California-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, the principal U.S. operating unit of Germany’s Allianz, announced that it now provides Identity Theft Restoration Services throughout the United States.
“Identify theft is the fastest growing crime in America, with victims numbering in the millions and economic loss exceeding 50 billion US dollars annually,” a company bulletin indicated. “The U.S. Federal Trade Commission reports that the average victim spent 60 hours resolving fraud involving new accounts, adding up to a total of 297 million hours spent on identity theft resolution in 2003.”
It added that the resulting publicity surrounding this epidemic “has resulted in demands from agents and policyholders who want substantial insurance protection against financial loss and assistance in dealing with the ensuing crisis a victim experiences.”
Fireman’s Fund said it has therefore set up a network to provide Identity Theft Restoration Services nationally, “offering customers access to a personal counselor who can help identity theft victims with the legal and logistical burden of putting their lives back together. The decision makes Fireman’s Fund one of the first major insurers in the country to deliver the service as part of an insurance policy.” In addition the bulletin noted that the enhancement will come at no additional cost – and with no deductible – to Fireman’s Fund policyholders who have Prestige Home Premier with Added Measure coverage and is available from March 30.
“Coverage for the expenses associated with identity theft has become a standard add-on to many homeowners insurance policies. But our new service addresses the real issues associated with identity theft – the hassle and headache of correcting the problems caused by fraud,” stated Scott Garfield, vice president, sales and marketing, Personal Insurance. “Identity theft not only is stressful for the victim, but can also prove costly and time consuming. We are happy to remove this burden from our policyholders and place it into the hands of an expert who will work as the victim’s advocate, handling every detail and addressing any reoccurring fraud issues.”
Fireman’s Fund initiated its “Prestige Home Premier with Added Measure product” to protect polcyholders against identity theft in 2003 with Identify Fraud Expense coverage of 25,000 dollars. The company indicated that the Identity Theft Restoration Services were a logical “next step” in helping to “transfer the burden of crisis resolution from the victims to expert crisis managers.”
As part of the new service, Fireman’s Fund said it “will provide advice and advocacy services including: toll-free access to a personal advocate who works with victims one-on-one; fast notification to relevant agencies; arrangement of appointments with law enforcement; ongoing credit monitoring and fraud alerts; and restoration of credit files, Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records, government records and financial accounts.”