Agency alliance launches identity theft protection
Under a recent partnership with LifeLock, more than 5,700 members of the Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance (SIAA) are poised to offer identity theft protection as a voluntary benefit to their commercial accounts at a discounted rate.
Services will include monitoring bank and credit accounts, credit ratings, a patented alert system and assistance in identity restoration should a theft occur. They will be accessible through SIAA’s online, member-only portal for difficult-to-place and specialty risk markets. The new offerings will become available this month and follow a similar arrangement for personal-line clients that already took effect.
The LifeLock services represent another way for SIAA agents to protect their clients and client assets, giving them a competitive advantage. “More than ever, independent agents need to consider the entire client relationship as it relates to protection and preservation of assets,” notes Doug Coombs, SIAA’s chief marketing officer.
Only 3% of private employers with 10 or more employees offer ID theft protection, although the percentage is greater at those with more than 100 employees, according to LIMRA’s latest research on the topic. Among employers considering adding a new voluntary benefit option, LIMRA reports that 17% indicate they are interested in offering identity protection, although only 6% said it would be their first choice.
Interest is growing
Eastbridge Consulting cited ID theft protection, along with legal plans and pet insurance, as non-traditional products that are gaining traction with employees. A recent Eastbridge study found that ownership rates for these policies quadrupled to 12% between 2013 and 2015.
Roughly 7% of U.S. residents, or 17.6 million people, were victims of identity theft in 2014, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Of these, slightly more than half were able to resolve the resulting financial and credit issues within a day. For 9%, or nearly 1 out of 10 of this group, however, the process took more than a month.
Another study released by Javelin Strategy & Research found that on average a new instance of identity fraud occurred every two seconds during 2014, resulting in the theft of $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers.
“Identity theft is a growing problem."
“Identity theft is a growing problem,” SIAA CEO Jim Masiello noted in a statement. “With [the LifeLock] partnership, we’re enabling our member agencies to offer the best identity theft protection to their customers at a special, discounted rate so they can live more freely in the digital age.”
An estimated 13% of all independent agencies in the U.S. are or have been affiliated with SIAA. The alliance and its 48master agencies across the U.S. have created 3,400 start-ups, predominantly from former captive agents.