Boosting employee benefits with legal and identity theft plans

By Emily B. Rose

In the last decade, the competitiveness of the job market has increased with recent college graduates entering the workforce and tenured employees pushing back retirement. This trend has employers searching for unique ways to attract and retain talent. In addition to health benefits, employers seek to provide emotional and financial support benefits. This, coupled with employee’s desire for additional financial wellness benefits, causes benefit managers to focus on the addition of voluntary benefits, such as legal and identity theft protection plans, in their employee benefit packages.

A robust plan and affordable price are critical components to a voluntary benefit package that is valuable to both employees and employers. Employees have become more knowledgeable about what constitutes a “good” benefits package and as a result, are demanding comprehensive benefit packages, especially those that contain financial wellness benefits. It is not surprising then that employees are raising their hand for legal and identity theft protection plans and with more frequency, employers are implementing these plans in direct response to employee feedback.
As an industry leader and pioneer in the legal and identity theft plan space, I believe we can do more as a benefit partner to boost benefit offerings and make them valuable to all employees, not just those enrolling during a defined open enrollment period. Technological advancements—from benefit portals to mobile apps—have changed the service delivery model of benefits. Due to these advancements, we can now deliver a robust value-add benefit to employees who elect coverage while still providing employees considering their benefit options a way to “kick the tires” to ensure they are making an informed decision.
Providing additional tools as part of the benefit adds value in surprising way to an employer’s benefits package. By offering “freemium” features and leveraging the “try before you buy” concept, employees can access select plan benefits without enrolling. For example, with our LegalShield plan we provide access to free legal forms. By using our Artificial Intelligence chat bot “Ask Erin,” employees receive answers to common legal questions. These specific benefits provide support regardless of whether the employee enrolls in the full benefit and increases long-term engagement and overall enrollment. LegalShield’s cutting-edge technology is another way employers can lean on their benefit partners to encourage employees to obtain the help they need while reducing presenteeism (working while sick) and increasing employee satisfaction.
In an article published last year, I touched on financial burdens faced by today’s workforce, especially residents of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.
Renters in these locales spend more than 30% of their income on rent. As one might imagine, this financial burden may lead to credit card debt, bad credit and even bankruptcy. By providing direct and quick access to an attorney who can navigate the steps of the debt collection process, a sound legal protection plan can help mitigate or even avoid the catastrophic outcome of a bankruptcy. At the touch of a button via our mobile app or our chat bot “Erin,” employees now have quick and convenient access to legal services like never before.

With housing prices and rent rising and debt such as student loans becoming a common burden for many employees, financial stability is a must across all generations. Legal and identity theft plans work in concert to assist employees with achieving financial freedom. For example, when buying a home, it is imperative to maximize one’s credit score. With IDShield, our identity theft plan, participants can track their monthly credit score and obtain helpful tips to improve this critical number. These tools provide employees a valuable way to evaluate credit health and proactively manage financial planning. If a credit matter evolves into a debt collection issue or even a simple negotiation with a creditor, convenient access to our attorneys through our mobile app helps minimize stress and leads to a faster resolution. A legal plan can provide further financial stability by helping participants with purchase and sales agreements as well as real estate closings. Beyond real estate, participants can ensure continued financial security through estate planning and continued monitoring of financial accounts. By utilizing our mobile apps, participants can start preparing their estate plan with a convenient will questionnaire, and access to financial account monitoring updates.
However, just adding a legal or identity theft protection plan to a benefits package is not enough. Reinforcing the value of the benefits offered throughout the year while providing engaging content is critical to a successful enrollment and on-going participant satisfaction. Working with a benefit partner that provides the necessary tools to educate a multi-generational workforce while simultaneously providing a benefit that will promote user engagement is a win-win for employers and employees.
Not so long ago, benefits were only accessible via a member portal. But in today’s era of instant gratification, benefits need to be delivered in new and innovative ways. Benefit plans that can be accessed by mobile apps typically experience an overall increase in user engagement and positive affirmation with the benefit and the employer. With this in mind, we have created intuitive, user-friendly and content rich mobile apps that expand the employee’s experience beyond the traditional “only when you need it” approach. Nearly 1.5 million people have downloaded our mobile apps with tremendous satisfaction and consistently high ratings. From quick speeding ticket resolution to identity theft restoration, we engage with employees and enrich the user experience on a more fundamental basis than a traditional mobile app would allow. We are committed to engaging employees by the use of cutting-edge technology to ensure a value-rich mobile app experience.
Thanks to mobile apps, legal and identity theft protection plans are more impactful because of direct integration into our daily lives. They can be a huge resource because life happens and things get complicated from time to time. But most importantly, they protect employees and their respective financial wellness. These benefits cross the generational divide, truly bridge the financial gap and serve the needs of employers and employees. Voluntary benefits not only help protect participants’ legal rights and personal identity, but also improve financial health and boost an employer’s suite of benefits. Yes, the financial savings are great, but the peace of mind is unrivaled.

 Emily B. Rose is the senior vice president of sales for LegalShield’s Business Solutions Division. Rose has over 15 years of experience in the voluntary benefits space, including group legal plans, identity theft protection plans, supplemental health and property and casualty. Prior to joining the LegalShield team, she specialized in national account sales in MetLife’s Voluntary Benefit Sales Division.