Respecting Human Rights

As a global insurer and reinsurer with diverse and complex operations and supply chains, we recognise that we have the potential to negatively impact human rights, causing harm to individuals and communities. Any actual, or potential, violation of human rights is likely to have multifaceted risk consequences, such as reputation, brand, financial, legal, regulatory and operational risk. QBE rejects any form of slavery and takes active measures to prevent modern slavery risk throughout our supply chain.

In 2021, we released our Group Human Rights Policy, which outlines our guiding principles and helps to integrate human rights considerations into existing policies, procedures, frameworks and decision-making tools across our business.

Read our Group Human Rights Policy

The Group Board oversees human rights and modern slavery-related issues at QBE in line with our broader approach to sustainability. The Board received five updates in 2022 in relation to our action plan. Our Human Rights and Modern Slavery Action Plan will be delivered through enterprise-wide cross-functional collaboration with subject-matter experts across the business.

The plan is managed, coordinated and driven by the Group Sustainability team who collaborate cross-functionally with subject-matter experts across the business. The team is responsible for guiding the assessment and the effectiveness of our policies and business activities. 

Integrating human rights into our core business

We seek to uphold the human and labour rights of our employees globally. QBE strives to be an equal opportunity employer wherever we are in the world. We provide our employees with training, education and online resources on discrimination and appropriate workplace behaviour consistent with our Code. In line with our broader approach to inclusion of diversity, we constantly strive to create a sense of belonging in our people, value their uniqueness, and enable every person to contribute. Consistent with local employment laws, across our global operations, 27.8% of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. All our employees have the right to freedom of association.
Our Environmental and Social Risk Framework outlines our position on ten sensitive sectors requiring minimum due diligence processes or revised risk appetites and strategies. These sectors were identified based on a risk mapping of key environmental and human rights risks in our underwriting and investment portfolios. The E&S Risk Framework was approved by the Group Board in early 2021 and operationalised throughout 2021. We also encourage our customers to adhere to these criteria in their business activities.  
We continue to embed human rights considerations in our investment portfolio strategy. In 2022, we enhanced our investment grade corporate credit due diligence approach, updating our focus areas to include policies, controversies, labour standards and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also continued to embed a set of human rights and modern slavery-related questions as part of our external fund manager due diligence. 
We seek to positively impact human rights through our work in the communities in which we operate. Further information can found on our QBE Foundation page

QBE aims to mitigate any potential adverse impacts arising from our operations by taking appropriate action, including the leveraging of our business relationships. Our Supplier Sustainability Principles (SSPs) set minimum expectations of our suppliers. We seek to engage suppliers and partners who share our commitment to sustainability, and who will work with us to achieve our objectives.

As part of embedding our strategy, commitments and philosophy, we developed the Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) Policy, which outlines the approach for effectively managing risks related to third parties with whom we work. The framework includes risk domains such as Information Security, Privacy, Modern Slavery, Financial Crime, Conduct Risk and Business Continuity. It provides clarity regarding relevant legislative and regulatory requirements applicable to QBE, and is expected to be applied to third parties we engage, at each stage of the TPRM lifecycle. For further insight into our supply chain due diligence, refer to our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement.

In 2022, our annual training on the Group Code of Ethics and Conduct included a module on human rights to raise awareness across the Group. In line with World Human Rights Day 2022, we launched a human rights training module which is available for any employee to complete. To date, we have delivered specific training to employees in the operational areas that we identified as having direct responsibility or contact with our supply chains. These teams include people in our Risk, Compliance, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, and Procurement teams. 

All QBE employees are responsible for reporting instances or suspected instances of human rights violations in accordance with the QBE Incident and Issue Management Standard, to their direct manager and their local Divisional Compliance Team. Where a QBE employee or contractor prefers to report an incident or suspected incident anonymously, this can be done through the QBE Ethics Hotline (refer to our Group Whistleblowing Policy). 

External parties may report human rights incidents through their QBE procurement manager, relationship manager, or business owner. If they wish to remain anonymous then they may report the incident through the QBE Ethics Hotline. QBE encourages all of its stakeholders to access our channels in the case of any human rights breaches. 

Our Modern Slavery Risk and Compliance Standard outlines our Remediation Process. Further detail can be found in our annual Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement below.