsibility among employees are of fundamental importance. In order to implement the Environmental Policy of the Generali Group, a project was launched in 2009 with the aim of introducing a Group Environmental Management System (EMS) compliant with the ISO 14001 standard. During the year the implementation of the System went on defining new procedures, such as the internal audit one that will begin in 2012. The inclusion of new buildings expanded the scope monitored, that represents 38.8% in terms of workforce (36.3% on equivalent terms in 2010). The scope totally includes 78 buildings where Group insurance companies, banks, real estate and services companies are located in six countries, i.e. Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.

Safeguarding the environment and respect for human and labour rights are also issues on which the Group seeks to involve its stakeholders.

The Group aims to forge lasting, mutually satisfactory relationships with its contractual partners. The general principles to be placed at the basis of profitable relations with such stakeholders are defined in the Ethical Code for suppliers, which envisages their evaluation also according to social and environmental criteria. In the document the Group ensures to its contractual partners relations inspired by correctness, transparency and confidentiality. It requires them to align with the Group policies while performing business and to ensure compliance also with all the levels of the relevant supply chain. Specifically, suppliers are required to comply with all national and international applicable rules and regulations, including the Fundamental ILO Conventions and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Code also introduces suitable monitoring procedures on suppliers to verify compliance with the requirements, and sanctions for non-compliance. 

Maximum value is consistently added to the investment made by the Group's shareholders by maintaining high levels of return on investment in the long term and increasing competitiveness and financial solidity. The ethical suitability of investments is ensured by compliance with specific guidelines designed to eliminate the risk of supporting companies that, directly or through subsidiaries, produce weapons that may violate fundamental humanitarian principles, sell military equipment or weapons to specific countries and/or are involved in serious or systematic violations of human rights, severe environmental damage, serious corruption or other serious violations of fundamental ethical norms. The Group thus aims to influence behaviour of issuing companies and to encourage them to responsibly act.

The Generali Group attributes fundamental importance to satisfying its customers through the high quality of its products and services, which are constantly adapted to suit the new needs detected through the various forms of surveying carried out by Group companies. Customer relationship management is considered a crucial aspect: specific training courses are prepared for the sales force in order to ensure that advisory services always meet expectations. Sales force is asked to engage in behaviour that meets standards of correctness, professionalism and transparency and to cooperate with customers to identify the solutions best suited to their protection needs. The Group is also committed to spreading responsible behaviour among consumers from a social and environmental standpoint, a goal it pursues by living up to its image as an insurer with a commitment in this area that is also able to offer products and services with particular social and environmental value. Such products are, for example, products that meet specific needs of disabled, seriously ill people, immigrants, etc., that cover facilities that produce renewable energy, or that reward the virtuous conduct of the policyholders. They represent a very small part of the business: in 2011 the related premiums totally amounted to about € 1,480 million in the main countries where the Group operates. In order to provide the poorest members of society who would otherwise be excluded with insurance products, in the last years the Group has launched microinsurance projects, especially in China, Indonesia, Columbia and India. It is, in particular, to be mentioned the Generali Millennium project in India, described in the context of community initiatives.

The Group contributes to improving society by playing an active role in the communities in which it operates. Its commitment to the community takes the form of providing funds or other types of support to a large number of social, cultural, environmental and sports initiatives, in addition to implementing projects of mutual interest with institutions, non-profit associations and research and training centres. In this context it is to be mentioned the Generali Millennium project, carried out by Generali in cooperation with Altis - Alta scuola impresa e società at the Cattolica University of Milan. This initiative, that achieved its first important results in 2011, is of great importance for its connection with the core business. The Group intends in such a way to contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals aiming at improving social and economic conditions in the world's poorest countries. The project consists of two main lines of action: it supports the launch of micro business activities by disadvantaged people, mainly by women, and the development of microinsurance products. The project developed in India, where the Group operates in joint venture with Future Generali, has allowed to get the professional skills and experience of Generali at the service of the specific needs of the poorest members of society who can thus underwrite accident and health policies, from which they were previously excluded.

In 2011 the commitment made and the results achieved in the various areas of sustainability have resulted in the inclusion of Assicurazioni Generali in STOXX Europe Sustainability, STOXX Europe Sustainability ex AGTAF and STOXX Europe Sustainability ex AGTAFA, indices for companies selected by the STOXX Europe600 on the basis of the rating assigned by the Sarasin Bank considering environmental, social and governance criteria. Such inclusion is to be added to the confermation that the Company is in the following ethical indices:

  • ASPI (Advanced Sustainable Performance Indices) Eurozone, index selecting the top 120 Eurozone companies in the DJ Stoxx600 on the basis of the rating assigned by VIGEO, an ethical rating agency, and the ASPI Eurozone guidelines;
  • ECPI Ethical Global Equity, index for the 300 large-capitalisation companies operating on the global markets, ECPI Ethical Euro and ECPI Ethical EMU Equity, indices for the 150 large-capitalisation companies operating on the European and Eurozone markets, respectively, and ECPI Developed Ethical+ Equity, index for the 400 large-capitalisation companies operating on the global developed markets that have passed the SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) screening by ECPI;
  • FTSE ECPI Italia SRI – Benchmark and Leaders, Italian indices for socially responsible investment created in partnership with FTSE and ECPI;
  • FTSE4GOOD Global Index and FTSE4GOOD Europe Index, equity indices created by the FTSE group to assess the social and environmental performances of companies and to facilitate investments in companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards.

Finally, in the first months of 2012 Assicurazioni Generali have been included in several ESG indices of MSCI and in the new index ASI (Axia Sustainability Index) launched by Axia Financial Research, that had already included Generali in Axia Global Sustainability Index.

The rating assigned by Oekom Research, an important indipendent German agency focusing on socially responsible investment, is C classified as Prime for bonds and shares of the Company. Ratings are expressed in twelve levels ranging from A+ (highest) to D- (lowest). up