When I first started practicing law, I never thought I’d be submitting claims to insurance companies to be compensated for my work. That was for doctors and dentists. However, the idea of having insurance coverage for certain types of legal needs makes complete sense, and now it is a regular part of our day, as a large portion of the work we do is covered by some sort of legal insurance.
Having such coverage insures against the risk that you might have a life event necessitating the updating of a Will, that you might be the victim (or accused) of domestic violence, that you might get divorced, get a traffic ticket, or need to obtain guardianship of a loved one. Legal insurance can be a valuable tool to hedge your bets against the risk that you might need legal help at some point. Legal insurance is a growing industry, and employers competing to obtain and retain good workers are offering it more and more.
Legal insurance can work in a number of different ways. Sometimes law firms are contracted with the insurance company to provide discounted rates to its customers. Other times, a legal insurance company might cover the first several hours of an attorney’s time dealing with a matter.
Other times, the legal insurance company pays the entire fee. While legal insurance companies, such as MetLife Legal Plans, ARAG, CLC, and others vary in how they offer such a benefit, it may be worth looking to see if you have a benefit at work and whether it is worthwhile to have such coverage. Many of our clients tell us it pays for itself quickly.
A lot of times, we get referred to the client by the Legal Insurance Company, meaning a person finds that they have a legal need, and instead of looking for an attorney, they contact the legal insurance company and get a referral. While this is great, it is not necessarily required. Many times, we get referred by a friend, family member, or co-worker of a person with a legal need, and we can get in touch with the insurance company directly and assign ourselves to your case.
What we need to start working on a case varies by company, but in general, there will be some identifying information we need to verify coverage and begin working. For MetLife Legal Plans (formerly Hyatt Legal Plans), we usually need a member number (which might be a distinct member number or may be the last four of the member’s SSN) and a case number.
Sometimes MetLife Legal Plans proactively gives a person several case numbers, but just one is sufficient to get us started. With ARAG, we just need a copy of the case assist confirmation form that is sent to the member or the case assist confirmation number so that we can look up coverage. If you are covered by a different plan, contact us if you are curious about what identifying information you may need.
If the insurance coverage is such that the insurance company is actually paying for legal services (as opposed to contracting with an attorney at a discounted rate), then typically the claim is submitted directly to the company and paid directly to the attorney, so you will not need to worry about filling out claim forms or getting reimbursed.
If you have legal insurance coverage and need the services of an attorney, you can reach out to Hopler, Wilms & Hanna, PLLC, and if it is a matter we handle, we can assist with obtaining the information needed to proceed with helping you with your legal matter and helping you understand the scope of your coverage and how it applies to whatever legal issue you are facing.