Most employees have at least one legal life event in a typical year
When benefits managers read the news and ask themselves, “How can I help employees deal with this trend?” one answer may be legal insurance.
Legal insurance certainly cannot help employees with every problem that makes the headlines, but whether the issue is immigration, identity theft or the conflict over the fate of Terry Schiavo, legal insurance may be able to provide some relief.
Employers have been offering legal insurance for more than 30 years now, and studies show the need is great.
A 2002 survey by the American Bar Association, Chicago, found that nearly 70% of U.S. households had an issue during a typical year that might have led them to hire a lawyer.
In addition, a recent survey by Harris Interactive Inc., Rochester, N.Y., found that 88% of all employees experienced at least one legal life event in a typical year. To resolve their legal life events, employees took an average of 7 days off work and spent 9 hours on the job dealing with the issue. For an employee with an annual salary of $50,000, that translates in $225 in lost productivity and $1,400 in vacation time.
The Schiavo case, which centered around a husband who wanted to take his wife off life support and parents who wanted to keep their daughter on life support, illustrates the potential value of legal insurance.
The root of the Schiavo case was Terry Schiavo’s failure to create a clear, valid living will before she slipped into a persistent vegetative state as the result of complications from a potassium imbalance.
A living will spells out an individual’s wishes for end-of-life care. Creating a living will takes away the guesswork for an individual’s family members and helps family members focus on the loved one’s wishes.