A #SHRM19 Interview with ARAG


Insurance isn’t something we often think about until we need it, but we are certainly glad our medical, dental, short-term and life insurances are there for us! But what about if you need some help from an attorney? Did you know that there is an insurance for that? SHRM19 attendees, meet ARAG, a leading provider of legal insurance in the United States.  I was introduced to ARAG at a conference a couple of years ago, and I was struck by their culture and commitment to their employees, something I always like to see in a potential vendor. And, their booth at #SHRM18 was awesome!!  Read more for my interview with Jen Harken of ARAG.

Hi Jen!  Nice to meet you. Tell us a little bit about ARAG®.

ARAG is a leading provider of legal insurance in the U.S., with a company history that’s as intriguing as the product it offers. The company was founded in Germany more than 80 years ago on the principle that everyone should have affordable access to legal representation. That belief still guides us today. The company continues to expand, and today ARAG is a global provider of legal insurance with current operations in 18 countries.

Here in the U.S., our primary focus is providing legal insurance plans that are offered through employers as an employee benefit. It works a lot like medical insurance. For an affordable rate, an employee can choose to see an attorney who is part of a nationwide network. The attorney can:

  • Offer legal counsel.
  • review documents.
  • provide representation.

Best of all, network attorney fees are 100 percent paid in full for most covered legal matters, saving employees potentially hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, by avoiding costly attorney fees.

ARAG legal insurance gives employees a place to turn when they need legal help. Because legal is everywhere in life. It’s not just for the rough times, like fighting a traffic ticket or getting your deposit back from a difficult landlord. It’s also for the good times too — like a buying a home or getting married. We make it affordable to get the legal help people need.

The voluntary benefits space is pretty crowded. What sets ARAG apart from other voluntary benefits, and its competitors?

We know that ARAG isn’t exactly a household name in the employee benefits industry, and we’re always working to change that! But there are several aspects about ARAG and the benefit we offer that truly stands out.

Regarding our standing among other voluntary benefits, we take a different approach to plan usage and customer service. For example, unlike many benefits, we actually encourage plan usage by members. We want people to take full advantage of the plan and are constantly educating them and updating on how to use it. Because we feel that ARAG legal insurance is such a versatile, valuable benefit, members can (and should!) apply it to almost every aspect of their lives, whether it’s fighting a contractor who did shoddy remodeling work, helping a parent or grandparent assess their caregiving needs or protecting their family against identity theft. Simply put, we want to be there for them when they need help.  

Second, our approach to customer service is the hallmark of our business and sets us apart from other benefit providers. We have an award-winning customer care department that is the “tip of the spear” when it comes to helping people resolve their legal issues. Also, we have a customer experience team that’s dedicated to better understanding the customer journey and enhancing their interactions with us. One example of these efforts includes the surveys we send out to every member who interacts with our plan.   

When it comes to our competitors, we truly feel our product, coverage and services are superior. We also know we have to be able to back that up. Unlike some other legal plan providers, our sole focus is legal insurance, not some benefit that’s been tacked on to an existing offering.

Then when you compare apples to apples, coverage for plaintiff issues (when you bring a case against someone in court) — for which we see significant activity — is not typically provided by our competitors. ARAG offers both defense and plaintiff coverage. Also, ARAG covers contested and uncontested legal matters (like divorce), which is especially important when not everyone is on the same page about a legal issue.

Finally, what sets us apart from other benefit providers is our commitment to the legal industry. Our  attorney experience team is deeply committed to addressing access to justice issues, as the majority of Americans don’t have access to affordable legal services. For example, when the World Justice Project measured the accessibility and affordability of civil justice in 113 countries around the world in 2017, the United States tied for 94th place with Cameroon, Uganda and Zambia. So we partner with legal aid organizations, incubators and non-profits to look for ways to bridge that gap between the availability of legal help and providing affordable legal services to all individuals.

How can ARAG help HR professionals and their employees?

Our legal insurance plan benefit is specifically designed to be low maintenance for employers and high-value for employees.

For employers, we want them to be able to take a “set it and forget it” approach to a large degree, meaning easy implementation, minimal plan administration and a low number of employee questions to handle. We assign a client manager to oversee the employer relationship, provide updates regarding plan coverage changes, offer member communication programs and help grow enrollment numbers.

For employees, we promote the value of the plan as an “all-in-one” benefit solution that addresses several facets of their lives. This gives them the ability to address not only legal and financial matters, but other issues that can pop up, like identity theft, tax assistance and caregiving needs for a parent or grandparent. We have our dedicated Customer Care Center with specialists who are specifically trained to help members understand their legal plan benefits and point them in the right direction to address their legal issues.

I remember you had a pretty cool booth set up at SHRM18. What can we expect this year?

Thank you! We had so much fun playing our “Cover Your Asterisk” disc drop game with attendees last year that we’ve brought it back — and we’ve been working on several enhancements to make their experience even better. For example, we’ve worked to streamline the waiting line process, as well as testing fun prizes that attendees will truly use and enjoy!

A great company culture is something all HR professionals strive for. What is unique about ARAG's culture?

ARAG was founded by Heinrich Faβbender over eight decades ago, and is still owned and operated by the founding family today. That family feel is still prevalent in our day-to-day work and interactions. Employees really care about each other, both professionally and personally, and believe that we’re all in this together. For example, you can get up from your desk and go to talk to anyone in the company, our CEO included, if you need help with something or just want to shoot an idea past them.

Our collaborative, inviting work environment is also bolstered by a flexible work-life balance and a generous, top-shelf benefit package for employees, which allows us to recruit and retain quality employees who really bring added passion and talent to our workplace.

Who can readers contact to find out more?

Contact Jen Harken, our Corporate Communications & Special Project Manager at 800-888-4184, ext. 271, or jen.harken@araglegal.com.


Visit the ARAG Legal Insurance Booth #2540 at #SHRM19!



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