Vienna Insurance Group began the Social Active Day initiative in 2011. It encourages Group employees to become involved in a good cause and as a rule allows them to take one working day off for this purpose. Because of the impressive response, the Social Active Day has been successively expanded since it began, so that Group companies in 19 countries now participate. Employees used 4,566 working days for volunteer activities in 2013.

A few examples of these activities from the different Group companies are presented below:

Austria – Active support for Canisibus

Day after day, two Caritas buses travel along a fixed route in Vienna to deliver hot soup and bread to people who often have this as their only warm meal of the day. The meal is gratefully received not only by homeless people, but also by men and women who take the soup home for their families. In addition to a meal, they also receive consolation and encouragement from Caritas employees. Many VIG Holding and Wiener Städtische employees helped the volunteers for these buses under the Social Active Day initiative.

Czech Republic – Help for flood victims of ˇCPP employees

Around 160 employees of the Czech Group company ČPP assisted a large number of initiatives as part of Social Active Day, including providing help to victims of the devastating flood of 2013. The volunteers helped the victims remove mud and clean up after this serious natural disaster.

Romania – Asirom assists organisation for cancer patients

Employees of the Romanian Group company Asirom have supported the non-profit organisation M.A.M.E. with a variety of projects since 2011. The organisation mainly helps cancer patients, especially socially disadvantaged children and young people, by providing art therapy, self-help groups, advice on applying for funding for therapy in other countries, etc. M.A.M.E. has already helped more than 120 patients since it was established in 2009 (see also the entry page on Corporate social responsibility).

Albania – First Social Active Day

The first Social Active Day in Albania took place in 2013 and was immediately well received: the VIG company Interalbanian started the “Keep the beach clean” initiative and 70 employees took part. Together with school children, they cleaned the beach at the seaside city of Orikum in

Southern Albania, thereby helping neighbouring beach areas create public awareness of the need to avoid and dispose of garbage. The initiative also attracted great attention in a large number of local media.

Croatia – Erste Osiguranje motivates children to play outdoors

Motivate children to spend more time playing outdoors – this was the aim that the volunteers from the Croatian VIG company Erste Osiguranje undertook to achieve in 2013 when they began their “Day of children's games” initiative. Play camps were organised in Zagreb, Split, Osijek, Rijeka and Pula between April and June. The goal of the initiative was to encourage sports activities and the team spirit of the children.

Ukraine – First Social Active Day

As part of the first Social Active Day in the Ukraine, around 50 employees of the Group company UIG renovated a playground for the Yolochka orphanage in Simferopol on the Black Sea. A trip to an ostrich farm was also organised for special needs children from the Kiev region.

Hungary – Help for chronically ill children

At the end of May 2013, over one hundred employees of the Hungarian VIG companies Union Biztosító and Erste Biztosító continued a tradition that first began in 2008. As part of the Social Active Day, Bátor Tábor, a vacation camp for chronically ill children in the Hungarian city of Hatvan, was prepared for the arrival of the children. Outdoors, the volunteers did some gardening and repair work and laid 24 tonnes of wood chips on the pathways. The indoor work included painting walls and organising the children's rooms.

Günter Geyer Social Active Award*

Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the principal shareholder of Vienna Insurance Group, awards a prize for outstanding social commitment each year, named after General Manager Günter Geyer. The annual prize is awarded to three Group companies whose social activities, or those of their employees, deserve special mention for their achievements in the service of their fellow men. The prize winners also receive EUR 100,000, which is provided for the promotion of additional social projects.

Wiener Städtische in Austria received first place in 2013 for its outstanding consciousness-building activities in the area of nursing care – especially for the “Carer with a Heart” initiative. Second place went to Kooperativa Slovakia for its extensive efforts to help disadvantaged children and youth with special needs. Third place was awarded to Bulstrad Life in Bulgaria, among other things for the repeated assistance given to the Radost children’s home by employees of the company.

Special Recognition Awards for Social Involvement granted for the first time*

In addition to helping charitable organisations, Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the principal shareholder of VIG, would like to motivate Group employees to go beyond the Social Active Day and become socially active in their free time to promote the ideas of civil society. For this reason, a Special Recognition Award for Social Involvement was established in 2013 to recognise the involvement of these employees. Nominations for this award are made by fellow employees, and a jury selects ten winners from the nominations submitted.

Employees from six countries (Bulgaria, Macedonia, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) received the award in 2013. A lawyer, for example, provides free legal advice to victims of crime and also uses her professional expertise outside of her work. Other awards were given to a voluntary member of a Red Cross crisis intervention team and the co-founder of a support organisation for kidney patients and their families. The winners were invited to enjoy a busy weekend schedule of sightseeing and cultural events in Vienna.

* Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, the principal shareholder of VIG, provided all or a major part of the support for these activities.