NEW STUDY FROM HYATT LEGAL PLANS, A METLIFE COMPANY, HELPS ILLUSTRATE TOLL ON WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY CAUSED BY EMPLOYEES’ COMMON LEGAL ISSUES
NEW YORK, NY - March 22, 2011 – Ordinary personal legal matters – such as will preparation, traffic tickets, real estate matters, debt problems or family situations like adoption and divorce – may be common occurrences, but can take a toll on workplace productivity. A new study, “The Impact of Legal Matters on Today's Work Force” released today from Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company, found that people with these types of legal issues are spending, on average, close to three hours a week at work dealing with their situation for an average duration of five to six weeks. Furthermore, 37% of men and 47% of women said dealing with their issue negatively impacted their physical or emotional health. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Hyatt Legal Plans.
Easier with an Attorney
The study found that while some people choose to handle a legal issue on their own, either because they feel confident in their ability or because the cost of an attorney is a concern, having legal advice may positively influence someone’s experience. For example, seven in ten individuals surveyed who engaged an attorney said that having legal counsel made them feel more confident and that the issue was easier to resolve. About two-thirds of individuals using a lawyer said that having an attorney gave them peace of mind. Enrollment in a group legal plan through an employee benefits program may positively influence someone’s experience further; those who were enrolled in a group plan and used a network attorney felt more positively about their overall experience than those hiring an independent attorney or those going it alone.
“While some people feel confident serving as their own attorney, others do it simply because they are afraid of potential costs. However, there is also an emotional cost of going it alone. Access to a group legal plan through the workplace as a voluntary benefit is an affordable solution for employees. Often for less than $20 a month, group legal plans provide unlimited consultation with an attorney on employees’ most frequent personal legal issues,” said Bill Brooks, CEO, Hyatt Legal Plans.
Saving Vacation Days
The convenience of having group legal plans as a workplace benefit can not only save money, but also time. The Hyatt Legal Plans study found that only 30% of employees accessing their attorney through a group legal plan used vacation or other paid time off addressing their situation, compared with nearly 50% of employees hiring an attorney on their own. Nine out of ten people who used a group legal plan said they would use it again in the future. Interestingly, even 42% of people who were satisfied serving as their own attorney said they would be interested in enrolling in a group legal plan if given the option.
“Developing a professional rapport with an attorney is just as important as building a relationship with a family doctor or dentist. Having unlimited, nationwide access to attorneys, along with representation for many key issues, is really appealing to employees. Having a plan available through work helps employees save time and money, while providing peace of mind in knowing that pre-qualified attorneys will take care of them,” added Brooks.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Hyatt Legal Plans from January 6 to February 7, 2011 among 846 employed U.S. residents ages 18 and older who have had at least one targeted legal issue in the past five years (e.g. foreclosure, adoption, bankruptcy, divorce). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Hyatt Legal Plans
Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife subsidiary, is the largest provider of group legal plans in the country, serving more than two million group legal plan members and dependents through a nationwide network of 5,300 law firms. For more information on Hyatt Legal Plans, please visit www.legalplans.com. Group legal plans provided by Hyatt Legal Plans, Inc., Cleveland, OH. In certain states, plans are provided through insurance coverage underwritten by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Affiliates, Warwick, RI.
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through its North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help them - and their clients - stay ahead of what's next.