Our Belief in Taking Action
In 2017, we continued to implement our regular employee volunteer programs, which are designed to support underserved people and communities.
Korean Re employees participate in a home repair and neighborhood revitalization project for a small town called Jeogok Village in Cheongju. The project aims to help people with poor housing conditions renew their homes and neighborhoods. Korean Re regularly supports the project in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity Korea. We first engaged in the neighborhood revitalization project in 2016 to lend a helping hand in home repairs and improvements for the village where there were many decrepit houses aged 30 years or older.
In 2017, four groups of Korean Re employees volunteered to take part in the project for two days each over the course of two months, from September to October. Under the direction of Habitat staff, they supported the repair works of old houses, such as replacing ceiling panels and wallpaper and painting exterior walls.
From September to December, we organized five rounds of community food-sharing events at a local Red Cross volunteer center. Groups of Korean Re employees cooked and baked, and the dishes that they made were packed and then delivered to those in need, including senior citizens living alone and low-income families.
On December 5, CEO Jong-Gyu Won and a group of Korean Re employees visited Ihwa-dong, an inner city neighborhood of the Korean Re head office of the Jongno District in Seoul and donated rice and food products to financially difficult households in the community. Some of the packages were personally delivered door to door by Korean Re volunteers. We also donated school supplies to children from low-income families. This annual giving initiative has continued for the past 14 years since 2004 when Korean Re agreed to become a regular sponsor of the neighborhood. Through the donation program, we provide support to the less privileged in the area once a year.
Art and culture is another important area that we focus on when we pursue our corporate social responsibility initiatives.
On March 30, Korean Re entered into a sponsorship agreement with the Miral Welfare Foundation and committed KRW 100 million to a cello ensemble named Wing. Under the sponsorship, the funds committed by the company would be used to pay for lessons and instrument repairs, and to organize concerts over a one-year period.
Wing was created by the Foundation in 2011 with the aim of helping children and teenagers with developmental disabilities communicate with the world through music, as they could easily face isolation from society. The ensemble consists of 27 autistic or intellectually handicapped children.
Over the past four years, these young musicians have given hope to many people through annual concerts and non-regular performances across the country, and received awards at several competitions including a grand prize from the Korea Music Concours for Disabled Students in 2016. They were even invited to the U.N. Headquarters to perform a rendition.
Their activities, however, largely depended on corporate sponsorship that, unfortunately, ended in late 2016. With the fate of Wing in the balance, they tried hard to raise funds on social networking sites to keep the ensemble alive, but individual donations were not enough to finance their cause. This sad news was caught by CEO Jong-Gyu Won of Korean Re. At his behest, the company reviewed the need for sponsorship and finally decided to become a new sponsor of Wing.
At the signing ceremony, CEO Won said, “The (re)insurance industry was born out of a spirit of mutual aid. As a reinsurer, we have a social responsibility for paying attention to the happiness and safety of our neighbors. People with developmental disabilities deserve care and attention from society so that they will not be alienated.” He went on to say, “These students have created a melody that really moved my heart. I hope that their beautiful melody keeps ringing out around the world.”
We have long been committed to doing good things for society and fulfilling our corporate social responsibility.
Since 2014, Korean Re has implemented an international corporate volunteering program to support the rehabilitation of communities devastated by natural disasters. This program is designed particularly for our new employees to give them the opportunity to have fully immersive experiences of volunteering for disaster relief activities. It helps them become more motivated, engaged and inspired as they start a new career at Korean Re.
In 2017, we sent a group of volunteers to Thailand to help rebuild a typhoon-hit community. Comprised of 19 Korean Re employees, including new hires and five officials of Habitat for Humanity Korea, the volunteer team visited Ayutthaya, Thailand on February 12. Over a six-day period, they participated in a house-building project for four local families in Tha Din Daeng Village. Some of the activities included digging holes for septic tanks, mixing concrete and laying bricks for internal and external walls.
The small village where our volunteers gave a helping hand had also suffered tremendous damage from the mega-flood that swept across the country back in 2011, resulting in enormous economic losses not only to the country but also to a large part of the global economy and industries. Losses from floods or other natural disasters can have a devastating impact on individuals and businesses, and the (re)insurance industry helps them get back on their feet in the aftermath of a disaster. The first-hand experiences of being a part of the disaster relief effort allow our young employees to learn how essential function reinsurance can perform on communities as part of a social safety net.