The Lion of St Mark on one of Generali’s buildings.
Photo: Generali Group

RWTH’s first partner: Generali Deutschland

Social engagement was part of the DNA of the largest primary insurance group in Europe.

In January 1858, the insurance group Generali Deutschland, trading under the name ‘Aachener und Münchener Feuer-Versicherungs- Gesellschaft’, donated 5,000 thaler for the purpose of setting up a polytechnical institute in the Rhine Province of Prussia. This donation became the motivation for the subsequent founding of the University of Aachen. The ‘Aachen- Münchener’ was in fact the first partner to RWTH, which began its teaching activity in 1870 as the ‘Königliche Rheinisch-Westphälische Polytechnische Schule zu Aachen’. The company supported Aachen’s new educational establishment in its founding year with a guarantee fund of 1.3 million marks and a sum for building costs to the tune of one million marks. RWTH and Generali have maintained a close partnership, rich in tradition, ever since.

With these investments, the insurance group not only made a substantial contribution towards the establishment of what is now a university of worldwide renown. The creation of RWTH a little over 150 years ago also provided a defining and indispensable institution for the Aachen region. Everybody in Aachen and far beyond benefited from it, as also did Generali Deutschland and many other companies and institutions in Aachen and worldwide.

The long-standing partnership between Generali and RWTH continues to this day to take the form of joint activities, among which the funding of teaching and research and also support to students feature prominently. Examples include the Dr. Carl Arthur Pastor Foundation and the Friedrich Wilhelm Foundation, both of which are funded by Generali Deutschland AG. With payments totaling more than 350,000 euros since 2015 and well over 300 scholarship recipients in this period, Generali is one of the main sources of grant aid to students at RWTH.

The close relationship can also be seen in the fact that many former RWTH students are today employees in Generali Deutschland companies and are among the higher performers there. All these close and long-standing links were also a decisive factor for the decision by Generali to act as the main sponsor for RWTH’s 150-year anniversary celebrations in 2020 and 2021.

Social engagement and sustainability

The promotion of knowledge and education – as demonstrated by the partnership with RWTH – is a part of the Generali tradition. The same applies for the company’s social engagement, on the principle that being a good corporate citizen is part of a strategic sustainability policy.

Sustainability and corporate responsibility should in fact form part of a company’s DNA. In the core business area the focus is on excellence and sustainability in business processes.

Currently we are living in a time of social change in which sustainability, ecological, and social challenges such as demographics and climate change are coming ever sharper into focus. The Generali Group has anchored sustainability firmly in its strategy and as a result is boosting its basis for reputation and trust. Sustainability means acting responsibly towards future generations – on the economic, ecological, and social levels.

For Generali, social engagement represents greater protection and improvements in people’s lives. It does not consider its engagement as some kind of philanthropic ‘extra’ to its business, but rather as a part of its mission. An outstanding example is its initiative ‘The Human Safety Net’. The Human Safety Net is a global movement of people who help other people. Its objective is to unlock the potential of people living in vulnerable circumstances, so that they can transform the lives of their families and communities. The programs of The Human Safety Net support vulnerable families with small children and integrate refugees through work in their hosting community. For this purpose The Human Safety Net works with non-governmental organizations and the private sector in Europe, Asia, and South America. Here again, partnership manifests itself in a particular way. The network is open to cooperation with companies, businesses, and foundations that share its objectives.

In this context, the RWTH Innovation Entrepreneurship Center and the RWTH Collective Incubator were also involved in supporting 50 refugees with the know-how to become independent entrepreneurs and enabling the establishment of seven new businesses. This has been financed by the Carl Arthur Pastor Foundation of Generali Deutschland. If one were to trace a line along the social engagement and partnership activities of Generali from the founding of RWTH in 1870 to today’s The Human Safety Net, many more funding initiatives would come to light. What is common to all of them is that the close, responsible, and long-term partnership between the insurer and the recipient is always central. Here the partnership with RWTH is exemplary: over its more than 150-year history, RWTH has achieved a high international reputation with the highest levels of specialist expertise. To support it in this, to further consolidate and extend this, was and remains the funding objective of Generali and demonstrates that social engagement, the promotion of knowledge and education, and investment in human potential create security, space, and quality of life for our society.

– Jörg Linder

The Generali Group is one of the largest global insurance groups and asset managers. Founded in 1831, the Group has representations in 50 countries and in 2021 achieved premium revenues of 75.8 billion euros. With over 75,000 employees who support 67 million customers, the Group has a leading position in Europe and a growing presence in Asia and Latin America. Central to Generali’s strategy is its commitment to lifetime partnership with the customer, which is achieved by means of innovative, personalized solutions, first-class customer experiences and both person-to-person and digitalized sales capacities. The Group has sustainability integrated into all its strategic decisions in order to create value for all stakeholders and at the same time to contribute to building a fair and stable society.

Generali is one of the leading primary insurance groups in the German market, with income from contributions of 14.9 billion euro, some 10 million customers and 9,200 employees. The company is in a unique partnership with Germany’s largest independent financial consultancy, Deutsche Vermögensberatung, which acts as the exclusive outlet for Generali’s products. As a part of the international Generali Group, in Germany, Generali operates under the brand names Generali, CosmosDirekt, and Dialog in the life insurance, health insurance, and accident/ indemnity insurance segments.