The Call Center: Absence, Lost Productivity, and Seven Solutions. Group Disability

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1 The Call Center: Absence, Lost Productivity, and Seven Solutions Group Disability

2 MetLife Disability is pleased to release this study on the current state of call center productivity. As a leading disability carrier, MetLife continually delivers absence solutions that transcend the traditional disability management approach. This study addresses challenges and presents solutions for those issues that most concern employers today: controlling disability program costs and increasing workforce productivity. Contents Introduction The Study Methodology Introduction Call Center Observations, Facts, & Statistics Problems That Impact Call Center Productivity Solutions Conclusions & Recommendations MetLife Group Disability In 2003, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released surprising new figures about annual lost workdays and their impact on American companies: Of all the expenses related to absence, unscheduled time off has the biggest impact on productivity, profitability, and morale. Companies lose approximately 2.8 million workdays each year because of employees injuries and illnesses. i Disability, unscheduled incidental absences, intermittent Family Medical Leave, presenteeism (i.e., present but not productive), and turnover are several of the key destabilizing forces that impact the management and productivity of virtually any workforce. However, MetLife s experience in disability and absence management reveals that call centers are particularly vulnerable to these staffing challenges. Two leading factors cause workforce management challenges and hinder sales growth and service excellence in call centers: The continually changing work environment and the inherent stress that results, and The demographic profile of the call center workers. This study includes industry research about call centers, MetLife s short term disability data from companies with call center operations, and absenteeism and workforce management in today s environment. It addresses the unique challenges employers face (most notably, staffing issues, absenteeism, and disability incidence) and presents recommendations and solutions. The analysis focuses on the following industries: Financial, consisting of companies that provide a portfolio of income management products and services Telecommunications, consisting of companies that provide similar services and maturity, yet vary in size and point of integration from recent mergers and acquisitions Wireless, consisting of young businesses that vary in size and market share and are comprised of employees who are both bargained and non-bargained Travel, consisting of companies that provide air transportation and vacation planning Many of the call centers within these industries are multifunctional, but the three main types include: Internal company support Inbound service and information, and Outbound service with a primary sales or service function. Data for this study was taken from MetLife short term disability (STD) claims received during in order to determine the top five conditions that most frequently result in call center absenteeism (excluding pregnancy-related claims). 3

3 80 70 Call Center Observations, Facts, & Statistics Percent That Call Out Family Family Call Center Work Environment: Large, open space Minimal windows to avoid distractions Fluorescent lighting Identical cubicles, monitors, and workstations Supervisory presence on the floor with direct reports Ambient noise (Note: Some call centers provide piped in white noise a low humming overhead sound that filters this noise. Agents may also have headsets that filter noise and allow them to better focus on calls.) The Job: Training, Employer Expectations, Standard Operating Procedures, and Employee Characteristics Average operator training is 15 days, which is 5 days below the world s best practice level of 20 ii. Most call center representatives work in a cubicle with a computer, monitor, and headset. Incoming calls are automatically routed to them. Agents typically perform the following tasks simultaneously: Validate any and all information Search and read any prior history Enter and document current information Actively listen, solve problems, and sell a product or service in eight minutes or less All the call centers studied experience the following workforce management challenges: Difficulties attracting, hiring, and retaining a healthy, productive workforce Absenteeism Presenteeism High employee turnover Family and Medical Leave (FML) absences High disability incidence From a management perspective, staff performance objectives include the ability to: Provide end-to-end solutions with service excellence above industry standards (sometimes 7 days per week, 24 hours per day). Be experienced in multi-channel communication systems including the Web, , interactive voice response systems, and the traditional telephone. Provide service with precision-like performance standards measured in seconds, manage high call volume, work mandatory overtime, and endure high stress levels. Communicate effectively, problem solve, adapt well to change and provide strong customer service. The representative is provided two 15-minute breaks and a lunch break during what is usually a 10-hour shift. The industry standard is to answer 80% of incoming calls in 30 seconds or less. iii Women represent more than 70% of call center employees. iv Call center representatives within the wireless industries are young, ranging in age from More mature representatives, ages 40-55, are employed more often in traditional telecommunications centers and have worked there for at least 12 years. iv Problems That Impact Call Center Productivity INDIVIDUALS WITH A HIGH RISK FOR DEVELOPING SYMPTOMS OF STRESS People who live in cities Less educated individuals Young adults (24-32 years old) Working mothers Divorced or widowed individuals Isolated individuals Minorities PROSPECTIVE CALL CENTER REPRESENTATIVE CHARACTERISTICS People who live in cities Less educated individuals Young adults (24-32 years old) Working mothers Isolated individuals Minorities Difficulties Attracting, Hiring, and Retaining a Healthy, Productive Workforce A significant hiring challenge in the call center industry is the propensity of those in the labor pool to embody characteristics that put them at a high risk of developing stress. Additionally, MetLife data and industry research confirm that people with a high degree of exposure to psychosocial stressors are prone to more accidents, workplace injuries, and musculoskeletal and psychiatric disabilities. More detail will be presented in the next section of this study. In areas considered call center hubs that is, locations where there are numerous call centers vying for the same labor pool the challenge to attract and maintain a thriving workforce is even greater. Salaries are higher, retention is lower, and loyalty is almost non-existent. Employers have come to expect that employees will resign almost as quickly as they are hired. Absenteeism Research has revealed that the main reasons for unplanned absences are: Family: childcare, family illness illness Work conditions and stress A sense of entitlement Furthermore, employees file disability claims whether or not they are eligible for paid benefits or family and medical leave. This may suggest that they take unpaid time off from work to deal with personal or family issues. Many employers utilize a paid time off (PTO) bank requiring all employees to file family and medical leave and/or STD claims whether or not they are eligible, especially if their absence is expected to extend beyond five business days. Unfortunately, this type of attendance tracking system often falls short of its objective, while at the same time helping to enable a work culture that tends to manipulate the system. Employees who are aware of these company policies know that they can remain out of work for up to five business days for an illness before being required to report a disability claim, so they often return to work before the sixth day. Meanwhile, the call center has to cope with absent workers for five to seven business days, which adds to the burden of those who are at work. This in turn increases their stress level and decreases their morale and productivity. Presenteeism Presenteeism 80 is a term used to describe workers who are present at work, but not productive. They are the working 60 wounded and can negatively impact the company s bottom line as much as, if not more than, those 40 who are absent or out on disability. In fact, the impact of presenteeism is only just beginning to be studied and measured. Additionally, since managers 20 Male must spend a significant amount of time tracking those Female individuals who are absent, they are left with less time to 0supervise those who fail to produce at optimal levels. 4 5 Ineligible 0 Depression 2002 Absences 2003 Absences Anxiety Stress Allergies Arthritis HBP Migraine Diabetes Heart Disease Percent That Call Out Hours Incidental Absences 2002 and 2003 Family (CCH Inc., Research 2002, 2003 v ) Family 2002 Absences 2003 Absences Percent 15,903 Absences That Did Not Proceed to STD Ineligible Waiting Period Not Satisfied Claim Abandoned Digestive (MetLife STD Closure Data) Musculoskeletal Psychiatric Neoplasms

4 Ineligible Group Disability Waiting Period Not Satisfied Claim Abandoned Depression Anxiety High Employee Turnover MetLife data shows that employee turnover rates are staggering among the call center workforce. The following statistics indicate the turnover rates troubling the industry (as cited by Mercer, Inc. vi ): 187% for outbound selling centers 97% for inbound/outbound centers 78% for team/group managers 73% for entry level representatives The most critical factor impacting high turnover is the inability of the current workforce to fit the demands of the job. If employees don t have the skills required to perform a job successfully, they inevitably will leave, develop physical and emotional symptoms of stress, or ultimately file for Family and Medical Leave or a disability claim. Employee turnover has a significant effect on a company s profitability because it impacts the call center s ability to keep current customers, acquire new ones, increase productivity and quality, and pursue growth opportunities. vii One of the top reasons why customers cannot be retained is due to poor or inadequate service. High employee turnover is a main driver of poor service. The lowest turnover rates exist when the agents have minimal customer interaction or they possess full control over the interaction, as illustrated below: 33% for credit/collections centers viii 31% for Internet centers viii 25% for full account management centers viii Family and Medical Leave (FML) Absences and High Disability Allergies Incidence Rates of FML Absences Stress Arthritis HBP The following statistics Migraine indicate that FML incidence rates are high: Diabetes MetLife data shows that the incidence rates for FML stand alone claims (i.e., FML claims that do not overlap with disability Heart Disease claims) among call center operations are three times higher than MetLife s book of business for FML in non-call centers. Hours The incidence rates are 60-70% of the total FML usage for total covered lives. Intermittent claims occur 59-68% more often than continuous claims, and they account for 18-54% of the total FML usage for total covered lives. Key Drivers of FML Absence Claims The majority of FML absence claims are driven by the factors described below. Claims are driven 53-60% by the employee s own self-reported illness. The leading reported conditions are psychiatric problems, migraine headaches, and back problems. Stress in the workplace and family and personal illnesses drive FML absence claims. Provider communities are often misinformed about the definition of a serious health condition and are sometimes too willing to complete the certification form. Rigid time and attendance policies, inadequate vacation time, and the lack of an available flexible work schedule can contribute to employees turning to FML as a way to protect their jobs and meet personal obligations. Disability Short term disability claims and intermittent leaves of absence filed by call center workers are complex to manage due to the psychosocial components underlying them. A review of closed STD claims found that the leading disability conditions consistent among the call centers studied were: Digestive illnesses Musculoskeletal conditions Psychiatric illnesses Neoplasms illnesses The chart below illustrates this. Percent Digestive Top 5 Conditions ix Musculoskeletal Psychiatric Neoplasms Male Female Stress related to work, family and personal issues is the single most common contributing factor to the musculoskeletal, digestive, respiratory, and psychiatric claims we reviewed. Furthermore, workplace stress emerged as a common complaint and contributing factor causing absences among all call centers reviewed. (However, it is important to note that stress at work is common across all industries and occupations.) Work stress that results in an absence occurs because job demands have crossed an employee s individual coping threshold. Common sources of work stress include increasing job demands, inefficient information technology (IT) systems, relationship issues between managers and employees, and constantly changing work conditions. The centers characterized by the most stress, short term disability claims, FML absences, and high turnover are among the telecommunications sectors because calls come in rapidly and usually involve programming a phone, canceling/adding service, or a billing inquiry. This work is repetitive and labor intensive. Performance is often measured by the number of calls answered and not by the quality of the interaction with the customer. They are also expected to minimize the time spent per call, thereby causing the representatives to feel they have little or no personal control over the demands placed upon them. Centers that provide full-service consultative solutions exhibit the lowest amount of stress and turnover. At these centers, representatives interact with callers based on knowledge and information exchange rather than complaint intake or sales. Physical, Emotional, and Behavioral Signs of Stress Symptoms that may indicate an employee is experiencing stress are: Physical: insomnia, fatigue, headaches, chest pain, frequent illness, and shortness or quickness of breath Emotional: anger, depression, anxiety, mood swings, panic attacks, frequent fearfulness, inability to control emotions at work, and sadness Behavioral: poor job performance, lack of responsibility, procrastination, irritability, defensiveness, poor personal hygiene, and isolation from others MetLife data suggest that although call center employees may represent only 20-25% of a company s full-time employees (FTEs), they account for more than 60% of its total STD claims and FML absences. 6 7

5 Solutions Work-Life Programs help employees balance employment and personal responsibilities. Therefore, they should be aligned with both the employee and the business. The goal is to help employees strive for a healthy lifestyle and achieve work/life balance while meeting the core objectives of the business. The most common Work-Life Programs focus on employee assistance, health and wellness, and disease management. Once a successful program has been implemented, a call center may see decreased rates of stress-related FML, STD, absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover and an increase in productivity, loyalty, and morale. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Employee assistance and disease management programs can implement early intervention and workplace programs that help promote healthy living and stress management, as well as preventative and return-to-work programs to maintain a healthy, productive workforce. The most successful EAPs will appropriately align with business needs, account for the challenges and daily activities of the workforce, and make the management team accountable for certain deliverables. Such programs can: Reduce turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism, tardiness, and sick leave by helping employees deal with personal issues that often affect work performance Help supervisors recognize and address employee performance issues early on and equip them with the right resources to intervene effectively when employee problems arise Identify potential for workplace violence and address issues before they escalate by providing a confidential resource for stressed employees, education and awareness about violence prevention issues, and consultation with supervisors and HR professionals who can address these situations Targeted employee utilization of an EAP should be 8-12%. Low utilization is 2-3% and may indicate that either the workforce views the EAP as having little value or lacks awareness of the services available. Utilization higher than 15% may be a sign of a larger organizational problem; an EAP may be able to help employers find solutions. The best ROI should be a company s benchmark: What does the company value and what does it hope to accomplish? For example, the goal could be to: Lower healthcare costs Decrease absenteeism Decrease turnover Increase productivity Increase morale Health and Wellness Programs Wellness programs are designed to improve employee awareness of factors that can affect health and longevity. Programs focus on motivating employees to assume responsibility for their own health behaviors, which in turn can reduce an employers overall healthcare costs. Costs related to unscheduled absences may be reduced through wellness programs, disability management, and flexible time-off options. Wellness programs that target common costly medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are popular approaches to curbing sick days and reducing disability expenses because they address the needs of high-risk employees before they require medical care. An assessment of any given employee population can be determined by asking targeted questions. For example, what percentage of employees are obese, i.e., with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher? How many employees are 35 years old and pregnant for the first time? How many workers are absent due to allergies or asthma or because their children have asthma? How many in the workforce are over the age of 45 with aging parents? Based on the answers to these questions, companies can develop wellness programs that are tailored to fit the needs of the employee population. Here are some program suggestions: Weight Management Stress Management Menopause Education Elder Care and Retirement Planning Smoking Cessation Diabetes Education Cardiac Health Awareness Healthy Baby/Mother Substance Abuse/Alcoholism Education Another way a company can gain insight into the needs of its employees is to compare STD data with group health and pharmacy data. Consider this: Those 10% of employees who are out on STD during the course of a year are the very same employees who are consuming more than 50% of an employer s healthcare dollars. An employer s unique STD claims pattern can be benchmarked against industry averages to determine what types of disabilities most often impact its workforce and what types of solutions might have the greatest return on investment. x The goal for every wellness initiative is to improve employees emotional and physical health while positively impacting the business by reducing costs; healthy employees are better able to be productive employees. Disease Management Currently, the most common chronic conditions addressed through many disease management programs are asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and depression. Each of these illnesses can be incorporated into EAP and health and wellness programs. They are also consistent with the conditions frequently cited in disability claims. Percent That Call Out 60 study that gives insight Familyinto this. The analysis Family accounted for presenteeism during a typical eight-hour work day 50 by medical condition. The chart below xi represents the 40 average number of unproductive hours reported by employees with these conditions while at work This type of research data from the industry, as well as aggregate data from disability, healthcare, pharmaceutical, 10 EAP, and behavioral health carriers, can help identify where 0 to target disease management programs. These 2002 Absences 2003 Absences carriers can be proactive in identifying an ideal disease management initiative aimed toward a long-term plan of optimizing employee health. The potential ROI benefits include: Lower healthcare costs Decreased absenteeism Decreased turnover Increased productivity Increased employee awareness of habitual health behaviors and the personal costs Presenteeism: Lost Work Hours By Condition Depression Anxiety Stress Allergies Arthritis HBP Migraine Diabetes Heart Disease Disease management is important because employees who work while ill can have a negative impact on productivity. Thomson Medstat conducted a research Hours 8 EAPs may include on-site consultative services in its annual costs. This could be a valuable, hidden asset. The managed health care provider can run an aggregate report on healthcare utilization in certain locations. This information may indicate areas to target for further analysis. For example, high endocrinology or cardiology office visits may signal an opportunity for stress management training, obesity training, and smoking cessation programs. 9

6 SEVEN SOLUTIONS TO HELP POSITIVELY IMPACT PRODUCTIVITY Employers need to take proactive measures to decrease absenteeism, increase employee retention, and improve the hiring process to attract the right candidates. Core Skills to Screen For Interpersonal, social, and communication skills Problem solving and critical reasoning Solution 6: Assess the Work Environment Small changes to the work environment can help increase productivity. Critical Environmental Considerations: Ultraviolet lighting, which can produce headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, and lethargy xii, should be reduced. Seven Solutions: 1. Screen potential employees for skill sets 2. Involve the union 3. Take advantage of technology 4. Communicate the company s vision 5. Involve everyone in health and wellness 6. Assess the work environment 7. Educate employees Solution 1: Screen Potential Employees for Skill Sets A company s success is contingent upon an efficient workforce. Employers should utilize pre-screening tools before hiring potential candidates to ensure they are skilled and willing to accept responsibility for this role. They should identify the core attributes of top performers and use these attributes as benchmarks for hiring. Then, new employees should be provided with a comprehensive training program and a defined career path, so they can grow their careers with the company. When employees can see that an investment is being made to train and retain them, they are more likely to stay and be loyal to the company. In this instance, the return on investment for the employer should be less employee turnover and fewer stress-related disability claims, which will result in greater savings for the business. Solution 2: Involve the Union Companies that employ a bargained workforce can partner strategically with the union more frequently than just contract negotiation time. The employer and union can work together to identify worthwhile programs, such as breast cancer and prostate prevention or on-site or subsidized childcare programs. Solution 3: Take Advantage of Technology Employers should look for new ways to leverage technology in order to conduct business by identifying management techniques and innovative uses to meet business goals and objectives. A world-class call center works faster and more efficiently by developing processes that will yield long-term results and not small, incremental gains. Employees can provide valuable input here, as they usually have an insight on cost-effective efficiencies that can make their jobs easier. Coping skills, stress tolerance, and the ability to adapt to and accept change Ability to sell Candidates should be assessed to determine the level of skill for each characteristic: Assertiveness Persistence Empathy Drive Decisiveness Independence Objective Judgment Manageability Sociability Energy level/endurance Organization Maturity Creativity Incentive Teamwork Solution 4: Communicate the Company s Vision Employers should develop and communicate a strategy for excellence. Employees should be provided with their company s guiding principals and told how to help achieve them. To be fully engaged, each and every worker must understand where he or she fits into the plan today and in the future. Specific guidance should be provided to illustrate how an individual s role contributes to making the company s vision a reality. Solution 5: Involve Everyone in Health and Wellness All employees, from leaders to front-line workers, should be involved in the operation of the health and wellness program. Health care carriers, EAP providers, and disability carriers can collaborate in developing opportunities to help create sustained improvements in the health of the workforce. Ergonomic work stations and chairs can enhance work performance and reduce Repetitive Strain injuries and back pain. Computer monitors should be large enough to reduce eye strain and support having all the necessary applications open to promote task efficiency. The call center s color scheme should be selected to positively affect mood and impact the perception of being in an open environment. For example, a soft shade of green is inviting, soothing, and calming. On-site employee wellness support programs can help prevent illnesses and absence. Basketball courts and walking routes help promote exercise for a healthy lifestyle. On-site cafeterias should serve healthy food options. Plants in the workspace provide a healthy balance of oxygen and contribute to an aesthetically pleasant atmosphere. Management can post employee success stories in common areas and promote recognition programs that praise individual and team achievements. The results of customer satisfaction surveys can also be posted and discussed with the workforce, along with recognition of progress and opportunities for improvement. Solution 7: Educate Employees The staff should become familiar with the company s policies and procedures, including instructions on how to seek assistance when needed for FMLA, STD, eligibility, timeframes, and who to contact within the company. Regularly updated forms, policies, and procedures should be easily available online at companies that maintain Intranet sites

7 BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE MetLife places emphasis on recruiting the right person for the right job and developing him or her through a defined career path. Core Competencies Required for Representatives: Customer focus and results orientation Teamwork Continuous improvement and innovation Accountability and ownership A Defined Evaluation Process (about eight weeks): The Human Resources Department conducts testing. Candidates who achieve a high enough score are contacted for a telephone interview. Candidates who pass the telephone interview process move on to a face-to-face interview. Prior to the face-to-face interview, the candidate sits with an existing representative to observe the customer service process. The face-to-face interview is conducted by a trained supervisor who uses behavioral interviewing techniques. Once the candidate has passed each phase and has received positive feedback from the call center observation process, a job offer is extended. Training Program: Customer service representatives train anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the knowledge required for each product MetLife offers. They also receive an intensive, structured course designed to teach the representatives customer service skills and the techniques required to handle various types of telephone calls successfully. Career Path: 1) Entry Level-Dependent 2) Enhanced Skills-Independent 3) Mastery-Leveraging their contributions and taking initiative to recommend change 4) Leadership-Mentoring, Coaching, Quality Development, Resource, Supervisory Conclusions & Recommendations Call centers face a significant challenge in maintaining a healthy, productive workforce. Absenteeism, presenteeism, short term disability and turnover, along with a decreased pool of candidates, impact their ability to consistently meet business objectives, deliver service excellence, and develop into corporate profit centers of the future. Increased FML use and intermittent absences have resulted in 30-40% absenteeism on any given day. Disability claims filed from call center employees who represent only about a quarter of a company s total full-time workforce account for more than 60% of its disability and absence. xiii The first step in gaining control over call center absenteeism is to conduct an internal assessment of the center. Workplace stress is a common complaint and contributing factor to absence among all call centers studied. These stressors must be identified and analyzed in order to gather the information necessary to create a strategic plan. Work stress can result from many factors: pressure to perform faster, high management expectations, lack of communication, high call volume, inexperience, low morale, a new product launch, improperly functioning IT systems, etc. Senior management must be willing to not only undertake a cause and effect analysis, but to invest in implementing appropriate measures to produce positive changes. If employees are included in the process and are able to see that leadership is invested in making positive changes, their behaviors will also change. Additionally, stress management training is a very helpful tool. However, helping individuals manage their stress will not help them manage an organization that is stressed. Organizational change must be concurrent with individual change or neither will be sustainable. An effective change strategy should position a company ahead of its competition as a whole system and deliver an end-to-end solution that will ensure service excellence

8 MetLife Group Disability MetLife Group Disability offers your company these solutions: Cost Management. Surging health care costs are a primary concern for employers. In any given year, 10% of employees will be out on disability and those employees account for 50% of its medical costs. MetLife can help you make the most of your benefit investment. Best-in-Class Service Model. Talented workers are hard to find and retain, and employee absences can seriously affect productivity, profitability, and morale. MetLife s best-in-class service model can help give them what they need when they re out and get them back to work sooner. Financial Strength & Stability. Your employees depend on your disability benefit to be there in a crisis. More than 10,000 companies depend on the financial strength of MetLife. MetLife is a leading provider of disability insurance to individual and institutional customers and has more than 147,000 Individual Disability Income policies in force, with total in force annualized premium of $177.8 million. Ranked 5th in both new sales premium and in force premium 1, MetLife sells a full line of noncancelable and guaranteed renewable Individual Disability Income (IDI) policies, including Business Overhead Expense, Buy-Out and Mortgage Protection policies. Disability Buy-Up provides executives and other highly compensated employees with an additional level of income protection by layering Individual Disability Insurance with Group Long Term Disability (LTD). This approach enables Disability Buy-Up to be integrated with our Group LTD programs. The second largest group disability carrier in the industry, with more than $1.6 billion of premium and equivalents in force 2, MetLife is at the forefront of providing employers with innovative disability and absence management solutions through an integrated portfolio of products and services, such as: Group short term disability (STD), including statemandated plans, Administrative Services Only/Advice-to-Pay, and California Voluntary Disability Plan Administration Group long term disability insurance (LTD), including LTD Reserve Buy-outs Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) administration Synchrony * - integrated absence management service for workers compensation, group disability (STD/LTD), and FMLA administration (www.insynchrony.com) MetLife, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to individual and institutional customers. The MetLife companies serve individuals in approximately 13 million households in the U.S. and provide benefits to 37 million employees and family members through their plan sponsors. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies serve approximately 8 million customers through direct insurance operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay. For more information about MetLife, please visit the company s Web site at 1 LIMRA s 2003 Annual U.S. Individual Disability Income Report U.S. Group Disability Sales and In Force Survey, LIMRA International * Synchrony is integrated absence management, which includes group disability insurance or services from MetLife, workers compensation insurance or services from The Travelers Indemnity Company and/or its property casualty affiliates, and may include family and medical leave administration from MetLife. Synchrony is a registered trademark of Travelers Property Casualty Corp. and MetLife. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company NY, NY. Travelers Property Casualty Corp., One Tower Square, Hartford, CT, i U.S. Department of Labor Web site September 2003, Bureau of Labor Statistics ii Learning and Development Best Practices for Call Centers, Deloitte & Touche, 1998, Call Center News Service iii The Benchmarking Network, Inc. Study 2003 iv MetLife Group Disability STD Closure Data, v 2003 CCH Unscheduled Absence, Business Insurance, July 2000, and U.S. Department of Labor Web site September 2003, Bureau of Labor Statistics vi Mercer Inc. Human Resource Consulting, 2001 Call Center Compensation Survey vii Study: Turnover Affects Corporate Performance, CCNS Article viii Mercer Inc. Human Resource Consulting, 2001 Call Center Compensation Survey ix MetLife Group Disability STD Closure Data, x MetLife Group Disability, 2004, A Year In The Life Of A Million American Workers, xi Thomson Medstat 2003 xii Fact sheet #20 Indoor Air Quality and the Workplace 11/12/02 xiii MetLife Group Disability STD Closure Data,

9 (1004) METLIFE, INC. L04102D3U(exp0406)MLIC-LD Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 200 Park Avenue New York, NY

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