The Hartford Financial Services Group has announced it will offer Identity Recovery Coverage as a feature built into most of its Spectrum and Spectrum Xpand small business policies effective Jan. 1, 2006.
The Hartford’s coverage, which protects individuals including a sole proprietor, partners of a business and owners of 20 percent or more of a business, though not the business entity itself, offers:
1) A toll-free Identity Recovery Help Line at The Hartford where a business owner can call for advice and information on how to respond to a suspected case of identity theft.
2) Once a theft is confirmed, an insurance claim is referred to an expert Identity Recovery Case Manager who will guide the business owner through the necessary steps to correct his or her personal credit history and identity records.
3) Finally, while many financial institutions absorb fraudulent charges, there are still expenses in reclaiming identity. The Hartford’s Identity Recovery Coverage for Business Owners also provides identity theft expense reimbursement coverage of up to $15,000 for certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as obtaining credit bureau reports, postage, phone and shipping fees, and notary and filing fees.
On average, it takes victims of identity fraud about 60 hours and $1,200 to correct the problem, The Hartford says. The thief may have piled up debt on new credit cards, used the stolen identity to commit crimes or bought and sold property over many months before the business owner spots the problem.
“When you own a business, your good name on the sign above your door is often as important as the products and services you offer, so rapid response is crucial when that name is tarnished,” said Jim Ruel, senior vice president of small commercial insurance at The Hartford. “Although, most people are inexperienced in tackling this problem, the Identity Recovery Case Managers can speed the recovery process by navigating through the maze of credit bureaus, creditors and financial institutions. It’s a practical solution to a very real problem that’s growing in frequency and sophistication.”
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