ISO Introduces New Identity-Theft Expense Coverage

Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO) has introduced a new optional endorsement under its Homeowners 2000 program that insurers can offer homeowners and other consumers to protect themselves against the growing crime of identity theft and fraud.

The new ISO endorsement for identity-fraud expense coverage will help homeowners, condominium unit owners and renters defray necessary costs for rectifying one’s credit-history reports.

The optional endorsement provides up to $15,000 of coverage for an insured’s expenses directly resulting from an identity fraud discovered or known during the policy period.

These expenses include: costs for notarizing fraud affidavits or similar documents attesting to fraud; costs for certified mail to law-enforcement agencies, financial institutions and credit agencies;
lost income — up to a maximum of $200 a day and total payments not to exceed $5,000 — from time taken off from work to meet with law-enforcement personnel or credit agencies; fees for reapplying for a loan when the application is rejected solely because of incorrect credit information received by the lender; and reasonable attorney’s fees to defend the insured against lawsuits and remove criminal or civil judgments.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes in America. Our new optional endorsement provides insurers the standardized policy language on coverage that consumers can consider to protect themselves against this serious personal exposure,” said Kevin B. Thompson, ISO’s vice president of personal and standard commercial lines.

So far, ISO’s endorsement, filed with insurance regulators in August this year, has been approved in 30 jurisdictions for adoption by insurers, effective March 2003.