Insurer to begin offering ID theft protection

Alm. Brand set to help the rising number of identity theft victims, while others consider following suit

Insurance company Alm. Brand has become the first in the nation to offer its customers an insurance policy that will help in the event of identity theft.

While the new offer doesn’t compensate the victims of identity theft, it will mean that customers won’t have to pay the costs and annoyances associated with proving their claims. Alm. Brand’s new policy means that specialists can take over the task of convincing banks, shops and other creditors that the client has been the victim of identity theft.

“The world is a dynamic place and because identity theft is an issue that has gained much attention recently, we can see that it is a problem that is on the rise and something we have reacted to,” Pia Holm Steffensen, an executive with Alm. Brand, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We did consider offering compensation as part of the policy, but generally the bank covers the amount people lose. The burdensome part of the dilemma is having to call all your creditors yourself.”

Alm. Brand customers who have homeowner's insurance policies will be extended identity theft insurance for free for a two-year trial period. The plan also lets people buying items online to call the insurance company to get advice about websites they think look suspicious.

Other insurance companies are looking into following in the footsteps of Alm. Brand, which has more than 200,000 customers.

“We’ve been discussing it as well and it will probably add up to us launching a similar product,” Jens Langergaard, a spokesperson for Topdanmark insurance company, told Jyllands-Posten.

Tryg, another insurance company, didn’t think that there was a market for identity theft protection a year and a half ago, but the company indicated it was now reconsidering whether to begin offering it.

Identity theft is a growing thorn in the side of authorities worldwide. In the US, it is the fastest growing type of crime and in the UK there is a ‘National Identity Fraud Prevention Week’.

Vagn Jelsøe, a spokesperson for Forbrugerrådet, the national consumer advisory council, agreed that identity theft was on the rise. Over 125,000 Danes were the victims of identity theft in 2011, up from 49,000 in 2009, an increase that criminologist Peter Kruize finds logical.

“The increase will persist as our internet activity continues to expand faster than security measures can be updated,” Kruize told Jyllands-Posten. “And we must remember that the criminals’ options in the physical world are reduced by the diminishing use of cash.”

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