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Published on: Aug. 15, 2020, 2:41 p.m.
ICICI Lombard responds to the crisis
  • ICICI Lombard is one of the first private-sector institutions to help the government in combating Covid-19

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

As Covid-19 spread in India, says an ICICI Lombard spokesperson, it was clear that its effect on the underprivileged was severe – in terms of both direct and indirect influences. The need for a combined effort across stakeholders – governments, public and private healthcare – had never been more critical.

To combat the pandemic, the insurance company recognised the importance of ramping up testing and ensuring its availability en masse. The company also recognised that the roadblocks – due to lockdown – for healthcare workers needed to be cleared quickly to ensure an effective response to the crisis.

As a leader in general insurance, it concentrated its efforts on preventing the spread of the virus among the underprivileged, partnering with Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Apollo Diagnostics and Suburban Diagnostics to enable timely screening and restrict community transmission. The company funded the process of testing, including the cost of the kit, sample collection from home, diagnosis and generating test results.

Nation-wide testing was initiated in the first week of April itself - and by the time testing requirements were boosted in mid-April, ICICI Lombard became one of the first private-sector institutions to help the government in its efforts.

The company and its partners worked together to create awareness among government hospitals, fever clinics at hotspots, and doctors from various municipalities about fund availability for BPL and Antyodaya Card Holders. This was a huge relief for the testing centres and hospitals that were burdened with sample loads: the additional backing ensured higher testing outreach and diagnosis rates. The partners have successfully completed over 3000-plus tests for BPL cardholders in Maharashtra.

Provisions were also made available to healthcare warriors at three hospitals in Mumbai, where over 2,500 PPEs (personal protection equipment) and masks were provided. This ensured that the health of these health care workers was taken care of, too, ICICI Lombard has also funded the expenses for the RT-PCR machine with the Indian Institute of Science and Research, Pune (endowment amount- ₹ 20 lakh). The equipment will help in optimising the operations of the testing centre.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co, which has been directly initiating or funding multiple CSR initiatives since 2011 is in sync with its vision of going beyond its business goals and contributing to the well-being of people at large, is involved in healthcare, road safety, education, skill development and sustainable livelihoods, and disaster relief.

Its other CSR initiatives include the Caring Hands Campaign, in which its employees volunteer for projects they themselves cherish, to provide preventive healthcare services to underprivileged children. This campaign has, in nine years, been a catalyst in affecting the lives of 250,000 children. Over 800 camps were organised in over 300 locations across the country and almost 28,000 pairs of spectacles distributed to underprivileged children.

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