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Tuesday, Nov 09, 2004

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UDV offers accident cover for bartenders

Purvita Chatterjee

Mumbai , Nov. 8

TIPPLERS may have had their drink, but here's something to cheer the bartenders too.

UDV India has decided to offer free accident insurance to bartenders across the country by partnering with National Insurance for its schemes.

Irregular work hours, often stretching late into the night, coupled with bad road conditions make it unsafe for bartenders. So in an effort to build goodwill among the bar-tending community, UDV has launched the initiative to cover nearly 576 liquor-vending outlets in leading metros, an exercise the MNC has undertaken exclusively for the Indian market.

Mr Santosh Kanekar, Director (Marketing), UDV India Ltd, told Business Line, "Bartenders are an important part of the industry and a good number of them are not covered by any policy. They are prone and susceptible to road accidents when they have to go back late at night.'' Covering nearly 3,200 bar men across the country, the insurance programme has recently been rolled out in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata.

"More than doling out sops to them, we felt there are families which are dependent on them and if we give them this cover, they will feel assured of the safety net,'' added Mr Kanekar.

Instead of treating it as a business proposition, at the moment UDV is testing its accidental insurance scheme to judge its acceptability with the bar tending community. Extending it as a part of its existing corporate social responsibility initiatives, UDV believes that this is part of making things better for the liquor industry. "There are no buy back values involved and neither are we promoting our brands with such an initiative. This accident insurance scheme has been developed specifically by the company for the Indian market,'' says Mr Kanekar.

Other initiatives to give a boost the community of bartenders includes the formation of a bar man's club across cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. Explaining the concept, Mr Kanekar adds, "The idea is to bring these people together to get a community feeling in them. Such clubs would hold a mix of educational and entertainment based activities.'' In the recent past UDV did organise tasting sessions for brands such as Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker.

UDV has also instituted bar tending scholarships at the bar tending school in Delhi run by a veteran of the liquor industry. "There is a job opportunity in this sector with so many discos and pubs coming up. Besides, flair bar tending has become an art and there are bar tending schools such as the one in Delhi which imparts training in this area,'' says Mr Kanekar.

Hoping to make a difference to the profession of bar tending through such initiatives, this is UDV's way of making an attempt at being a good corporate citizen apart from the aiding its own industry.

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