Identity Protection: The Right Voluntary Employee Benefit

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Voluntary Benefits Consultant
+1 763 746 8531
May 10, 2018Minnesota

Many of your employees are more than likely living digital social and financial lives. They communicate with friends and family, make payments, perform banking transactions, and purchase pretty much everything without ever leaving their digital devices.

That usually makes life easier but also poses some very real problems. What if their identities are hacked, creating even more financial stress than they’re already experiencing as well as often resulting in additional, unexpected expenses?

The fallout from those problems isn’t limited to employees. When they are forced to deal with personal finances when they’re at work, they are demonstrably less productive and that means your company loses money.

How Do You Resolve This Issue? Voluntarily.

Voluntary benefits and services (VBS) have become increasingly important as tools to attract and retain employees in a highly competitive marketplace. The right combination of core and voluntary benefits allows employees to mix and match for their individual needs.

According to a 2016 Willis Towers Watson survey, 92% of U.S. employers believe that VBS will play a key role in compensation strategies going forward. And identity protection services will likely be offered by 70% of employers in 2018.1

Do Employees worry about ID Protection?

Even those employees who were born into the digital world are concerned about the threat of identity theft. In 2014 it was reported that 7% of all U.S. citizens 16 and older experienced some form of identity theft.2 Only around 3% of that population broke a bone during that time (which is generally covered by insurance).

As more and more financial interaction is performed online, it creates more and more opportunities for identities to be stolen. And the world-wide market for that data is still growing. Thieves can make money in seconds by selling stolen personal information.

Will Employees get enough from choosing ID Protection?

Losing identity creates a potentially huge financial loss for employees. On average, an identity theft victim will be out nearly $1,200.3

But individuals who experience this will also lose valuable time, especially during work hours, as well as their sense of security. These victims can spend up to 100+ hours trying to restore their identity and recover financially. 4 This drains them emotionally and physically, and it could result in chronic bouts of anxiety along with physical problems. In fact, 80.5% of identity theft victims experience mild to severe emotional distress.5

ID protection can guard employees and your company from the pain caused by identity theft and can help mitigate it all together.

What do Employers get by offering ID Protection as a VBS?

Let’s do the math.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume your company has 1,000 employees. Multiply that by the 7% of U.S. citizens over 16 that have had their identity hacked. Multiply that figure by an average of 15 hours to recover an identity, then multiply again by the standard $320 of revenue per hour per employee.

That’s a total loss of $336,000.

Now factor in the stress that will undoubtedly affect an employee’s performance and how well they’re able to get along with their peers and managers as well as the potential resulting illnesses that can increase healthcare costs. The overall negative affect of employee identity theft is staggering.

What are the main advantages of offering ID Protection?

  • It’s a relatively low-cost benefit
  • Implementing ID protection is easy (solutions easily align with HR systems)
  • Your employees already want this

What should you look for in an ID Protection Benefit?

You’d think ID protection would all be one, uniform approach. Not so. If you’re going to consider offering ID protection as a VBS, you should definitely consider the following:

  • Does the program offer continuous credit monitoring? Unexpected changes in a credit report could indicate a breech. Even if the issue is minor, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Do employees get non-credit monitoring? Things like driver’s license number, medical ID numbers, and more. Not all ID theft relates to credit.
  • Do employees receive consulting support? ID theft professionals should be available at any time to explain to employees what alerts mean and how to resolve the matter.
  • Does the benefit provide full restoration? Employees should have a designated restoration professional assigned to their case if they become victims of ID theft to help make sure all issues are identified and resolved.

Identity Theft affects Employees… and Employers.

  • 81% of hacking breaches leverage stolen or weak passwords.6
  • 37% of victims report inability to concentrate or focus.6
  • 76% of victims report being severely distressed by misuse of
  • their personal information.6

So, identity theft is an ongoing problem for you and the people who work for you. That’s why ID protection makes sense.

You have a lot of different options to consider for a VBS plan, but ID theft protection is one of the most in-demand and usable offerings you can provide. It’s a great complement to health and wellness programs as it helps employees avoid financial stress, which can affect work.

If you’d like to know more and you’re already working with Marsh & McLennan Agency, please contact your Benefits Team representative.

If you’re not yet a client of Marsh & McLennan, please get in touch with Kyleen Engelstad at (763) 746-8531 or Kyleen.Engelstad@MarshMMA.com.