Diversity, trust and corporate citizenship - An interview with Allianz SE Board Member Renate Wagner

The interview was held in German. The text below is a translation. 

I am firmly convinced that diversity has immense potential in a global company like Allianz. After all, we have almost 160,000 employees from five generations with over 172 nationalities and gender equality. 

The world has become much more complex and volatile in recent years. Especially in times like these, a homogeneous team often reaches its limits. Diverse teams not only achieve better results, but are also more innovative and resilient. Numerous studies have shown this, as has my own experience. Many different perspectives lead to better solutions, which is why diversity also makes us, Allianz, stronger and more competitive. Our approximately 122 million customers are diverse, and in order to offer them the best possible service, we need to reflect their diversity in our workforce.

The key question is how to unleash the potential that diversity has in a global company. In my view, inclusion is the key here. This means that in addition to various measures that promote diversity, the right cultural framework is essential. At Allianz, we made diversity, inclusion and a culture of respect a strategic anchor many years ago and actively promote them. For example, we set up the Global Inclusion Council back in 2007, which is made up of more than 20 CEOs and board members. The council develops our diversity and inclusion strategy, shares best practice examples, develops innovative ideas and is responsible for implementing our diversity and inclusion goals.

Of course, we are delighted that our commitment has been recognized both internally and externally, including first place in the insurance industry and first place in Germany in Refinitiv's global D&I Index or first place in the DAX 40 German Diversity Index. Awards like these show us that we are on the right track, but they also help us to learn from the best in the world. 

We have achieved a lot in recent years, particularly in terms of gender diversity. With 52% women and 48% men, we have parity in the Allianz workforce. The proportion of women in management positions worldwide is now 39%, significantly higher than the global average. Around 30 percent of Allianz's operating profit is generated by female CEOs, and with the recent appointment of my colleague Claire-Marie Coste-Lepoutre as Chief Financial Officer, we will be the first DAX company with four female board members. But is that enough for us? Of course not.

At Allianz, we are pursuing ambitious targets to further increase the proportion of women across all levels by the end of 2024 and are well on the way to achieving them. Clear targets are important, but they are not enough on their own. The aim is to achieve these targets in the long term, and this requires certain framework conditions. 

In addition to the previously mentioned Global Inclusion Council, our five global employee networks, which cover the various diversity dimensions of gender, generations, nationalities/ethnicities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+, are an important lever. In these networks, dedicated colleagues drive diversity and inclusion issues and use the collective voice of our global workforce to help shape and implement Allianz's diversity and inclusion agenda. 

Furthermore, equal pay, meaning equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, also plays a central role. We carry out an annual global review of equal pay and thus prevent potential pay inequalities. We have also recently become EDGE-certified for the vast majority of our companies and employees. EDGE was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011, stands for “Economic Dividends for Gender Equality” and is the world's leading assessment for gender and intersectional equality.

Important levers is the next generation of female managers, a balanced management pipeline and succession planning. To this end, for example, we launched the #sheleads mentoring program in 2011. Just recently, around 100 female participants met for a day of presentations, discussions and networking. As part of the program, the young talents often job-shadow with a female board member or top manager over several days. Programs like these help us to ensure a balanced management pipeline and succession planning.

In addition to clearly defined goals, all of these framework conditions are essential in order to achieve them sustainably. 

According to the Trust Barometer 2023 by Edelman, one of the world's leading communications and consulting agencies, society trusts business more than governments, NGOs or the media. The report also shows that employees trust their own employer more than any other institution. As Allianz, we therefore have a great responsibility, which we take very seriously.

Trust is at the core of our business model, which is also reflected in our purpose "We secure your future". This purpose encompasses all our stakeholders: Our customers, our employees, our investors and society.

In a world where trust in many institutions is severely lacking, our stakeholders' trust in Allianz is a competitive advantage and is reflected in many awards. For example, we have been able to continuously improve customer loyalty in recent years, and around 59 percent of our business units have now achieved the status of "Loyalty Leaders", which means they are leaders in terms of customer loyalty. In addition, Allianz was recently once again named the most valuable insurance brand in the world by Interbrand. Both underline our brand strength and the trust that our customers place in us. The key to this is our employees and a good and healthy corporate culture, which we actively and continuously foster. In addition to diversity, equal opportunities and inclusion, we also prioritize the personal development and health of our employees. All of this contributes to Allianz's culture of trust. 

We want our actions to have a positive impact on the lives of the people and communities in which we operate and are committed to tackling the pressing social and environmental issues of our time. In the area of corporate citizenship, we focus primarily on supporting young people and people with disabilities so that they can start an apprenticeship or employment, for example.

To this end, we pursue international strategic programs that are complemented by local activities with aid organizations on the ground. This ensures that our support has a high impact. For example, our colleagues locally work together with selected child and youth protection organizations. 2022, they completed almost 80,000 hours of voluntary work in many countries.

As a sponsoring partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are committed to promoting the emotional and physical resilience of disadvantaged young people and fair pay for professional female footballers with the "Move now" donation and support program. The program also offers our employees the unique opportunity to train with and learn from para-athletes. Incidentally, some of the former athletes now work at Allianz, which is also part of our approach. 

In Germany, we have been involved with Allianz Kinderhilfe for over 25 years, helping disadvantaged children and young people to become strong for tomorrow. In 2022, we supported 319 projects with a total volume of almost 1.5 million euros, including, for example, the Felix Neureuther Foundation's "Beweg dich schlau" sports program for children at 25 kindergartens and the German Disabled Sports Association's "SportWoche für Alle 2023". 

We also receive very positive feedback from our employees on the annual "World Cleanup Day". Last year, around 2,250 colleagues in 50 Allianz units worldwide came together to clear beaches, parks and streets of garbage. A great effect of the campaigns is team building, because they experience something meaningful together. Many also take the motivation for environmental protection into their everyday lives - and that's exactly what we want to achieve.

It is fundamentally important to us that our social commitment reaches people directly and makes a positive difference to their lives. 

We evaluate all of our programs and initiatives using the recognized method of impact measurement. For each project, the input – that is, the number of volunteer hours, the amount of financial support or networking with partners – is assessed. The effects on the respective target group – the output – and the long-term social impact – the impact – are then compared with this input. This gives us a better understanding of which resources are being used correctly and where we can create synergies. 

We know from internal surveys that our climate protection activities and our corporate volunteering opportunities, along with our flexible working models, contribute most to the satisfaction of our employees. Around 80 percent of our employees state that they are satisfied with the volunteering opportunities offered by Allianz. We are pleased about this, as the younger generation in particular expects measurable and genuine social commitment from their employer.

As an insurer and financial services provider, we feel the effects of climate change and increasing weather events very directly. We have therefore committed ourselves to helping implement the Paris climate targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We want to drive the transition to a climate-friendly economy together with our customers and the companies in which we invest. 

Specifically, we plan to gradually reduce the greenhouse gases associated with our investments and our insurance business to net zero by 2050 and defined concrete interim targets for 2030 in September, against which we will be measured. We report on our progress annually in our Sustainability Report. 

Over the past four years, we have already reduced emissions from our investments by more than a third and are aiming to reduce them by a further twenty percent by 2030. We are confident that many companies and industries will switch to low-emission business practices and that we will be able to achieve our targets. In our insurance business, we plan to reduce CO2 emissions in motor vehicle insurance by at least 30 percent by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 45 percent in corporate insurance. 

In order to support the expansion of renewable energies and other transformation technologies, we are planning targeted investments of EUR 20 million and want to triple our growth with climate-friendly solutions in corporate insurance. 

We even want to achieve net-zero emissions in our business operations by 2030. This will be achieved, for example, by purchasing 100% green electricity for our offices and IT from next year as well as various energy efficiency measures in buildings. Business trips are also increasingly being replaced by video conferences and environmentally friendly means of transport are generally preferred. Our own car fleet will be gradually converted to electric cars by 2030. 

For me, a good manager is characterized not only by professional competence, but also by emotional intelligence. The combination of IQ and EQ is crucial for motivating your own employees. I don't define leadership by position or title, but by the willingness and ability to inspire others, to show them a clear vision and to motivate them. 

As a manager, I also think it is essential to be curious, to constantly reflect on yourself and to critically scrutinize your business model on a daily basis. The question "Are we still good enough?" should always be present. The ability to let go of the past when it is no longer useful is crucial. To do this, you need to be courageous, pragmatic and adaptable, especially in today's fast-moving world. 

Diversity is also part of my management philosophy, because diverse teams make companies more successful and competitive. The strengths of employees in a global group like Allianz are immense. For me, leadership means utilizing this diversity and bringing together the many complementary strengths. This is not only fun, but also unleashes incredible power. 

Interview with Renate Wagner
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Move Now Program
Sustainability Report
The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 737 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of December 31, 2023.
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:
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Diversity, trust and corporate citizenship

In an interview with a magazine that is published by the publisher of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Renate Wagner , member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE, talks about diversity, trust, corporate citizenship and her personal leadership principles. Allianz made diversity, inclusion and a culture of respect a strategic anchor many years ago. Renate Wagner explains the measures with which these are actively promoted.