Zurich implements paid lockdown leave in UK
Swiss insurance giant Zurich has introduced additional fully paid leave for parents in its UK offices who may struggle to juggle their work and childcare commitments under the third national lockdown.
The scheme will allow parents and carers to take 10 extra days of paid leave, after schools across the country were forced to close under new government rules. The supplemental days can be taken consecutively or individually as needed, with more than a fifth of Zurich’s 4,500-strong UK workforce expected to benefit from the programme, the insurer says.
Boris Johnson earlier this week announced England and Wales would enter a third national lockdown as daily cases neared an unprecedented 60,000. Under new measures, the public has been told to stay at home unless necessary for work, health emergencies or grocery shopping. All non-essential retail will also be forced to close, alongside pubs, bars, cinemas and other leisure venues.
The restrictions are expected to continue until at least mid-February, though further comments from the Prime Minister today indicate the legislation will continue until the end of March to allow the country to re-open in a "gradual unwrapping". The latest lockdown has thrust many parents, already juggling working from home and childcare, into the tricky prospect of guiding their kids through remote education. Schools across the country have been closed, allowing only vulnerable children and the offspring of essential frontline workers to attend in COVID-safe groupings.
Support for carers
“With schools closed, working parents will be frantically trying to juggle their jobs and childcare responsibilities,” said Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR. “We already offer flexibility for employees who want to change their working hours or structure some days differently. But for parents trying to balance work, childcare and home schooling, this may not be enough.”
He says the scheme aims to offer employees the crucial flexibility and time to support their families, and that the extra leave is not restricted to parents: “This is also available for anyone with other caring commitments.”
Zurich’s latest measure follows a suite of support systems introduced since March 2020. Staff have access to small emergency loans of up to £750, can reduce their pension salary sacrifice, sell holiday back to the company, and access counselling and well-being programmes.
TrueMotion insurtech acquired by Cambridge Mobile Telematics
One of the world’s leading telematics insurtechs, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, was launched in 2010 and powers 65 enterprise programmes in 28 countries.
Meanwhile, TrueMotion, which launched in 2012, has enjoyed significant success as a telematics operator, raising US$10mn in its seed funding round in 2010, and then partnering with the motor insurtech Noblr in 2019.
TrueMotion has also entered the European market, collaborating with LB Forsikring to promote safe driving in Denmark.
The joining of the companies means TrueMotion’s 150-strong workforce will join Cambridge Mobile Telematic’s already established team, along with their client list, which includes Travelers, Farmers, and Progressive.
The new company will focus on increased interest in using telematics for crash reconstruction in personal lines claims and more innovation in the telematics space.
Speaking about the acquisition, William Powers, CEO, and co-founder of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, described the move as an opportunity to explore new markets, expand throughout the US and bring telematics to a much wider customer base.
"With this acquisition, we will use our world-class talent, technology, and scale to help our partners overcome the complex challenges of global road safety,” he added.
Ryan McMahon, VP of insurance and customer affairs for Cambridge Mobile Telematics, explained that expanding the company with additional talent and customers would help meet the demands of a growing telematics market. He also quoted data from a study by J.D. Power which revealed that personal auto telematics users have doubled in five years to 16% of policyholders.
McMahon told the press, “This market is rapidly expanding, and building more capabilities is more important than ever,” McMahon says. “Both companies follow similar philosophies and grew up in similar ecosystems, and now we’re bringing those cultures together.”
He continued, “Telematics is absolutely the future of commercial auto and rideshare, and it’s kind of a step up beyond the normal telematics."
McMahon added, “We will not only widen our lead in smartphone telematics, but also use our combined talent to invent new products for risk measurement, contextual telematics, and crash mitigation across emerging mobile, IoT, connected-car, video, and sensing technologies.”
Five reasons why telematics is in demand
- It reduces fuel costs and increases operational efficiency. This is a consideration for most commercial fleets given the rising costs of fuel
- The technology enables fleet managers to plan operations with greater precision by providing exact locations, timescales, and speeds of vehicles.
- It improves driving standards and monitors driver behaviour, reducing detours and ensuring responsible driving.
- It helps fleet health and maintenance by monitoring the health of operational vehicles.
- It increases corporate social responsibility in terms of care for the driver, the vehicle, the impact of driving in terms of emissions, and also the security of the vehicle itself.
Image credit: Getty