Milwaukee-based financial services firm Baird has upgraded its identity theft protection offering from a voluntary benefit to an employer-sponsored benefit.

Identity protection company InfoArmor, which Baird calls a “white glove service,” will provide the benefit to about 3,400 employees in 2018, says Lisa Mrozinski, director of total rewards at Baird. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based InfoArmor will also offer its services at a discounted rate to Baird’s clients.

Baird will pay $2 per employee per month to offer the benefit, which includes access to a call center and employee support in the event of a data breach or identity theft.

“When you look at the impact in terms of the lost work hours and the amount of time people are spending on this from a productivity standpoint and the fear that comes with it,” says Mrozinski. “It’s not a huge amount that we’re paying, but I think the cost to not do it was more than the cost of the benefit.”

Prior to Baird offering the employer-sponsored benefit, the financial services firm offered identity theft protection to employees as a voluntary benefit through MetLife, Mrozinski says. The utilization rate was less than 10%, she says.

In 2015, MetLife discontinued its standalone identity theft protection benefit, Mrozinski says. Rather than removing it from Baird’s benefits package, the financial services firm conducted an internal review in 2017 to determine if the benefit was still needed and if so, which vendor it would supply the benefit.

“What we found was rather staggering in terms of the incident rates and the amount of time it actually took for someone to resolve those types of issues and how much time it was taking away from people being productive in the workplace,” Mrozinski says.

She adds, “There’s a feeling that people in that situation really are scared and they’re just trying to figure it out.”

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