HUNDREDS of insurance industry staff in Hampshire are being offered free coronavirus antibody tests for themselves and their families.

Zurich, which has 600 staff at Whiteley, has offered the tests to all 4,500 of its UK employees.

The idea was piloted in Switzerland and is being rolled out to Zurich staff everywhere.

The insurer says research showed 95 per cent of staff wanted the tests. They will be administered at Bupa clinics and results will be issued within three days. The tests are optional and staff will not be required to reveal the results.

John Keppel, chief operating officer at Zurich UK, said: “It’s not surprising that our survey sample showed up to 95 per cent of Zurich UK’s 4,500 employees expressed an interest in receiving this test so we intend to make them Covid-secure and easily available. We have chosen Bupa as a reputable and trusted provider.

“They will be administering approved antibody testing on our behalf.

“In the short-term, Zurich isn’t committing to any levels of return to office occupancy, instead choosing to align to government guidelines and industry best practice. As social distancing restrictions are reduced, we will in turn, ensure our customer needs are incorporated in our office occupancy levels. At this point, we remain largely home based as a workforce.”

Zurich said the tests would be available to staff and adults in their immediate family living in the same household. The one-off tests are intended for peace of mind and will not be linked to returning to the office.

Zurich has also arranged other benefits, including refunds on car park season tickets and corporate gym membership; free access to the Calm sleep and meditation app; the option to reduce pension salary sacrifice payments and sell holiday leave back to the company; and free office equipment for those working from home.

The company has launched a wellbeing hub which includes a virtual GP service for staff and families. It has reduced childcare vouchers to £1 offered emergency loans of up to £750 per employee, available within 72 hours of approval.

The business has allocated £1.7million to ease the pressure on charity partners chosen by staff and has made a £13m donation to a fund set up by the insurance and long-term savings industry to help people hardest hit by the crisis.