The surge in breaches has employees demanding identity theft protection-and that presents an opportunity.
As companies continue to endure massive data breaches from hackers, employees are getting wise to the fact that the next Social Security number stolen and sold to the highest bidder could belong to them.
Responding to concerns from their own workforce, more businesses are offering identity theft protection services as a voluntary employee benefit. This trend represents an enticing new market for benefits providers and brokers.
According to Willis Towers Watson, the London-based risk management and insurance company, identity theft protection was offered as a voluntary benefit by 35 percent of employers in 2015, but that total is expected to double this year.
Here are six reasons to consider including this benefit in your portfolio:
1. The sheer volume of attacks is undeniable. Workers are now hyper-aware of the danger that their personal information will be hacked, leading to their identities being stolen and their life turned upside-down. A recent Gallup survey shows that far more people are worried about being the victim of identity theft (66 percent) than being murdered (18 percent).
2. Employee recruiting and retention. It's a race to find the most talented workers, and in an improving economy, every firm is competing with all their rivals to attract and keep the best people. Workers, especially millennials, have come to expect more from their employee benefits packages than just investment plans and health and wellness packages.
3. Continued productivity. A hacked employee is a distracted employee. Make the case to a client that resolving a case of identity theft eats away at work time as well as personal time. A widely circulated 2007 study by the Federal Trade Commission showed that 31 percent of "new accounts" fraud victims spent at least 40 hours putting their lives back in order, but for 10 percent of them, it took at least 100 hours. For 5 percent, it took at least 1,200 hours!
4. Protecting the company. If an employee's personal information is pilfered while they're at work-think clicking on a link or opening an attachment that launches malware-the company's entire network could be compromised. A good identity theft management vendor can not only react quickly after an attack, it can be a source of information for workers that could help them avoid putting themselves and their employers at risk in the first place.
5. New revenue stream. Whether identity theft protection is paid for by the employer or the employee, these services are in demand. There is tremendous growth in the industry, which has evolved over time from mere reacting after a breach to being more proactive.
6. Staying Relevant. In a recent survey, benefits brokers said they offer voluntary benefits to stay current and up-to-date with the industry (71 percent) and because their employer clients ask for the (65 percent).
Plans can also be had without exorbitant cost, so do your homework to find the best vendor for your clients and their employees.