The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Hannover Rück SE declare pursuant to § 161 Stock Corporation Act (AktG) that – with the following divergences – the company was and continues to be in conformity with the recommendations made by the Government Commission on the German Corporate Governance Code published by the Federal Ministry of Justice on 12 June 2015 in the official section of the Federal Gazette:
Item 4.2.3 Para. 2 Sentence 6 of the Code recommends that there should be a maximum limit on the amount of variable compensation paid to members of the management board.
The variable compensation of the members of the Executive Board is granted in part in the form of Hannover Re share awards. The maximum number of share awards granted at the time of allocation depends upon the total amount of variable compensation, which is subject to an upper limit (cap), i. e. the allocation of share awards is limited by the cap. The share awards have a vesting period of four years. During this period the members of the Executive Board therefore participate in positive and negative developments at the company, as reflected in the share price. The equivalent value of the share awards is paid out to the members of the Executive Board after the end of the vesting period. The amount paid out is determined according to the share price of the Hannover Re share applicable at the payment date plus an amount equivalent to the total dividends per share distributed during the vesting period. The share awards consequently follow the economic fortunes of the Hannover Re share.
The amount of variable compensation deriving from the granting of share awards is thus capped at the time when the share awards are allocated, but it is not capped again at the time of payment. Bearing in mind the harmonisation of the interests of shareholders and of the members of the Executive Board of Hannover Rück SE that is sought through the share awards, the company does not consider further limitation of the amount of variable remuneration resulting from the granting of share awards at the time of payment to be expedient. From the company’s perspective, the use of Hannover Re share awards as a method of payment constitutes – in economic terms – a compulsory investment in Hannover Re shares with a four-year holding period.
For formal purposes and as a highly precautionary measure, Hannover Rück SE is therefore declaring a divergence from Code Item 4.2.3 Para. 2.
Pursuant to Item 4.2.3 Para. 4 of the Code, when management board contracts are concluded care should be taken to ensure that payments made to a member of the management board upon premature termination of his or her contract of service do not exceed a certain amount.
Premature termination of a service contract may only take the form of cancellation by mutual consent. Even if the Supervisory Board insists upon setting a severance cap when concluding or renewing an Executive Board contract, this does not preclude the possibility of negotiations also extending to the severance cap in the event of a member leaving the Executive Board. In addition, the scope for negotiation over a member leaving the Executive Board would be restricted if a severance cap were agreed, which could be particularly disadvantageous in cases where there is ambiguity surrounding the existence of serious cause for termination. In the opinion of Hannover Rück SE, it is therefore in the interest of the company to diverge from this recommendation.
Pursuant to Code Item 5.2 Para. 2, the Chair of the Supervisory Board shall not chair the Audit Committee.
The current Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Hannover Rück SE served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer in the period from 1994 to 2002. During this time he acquired superb knowledge of the company and he is equipped with extensive professional expertise in the topics that fall within the scope of responsibility of the Finance and Audit Committee. With this in mind, the serving Chairman of the Supervisory Board is optimally suited to chairing the Audit Committee. In the opinion of Hannover Rück SE, it is therefore in the interest of the company to diverge from this recommendation.
Item 5.3.2 Sentence 3 of the Code recommends that the Chair of the Audit Committee should be independent.
The current Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee is at the same time also the Chairman of the Board of Management of the controlling shareholder and hence cannot be considered independent. As already explained in advance in the justification for divergence from Code section 5.2 Para. 2, the current Chairman of the Supervisory Board is, however, optimally suited to chairing the Finance and Audit Committee. This assessment is also not cast into question by the fact that the Committee Chairman cannot therefore be considered independent within the meaning of the German Corporate Governance Code. Furthermore, since his service as Chief Financial Officer of Hannover Rück SE dates back to a period more than ten years ago, it is also the case that the reviews and checks performed by the Finance and Audit Committee no longer relate to any timeframe within which he himself was still a member of the Executive Board or decisions initiated by him as a member of the Executive Board were still being realised. In the opinion of Hannover Rück SE, it is therefore in the interest of the company to diverge from this recommendation.
Hannover, 9 November 2016
Executive Board, Supervisory Board