Our employees are paid according to their specific tasks, their skills and qualifications and their performance. At the same time, employees in Germany benefit from the security and advantages of the collective agreement for the private insurance industry. 93% of our employees at the Hannover location are covered by the collective bargaining agreement. The remaining 7% can be attributed to some non-collective agreements with executives. Group-wide, 100% of employees in Brazil, Italy, France, Sweden and Spain are covered by collective bargaining agreements. In 2017 no instances are known of business operations that could impede the rights to freedom of association or collective bargaining at our company.
Our Code of Conduct, which is applicable worldwide, specifies that nobody may be disadvantaged on the basis of gender. Salary increases and promotions follow a clearly defined process. The individual promotion grades for staff employed in Germany are subject to transparent criteria published in the company's in-house intranet, which are also purely task- and skills-based.
Throughout our entire Group employees are selected without regard to origin. Rather, in order to fulfil the exacting quality standards of our complex reinsurance services, it is necessary to have a diverse range of experts from various disciplines and with a variety of cultural backgrounds working for us. Individuals from around 40 nations work at the Hannover location, for example.
Our company's expenditures for social security contributions and assistance amounted to altogether EUR 56.8 million in the year under review. Supplementary to individual and statutory retirement provision, employees in Germany who have been with us for longer periods of time are entitled to inclusion in the employer-funded retirement provision models. The amount of the funding contributions is determined by the individual salary levels and calculated according to the pay scale groups under the collective agreement.
Employees can accumulate further employee-funded occupational retirement provision by way of deferred compensation.
Furthermore, we offer our employees additional voluntary benefits. These include life, health and disability insurance policies. Such offers are dependent upon the particular location and relevant legal stipulations. All members of our staff are granted the same benefits in proportion to their working hours.
Performance appraisal targets are agreed for all executives in the context of our management system Performance Excellence 2.0. These are reflected in not only profit-oriented but also non-financial indicators.
Clear and transparent arrangements are just as important to us in the area of personnel recruitment. For a number of years now we have participated in the Fair Company initiative, a campaign supported by the publications Handelsblatt and Wirtschaftswoche for the fair employment of interns. As a "fair company", we undertake to comply with various fundamental principles, including for example not filling full-time positions with interns, volunteers, student employees or long-term temporary workers.