At Munich Re, our business model is based on responsible, sustainable, and forward-looking action over the long term. We regard the protection of human rights as a particular obligation, one that we strive to meet in line with internationally accepted human rights principles. It is part and parcel of our approach to corporate governance, which embeds economic, environmental, and social requirements into our definition of success. The Board of Management has confirmed this commitment by clearly stating the Munich Re Group’s declaration of principles on human rights. In addition, the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG) – passed by the German government in summer 2022 – prompted us to optimise our existing processes and corporate duties of care with respect to human rights and to introduce a new Group-wide code of practice with a broader and restructured approach.
By implementing these measures, Munich Re complies with all requirements set out in the LkSG.
We substantiate our commitment to respecting human rights by recognising the following international guidelines and standards:
- The International Bill of Human Rights, which consists of the:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- ILO (International Labour Organization) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- The ten principles of the UN Global Compact
- The Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI)
- The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
Key components of human rights management
Munich Re has committed to observing its duty of care with respect to human rights all along its value chain and to respecting internationally recognised human rights.
To this end, we have developed the following processes and framework:
Board of Management declaration to protect human rights
Risk analysis for identifying and assessing human rights risks
Using a structured risk analysis, we systematically check which business units or activities could be prone to an increased risk of human rights violations or environmental harm. These processes have already been introduced in investment, procurement and human resources; In addition to the existing requirements for the consideration of ESG aspects in underwriting, a structured risk analysis process is currently being developed in order to have an even better system for identifying the risk of human rights violations in future.
In addition, risk analyses are carried out on an ad hoc basis in response to significant changes in the risk situation, such as expansions into new business areas or product offerings, or if we become aware of related breaches of duty on the part of our indirect suppliers.
The risk analysis is based on a country-industry list that we compile and regularly update, drawing on a range of databases to do so. We also use this to screen new and existing business relationships and, if necessary, initiate preventive or remedial measures.
Implementing and monitoring preventive and remedial measures
We maintain a list of companies with which, due to confirmed and substantial human rights violations, we choose not to do business. The list is reviewed and updated at regular intervals.
In the event of rising risks or concrete evidence of potential human rights violations that is either revealed in the course of our monitoring or supplied to us via our whistleblowing channels, we carefully review the facts and initiate the preventive or remedial measures needed in order to avoid, end or mitigate the violation in question.
Monitoring and effectiveness review
Our Human Rights Officer regularly monitors and, if necessary, updates our human rights strategy and risk management process. The findings are reported to the Board of Management.
The effectiveness of our preventive and remedial measures and of our grievance procedure is reviewed annually and on an ad hoc basis.
Anyone can report human rights risks and breaches of duties to respect human rights using Munich Re’s Compliance whistleblowing portal. Whistleblowers can access the portal via the corporate intranet or the public Munich Re website. Fundamentally speaking, evidence that reaches us via other channels is handled using the same principles and processes.
Every reported case of potential misconduct is carefully reviewed and if violations are confirmed, appropriate disciplinary measures are initiated if necessary. When human rights violations within our remit are brought to our attention, we enter into a dialogue with the parties in question and pursue remedial action. The same procedure applies when we are notified of a human rights breach via an alternative channel.
Reporting and communication
The responsibility we take for protecting human rights is reflected in the internal and external reports we publish every year on progress and decision-making processes.
Our corporate due diligence requirements are set out in various internal guidelines, codes and work instructions.
The following publicly accessible documents detail how Munich Re upholds its responsibility for respecting human rights: our Sustainability Report, our Combined non-financial statement, our Communication on Progress to the UN Global Compact (CoP), our annual reports on the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
In addition, in line with international regulations, we publish a statement signed by the Board of Management on the UK Modern Slavery Act and on the Australian Modern Slavery Act.