Launched in 2012, the Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience shines the spotlight on Group Companies’ commitment to supporting social causes. Named after the Supervisory Board President of Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the accolade is awarded each year to three VIG Group companies which have provided outstanding service to the community through their social activities, or those of their employees.
Social commitment has many faces and facets at Romanian Omniasig
Romanian Omniasig secured the Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience in Gold in 2020. Already in 2019, the insurance company developed new projects for the benefit of socially disadvantaged people in rural areas, focusing on educational opportunities for future generations. In the course of a newly established partnership with “World Vision Romania“, the company renovated a school in Malu Roşu – a village in the north of Bucharest. More than 40 employees including the CEO and two other board members renovated 1,300 m² of interior space on their “Social Active Day” – in a total of around 500 working hours. With the support of five of the country’s biggest influencers, whom the Romanian company brought on board of the project, the school renovation was communicated via social media – among other things, the influencers called for book donations for the school.
In addition, Omniasig is a proud partner of “Global Money Week”, a financial education programme for children supported by the Ministry of Education and the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority, among others. All cooperation partners share the goal of educating children about money and finance at an early age. In 2019, Omniasig not only donated relevant book material, but also purchased specialised literature. For example, children in a very impoverished neighbourhood in Bucharest were delighted to receive 200 school books. Further donations of money and goods in the form of food, hygiene articles or clothing for disadvantaged children and young people in poorer areas were collected in the course of the “Food Bank” campaign. This was the fourth time that Omniasig organised this campaign together with the Romanian Red Cross. 30 employees and the CEO delivered the donations personally.
The Romanian company is also committed to environmental protection, among other things with the internal company campaign “Eco Pilots on 2 Wheels”. During the summer months, employees were encouraged to cycle to work instead of driving. A total of 60 employees took part. The three employees who cycled to work the most often were rewarded with a new bicycle. Omniasig has also been paying attention to responsible paper consumption and recycling in many of its offices in Bucharest since 2014. In 2019, employees contributed to the recycling of 7,329 kilograms of paper and cardboard – the equivalent of around 110 recycled trees. In addition, as part of their Social Active Day, employees plant seedlings each year in the municipality of Cormarnic, an area in Great Wallachia. This action, initiated by Ominasig in 2016, is carried out in cooperation with “ROMSILVA” and the “Tourism Association for Nature Oxygen”, not least to curb the effects of illegal tree felling – a widespread problem in Romania. As a long-standing reliable partner of the country’s largest social volunteer organisation “Let’s do it, Romania!”, 42 employees together with around 365,000 volunteers collected rubbish and waste throughout Romania in 2019.
A big heart for children and people with special needs
Healthy and sporty children are a special concern of the Slovak Komunálna. That is why the company introduced the “Sports Day in Kindergarten” in 2018 and expanded it the following year due to its enormous response. Eight kindergartens across all Slovak districts took part in the age-appropriate sports and leisure programme specifically developed by the insurance company. Beforehand, the kindergartens were renovated by a total of 77 employees and the insurance company’s board of directors. The range of activities on this very special “Social Active Day” was broad, depending on the condition of the kindergarten: painting, handicrafts, building and gardening took place.
In addition, Komunálna employees visit social institutions for children and young people in numerous Slovak cities every year. There they distribute gifts or make a guest appearance as Father Christmas. In addition to the “Sports Day in Kindergarten”, Komunálna supported a total of 161 projects in the sports, cultural and social sectors in 2019 – and this across all Slovak regions. The project “Oskar without Barriers” also received a grant from the insurance company. Slovak cities and municipalities that focus on the needs of people with disabilities in an exemplary way and set special impulses in the field of inclusion of people with disabilities are awarded. In this context, Komunálna once again supported the charity fundraising campaign of the TA3 Television Foundation. For the sixth time, TA3 organised a fundraising event in support of people with special needs. By bicycle, the head of the TA3 Foundation Peter Káčer covered hundreds of kilometres across the whole of Slovakia. With this extraordinary gesture, Káčer gives hope to people who are impaired like himself, and sensitises a broad public to treatment options for people with special needs.
As a long-standing partner of Children of Slovakia, Komunálna also participated in the “Childfriendly Community” project. Its main aim is to create an environment for children and young people that enables them to participate socially and have a say in all areas of the community that are relevant to them. The aim is to counteract the exodus of young families. In 2020, Komunálna was awarded the Günter Geyer Award for Social Conscience in Silver for its numerous social activities and support in the humanitarian field.
A vital partnership with the Powiślańskiej Voluntary Foundation (PFS)
Vienna Life proved that it has a strong social conscience in Poland through its partnership with the Powiślańskiej (PFS) voluntary foundation, for instance. The NGO has been caring for socially disadvantaged people, including families from poor backgrounds, addicts and the unemployed, for almost three decades. In the Warsaw district of Powiśle, PFS offers preventive and therapeutic programmes, as well as running two-day centres for children and young people and two counselling centres for families. Around 70 Vienna Life employees helped out at the volunteer foundation on their “Social Active Day“. Among other things, they assisted with dance and film production workshops for day centre children. Enthusiastic about the possibilities for spending their free time, some of the children also discovered their passion for jazz dance. The young people, on the other hand, were amazed at the procedure of a professional film production, in which they themselves were among the main protagonists.
In the summer of 2019, the insurance company participated in financing a three-week canoeing holiday trip on the Wkra River for children from the PFS Day Centre. During their stay at the holiday camp, the children also took the opportunity to talk to psychologists. In the run-up, however, the sportiness of the employees was in demand: because the prerequisite for financing the canoe trip was the participation of Vienna Life employees in the sports competition “Fit for the Holidays”. The aim was to complete at least 1,000 hours of sports with the children from the day centre. The goal was exceeded: About 50 staff members were active in sports together with the children for more than 1,600 hours (which corresponds to about ten weeks).
Based on the successful cooperation with PFS, Vienna Life launched the “Zauważaj” (“Note”) campaign. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that in our hectic everyday lives we are hardly attentive to the needs of others. Conversely, even a few small gestures can make a big difference. The campaign has resulted in a 20-minute documentary film, advertising, online and social media activities. The film intertwines the lives of children from PFS day centres, a tutor working there and a Vienna Life staff member. Vienna Life also provided unbureaucratic support to the voluntary foundation during the Corona pandemic in the reporting year, for example by purchasing disinfection dispensers. Rapid support was also provided in the event of a fire at one of the day centres: Vienna Life promptly provided new furniture.