The Co-operators extends Identity Theft coverage to clients at no charge

GUELPH, ON, April 21, 2007 – In response to growing concerns about the threat of identity theft, The Co-operators has extended Identity Theft coverage to clients with home or farm insurance. The coverage is effective immediately on all Co-operators Home-Guard and Farm-Guard policies — at no extra cost to clients.

The new Identity Theft coverage reimburses clients for up to $10,000 of costs associated with recovering or correcting damage to their personal identity. Insured expenses include legal fees and costs associated with notarizing affidavits, re-applying for loans, calling or faxing long distance, and sending certified mail. It also covers up to $2,000 in lost earnings for clients who need to take time off work to recover their identity.

Although a few companies are offering Identity Theft coverage, The Co-operators says its product is unique. Not only is the coverage free, but clients making an Identity Theft claim will not be charged a deductible, nor will claims-free discounts be affected.

“Recent research indicated that 70 per cent of our clients were concerned about having their identities stolen and used for criminal purposes,” explained Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “We responded directly by providing this financial protection and peace of mind at no extra cost.”

According to anti-fraud agency PhoneBusters, an estimated 12,000 Canadians are victimized by identity theft each year. The crime involves stealing the identity of another person for criminal purposes. Using information such as name, date of birth, credit card details, and Social Insurance Numbers, criminals can take over a person’s existing bank account or open new ones. They may also fraudulently apply for credit cards, re-direct mail, rent apartments and vehicles, buy merchandise, and even secure employment. Although most direct financial losses are covered by financial institutions and credit card companies, some people are left with legal, employment, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

“Being vigilant in protecting your personal information is your best defence against identity theft — and we’re taking specific steps to help our clients protect themselves,” said Bardswick. “But if you are victimized by this crime, insurance can help soften the blow.”

About The Co-operators

Based in Guelph, Ontario, Co-operators General Insurance Company is a Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company. The company is part of The Co-operators, a national group of companies co-operatively owned by Canadian co-operatives, credit unions, and like-minded organizations.