During a recent ICMIF webinar on “New business models for the mutual of the future“, Lauri Saraste, Director at ICMIF member LocalTapiola (Finland) spoke of the many initiatives that his organisation had undertaken to try to help members and communities in Finland during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before going on to describe some of the initiatives, Saraste said: “Finland is a remote country and has not been as hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as some other countries. However, there has been a major impact on both the economy and on the society, so trying to help our customers in a variety of ways has been very important for us.”
LocalTapiola is trying to offer flexibility for its corporate customers and they can apply for additional payment time for their premiums which is granted on a case-by-case basis. In addition, customers with loans can apply for flexible payments also. To make it easier for SMEs to get financing, LocalTapiola has increased its investments in corporate loans offered via Fundu (a Finnish corporate loan company and partner organisation of LocalTapiola).
LocalTapiola Group is a major real estate investor and has made efforts to support its tenants. For example, restaurants and cafés that are tenants in buildings owned by LocalTapiola are free from rent payments until the end of May, and tenants of other premises can be given additional payment time or a reduction in rent, again granted on a case-by-case basis.
LocalTapiola has provided EUR 1,000,000 in coronavirus-related aid in Finland. Most of the donations have been made to support the Finnish Red Cross. For example, the support of LocalTapiola has been used to start up a coronavirus helpline.
The exceptional situation currently being experienced in Finland due to the pandemic has caused a lot of feelings of insecurity for people. LocalTapiola has tried to help its customers by organizing topical webinars relating to the coronavirus. This includes webinars which discussed the effects on the economy and investment market; methods that companies can use to get through the crisis and how the coronavirus crisis affects the everyday life of farmers.
LocalTapiola has regional companies throughout Finland and many of these have taken action locally in order to help fight the coronavirus and to develop local vitality and the well-being of people. These include:
- Promoting testing and sample analysis of the coronavirus – EUR 200,000 donated to the University of Jyväskylä to help the university analyse coronavirus samples
- Supporting healthcare – donations to local hospitals to help them fight coronavirus
- Supporting local companies – supporting small firms by purchasing services and gift vouchers
- Supporting food assistance organisations
- Supporting pupils who are home-schooling through donations of tablet computers
- Supporting counselling for young people through a chat service that makes it possible for young persons to discuss their concerns privately and safely with a specially trained counsellor
- Donations to and recognitions of healthcare staff/nursing homes/residential care homes/families
- Tablet computers for people living in residential care homes in order for them to have video calls with their families
- Flower deliveries to cheer up residents in nursing homes and residential care homes as well as flower gift vouchers to healthcare staff
- Streamed family concert online