Chubb is the first personal lines insurer to provide cover for high net worth clients attacked by identity fraudsters.

Chubb has enhanced Masterpiece, its home and contents policy, which now includes cover for expenses incurred when restoring identity and credit status.

It also allows policyholders kidnap and ransom expenses of up to £20,000, which includes cover for professional negotiators, psychiatric care, loss of salary and security.

Chubb Europe head of personal lines John Sims said identity fraud was a major issue. "Everyone has become aware of identity fraud over the past 12 months," he said. "A lot goes unnoticed and unreported."

Estimates from CIFAS, the fraud prevention service, suggested that identity fraud increased by 462% between 1999 and 2000.

"Fraudsters don't need much to get at people's identity. It can simply be a credit card, driving licence or passport," said Sims.

"We provide our customers with a sensible checklist."