- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — MetLife Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, is rolling out a program this week to provide free help in resolving cases of identity theft for all of its homeowner-insurance policyholders.

Noel Edsall, director of MetLife Auto & Home product development, said the ID-theft resolution service would be introduced first in New York and Florida, then expand nationwide.

Although several insurance companies sell ID-theft coverage, mainly to reimburse consumers for their costs in dealing with misuse of their credit cards or other accounts, MetLife will be the first that works with consumers to resolve their problems at no cost.

“Our research over the last couple of years indicated that people needed help and assistance, not expense reimbursement,” Mr. Edsall said.

The program, which will be available to the nearly 1 million MetLife homeowners and renters policyholders, comes as ID-theft concerns are reaching epidemic proportions.

In recent weeks, several data-collection companies have disclosed that thousands of their records were tapped by thieves. ID theft also tops the list of frauds reported to the Federal Trade Commission, which coordinates the government’s consumer fraud prevention efforts.

Mr. Edsall said the program will help consumers with identity theft, which can involve taking over someone’s identity and opening new accounts or buying cars, as well as account takeovers, which often involve the theft of a credit card.

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