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September 2019  Volume 17, Number 9        
 

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Legal Plan Representation: Peace of Mind at an Affordable Cost

Your employees face legal issues far more often than you might think, and a group legal plan could relieve employees' financial and legal concerns while increasing loyalty to your company.

Fifty-four percent of employees who were surveyed for MetLife's 15th Annual U.S Employee Benefit Trends Study said that they have been involved in a legal matter in the past year. Of those surveyed, 82 percent had been involved in a legal issue in the last five years. While many people think they will only need legal assistance for criminal matters, there are dozens of reasons an attorney can come in handy, including:

  • Adoption
  • Buying a house
  • Serving as a caregiver
  • Victim of identity theft
  • Estate planning
  • Need a will or trust
  • Tax audit
  • Debt collection
  • Facing a foreclosure because of financial difficulties
  • Child custody issue
  • Unpaid traffic tickets

An attorney can help your employees with all of these situations, but assistance isn’t cheap. According to the 2016 National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence Survey of Law Firm Economics, the average hourly rate of an experienced attorney is $338 an hour.

A group legal plan is a voluntary benefit that allows employees to access attorneys for help with personal legal matters that are covered under the plan — all without having to pay significant out-of-pocket costs. Extremely popular in Europe, legal plans were first offered in the late 1970s and became mainstream in the 1990s. As with many voluntary benefits, offering a group legal plan costs the employer little or nothing to set up and there is minimal administrative work.

Employees pay for the plan with a low monthly payroll deduction of about $20 or less a month. Employees then can access attorneys as if they were on a retainer and meet with them in person, over the phone or by email. Attorneys also can make court appearances on behalf of the employee in cases such as traffic tickets or debt matters or they can attend a tax audit or juvenile court hearing.

One of the most important benefits of a legal plan is that the attorneys have been vetted — which makes it easier for employees to find a good attorney. Although it varies from plan to plan, most attorneys in a plan must have several years law experience, have graduated from an accredited law school and hold a valid state law license. With most plans employees also have the option to use an attorney outside of the network and be reimbursed for some of the cost.

In addition, many people are intimidated by the thought of contacting a lawyer. Having easy access to an attorney who specializes in their particular problem makes it more likely they will promptly resolve their legal issues.

The biggest benefit to you, as an employer, is not only will you be able to offer a more robust benefit package, but your employees will have one less stress that they bring to the workplace. When employees are distracted by personal problems, they can affect the workplace by wasting time; or through poor work performance; increased health care costs; or absenteeism or presenteeism. A voluntary legal benefits plan helps employees who need legal representation and provides peace of mind for those who might need assistance in the future.

Please contact us for more information.

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In this issue:

This Just In ... Eye Strain on the Rise

Technology's Growing Importance in Providing Quality Health Care

New Rule Offers New HRA Options

Legal Plan Representation: Peace of Mind at an Affordable Cost

The Confusing World of Cannabis Regulation and Insurance

 

 


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