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Lisle consistently refers to PPLSI's product as legal insurance, although law firms providing virtually identical services for PPLSI members in other states strictly avoid using the "i" word.
Arkansas is one of the states in which PPLSI's product is actually licensed as an insurance product.
The product and the language used to describe it do seem similar to insurance, especially to a health maintenance organization (HMO) policy, agreed John Long, vice president of corporate development for PPLSI. "Members" have limited choices of "providers" -- in Arkansas, in fact, they have no choice since Lisle is the only provider.
But the membership agreement PPLSI sells bears actually little resemblance to traditional property and casualty insurance policies, according to Lenita Blasingame, director of the department's P&C division.
Coverage under the PPLSI plan is limited to a discount on legal work for legalmatters that existed prior to purchasing the PPLSI plan.
Blasingame said the Insurance Department had received no complaints about PPLSI.
PPLSI announced last month that it would test group legal services plans for small businesses in California and Pennsylvania under an agreement with the Staples chain of office supply retail stores.
In the first quarter of this year, 25 percent of PPLSI's premium revenue was paid back out in commission to the sales associates.
PPLSI sees its target market as the "middle 80 percent" of households in terms of income, Long said.
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