Our social engagement
ARAG is the internationally successful, innovative quality insurer – independent and family-owned. As such, we take our responsibility to society very seriously.
Responsible action is a key success factor in business. The business activities of all companies are embedded in their social environment. Thus entrepreneurial spirit and social consciousness are closely linked – especially in times of economic uncertainty. ARAG is a family enterprise, and that is why the combination of entrepreneurial and social responsibility is so important to us. Our independence as a family enterprise gives added weight to our corporate responsibility and obliges us to exercise it wisely.
Our responsibility to our customers, business partners, employees and their families is based on long-term, sustainable action. ARAG has positioned itself as an internationally successful, innovative quality insurer – independent and family-owned. In keeping with this fundamental self-image, we take our social responsibility very seriously.
Heinrich Faßbender had a clear goal in mind when he founded ARAG over 80 years ago: to make equal opportunity under the law a reality for everyone. That idea remains as relevant and current as ever for us today. And it makes social responsibility an essential component of our business model.
As we define it today, the term “corporate responsibility” involves managing our business sustainably at several different levels. We aim to offer maximum benefit to customers and consumers with our products and services. Beyond that, however, we also assume responsibility by supporting and promoting suitable projects. Our corporate governance principles represent the framework for socially responsible action on the basis of voluntary commitments.
Conflict management in schools
On the way to school, in the classroom or in the global Internet – conflicts arise wherever children and youth come together in large numbers. But when bullying or “dissing” becomes a daily occurrence, classroom morale suffers along with the victims. What is the best response to situations of this kind? When does bullying start? How can these structures be penetrated and recognized early on? That is precisely where the innovative “Conflict Management in Schools” project initiated by ARAG with the support of the NRW Ministry of Education and Schools and in collaboration with the Likom GmbH mediation institute takes hold.
Mediation at ARAG
ARAG is an ideal partner for schools concerned with the issue of conflict resolution. Conflict resolution is an integral aspect of day-to-day work for an insurance company. And taking such matters to court is not always the best answer. Preventive approaches to conflict resolution, such as mediation, play an increasingly important role today. The resolution of disputes through mediators between the parties involved has been fully integrated into our legal insurance products for many years – and not only in Germany. It is becoming an increasingly important feature of the products and services provided by ARAG’s international subsidiaries and branches as well.
Up to 30 school per year
Promoting fairness, establishing effective mechanisms for conflict resolution and preventing violence – these are the three goals of the pilot project launched in March 2014. Students, teachers and parents at 21 mainstream and vocational schools in various school districts in North Rhine-Westphalia are currently benefiting from this program.
The project will be carried out at up to 30 more schools every year until 2017. Its primary purpose is to introduce statewide quality standards for conflict-management structures as well as preventive and corrective measures. Teachers, parents, social workers and school psychologists are trained as mediators. In turn, they then train students as conflict guides. The project has been certified under the title “ARAG Mediators” as a Commitment to Action by the Clinton Global Initiative.
As a family enterprise, we are naturally concerned with social issues, and the Internet is a central focus of interest. It impacts on the lives of people all over the world – especially those of children and adolescents. Surfing the World Wide Web can enhance the quality of life tremendously. But it also poses risks, for which suitable preventive measures are needed. We at ARAG know from experience how important prevention is.
We regard sustainable efforts to promote media competence, the dissemination of information, education and heightened awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying as helpful approaches to prevention. With that in mind, we have supported three studies on cyberbullying and its consequences.
In the “Cyberlife” study, some 10,000 students, teachers and parents were asked about cyberbullying and violence in the Internet. The study on “Bullying and Cyberbullying among Adults” showed that these issues are relevant not only to children and youth, but to adults as well.
The results of the “ARAG Digital Risks Survey” underscored the fact that cyberbullying is a “ticking time bomb in the Internet.” According to this first multinational trend study based on a survey of leading scholars from Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and the US, the victims of cyberbullying are growing progressively younger, schools are exposed to growing pressure and people are affected to an increasing extent in the workplace.
The Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung (DKJS) is a non-profit educational foundation. Founded in 1994, the DKJS is dedicated to the goal of ensuring that young people have good opportunities for personal growth and learning. All children in Germany should be able to develop their individual strengths and assume responsibility for their own lives. ARAG supports the DKJS through close cooperation in efforts to heighten awareness of the challenges and opportunities of cyberlife among children and youth. Emphasis is placed on promoting activities devoted to prevention here as well.
We promote equality of opportunity in cyberlife. Users of the Internet have rights as well, and children and youth are in particular need of greater protection. Within the context of joint projects with the DKJS, such as workshops and activities involving outside experts, we aim to help children and youth find the courage to take charge of their lives and play a part in shaping our society.
Through the “ZEIT für die Schule” project, the largest school project initiated by a newspaper in Germany, the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT supports the improvement of reading skills and introduces students in grades 9 and above to the medium of the newspaper.
Within the framework of this project we are providing funding for the publication of free teaching materials for teachers in secondary levels I and II, the delivery of free copies of DIE ZEIT and the special issues on “Media Studies” and the “A-level, and then what” (a guide for high school graduates) to school classes as well as the production of newsletters for teachers.