Indianapolis — Indiana Farm Bureau may seem an unlikely source for identity theft protection, but like several carriers that offer this service, the Indianapolis-based provider, which has grown to include insurance products for auto, life, home, business and farm insurance, recognizes a market need when it sees one.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Indiana was one of the top 25 states in the country prone to identity theft in 2006. The significance of this problem has led Indiana’s legislature to pass a “Security Freeze Bill,” effective this past September, that would allow consumers to freeze their credit bureau files in order to prevent identity thieves from using their personal information to falsely obtain credit.

Not watching quietly, the carrier is the latest to provide members with free access to a third-party, Phoenix-based Identity Theft 911, a provider of identity theft management, resolution and education services.

“With identity theft rising in our state, our core focus at Indiana Farm Bureau is to protect our clients by providing top-quality products and services that match their specific needs, while protecting them from this insidious crime,” says Anna Todd, member services coordinator at Indiana Farm Bureau. “Identity theft can hit anyone, and it can hit very hard. We've partnered with Identity Theft 911 to give our clients the best available protection against this serious threat.”

Consumers and potential policyholders don’t need to live in Indiana to feel vulnerable. New research published by the Kansas City-based National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) states that 57% of adults across the United States say they are concerned about being a victim of identity theft during the holiday season, and 66% believe they are more at risk when making purchases online.

In fact, this issue, first reported in Insurance Networking News in 2005, has become so pervasive that Identity Theft 911’s customer list now includes Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co, the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos., Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., California Casualty Group, Amica Mutual Insurance Co., the Commerce Insurance Co., American National Property and Casualty Co., State Auto Insurance Co., Grange Mutual Insurance Co., Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co., Motorists Mutual Insurance Group and Country Insurance & Financial Services.

And the list seems to be growing. NAIC’s national identity theft survey, which polled a nationally representative sample of 500 adults, age 18 and older, from Nov. 16-22, 2007 confirms that to date, insurers continue to win market share. According to the survey, which asked where a consumer would go for identity theft protection, 38% of respondents said they would look to insurance companies, 34% said they would look to credit card companies and 27% said they would look to banks. This may be the result of long-term, established personalized service—in Indiana Farm Bureau’s case, provided by its 450 agents throughout the state.

Consumers who choose Indiana Farm Bureau will have access to Identity Theft 911’s proactive tips and advice; however, if a member becomes a victim of identity theft, a personal advocate will guide them through the entire process of restoring their identity. Identity Theft 911’ s resolution service includes:

*Fraud alerts placed with all three credit bureaus and a review of credit reports.
*Assistance preparing the Fraud Victim Affidavit and documents.
*Assistance notifying all relevant businesses, agencies and institutions.
*Assistance replacing checks, credit cards and debit cards.
*A full year of credit monitoring, fraud monitoring and follow-up after resolution.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, affecting consumers of all ages,” says NAIC President and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. “It’s critical for consumers to know how to protect themselves.”

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Sources: Business Wire, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, INN Archives

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