Through injury or illness, Unum Group works to keep employees employed. A top disability insurer in the US and the UK, the company offers short-term and long-term disability insurance, as well as life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, to individuals and groups in a workplace benefits setting. Specialty coverage offerings include cancer, dental, and travel insurance. US subsidiaries include Unum Life Insurance Company of America, Provident Life and Accident, First Unum Life, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance, and The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company. The company operates as Unum Limited in the UK. Unum's products are sold through field sales agents and independent brokers.
The US market contributes about two-thirds of annual revenues. Unum runs four primary operating centers and about 35 sales offices scattered across the US market. Its Unum Limited office is the headquarters for the smaller Unum UK operations.
More than half of Unum's annual premiums come from the Unum US segment, which offers group disability, life, and accident policies, as well as supplemental and voluntary policies sold in the workplace setting. The Colonial Life segment -- which offers accident, sickness, disability, and life products sold at the workplace -- and the Unum UK segment each account for around 10% of sales. Unum also generates revenue from its closed block business, which services policies in the runoff segments (long-term care and non-workplace individual disability) where the company no longer issues new policies.
Sales & Marketing
The company strives to maintain close relationships with its sales force, as well as with its independent agents and brokers, as it relies on these representatives to market its products to employers.
Unum's revenues climbed 2% in 2012 to some $10.5 billion, following less than 1% growth in both 2010 and 2011 (to $10.2 and $10.3 billion, respectively). Growth in 2012 was due to increased sales volumes in the Unum US and Colonial life segments. While its overall revenue growth has been slow as of late -- which Unum primarily attributes to economic impacts on US employment levels -- the company believes its strategic restructuring measures will provide for an increase in future sales levels.
Unum's profits jumped more than 200% in 2012 to $894 million. The sharp increase was due to a sharp drop in net income in 2011; profits fell that year by more than 70% (from $886 million to $235 million) due to an impairment charge on the discontinuation of its group long-term care policies.
Unum seeks to achieve a competitive edge by providing group, individual, and voluntary workplace products that can be combined with other coverage to better integrate benefits for customers. The insurer has stayed ahead of the game in the disability market by sticking to conservative investment and growth strategies, primarily seeking to expand its group product offerings and its geographic presence through organic measures.
The company has especially seen growth in its voluntary benefits products, which allow employees to purchase individual coverage products on a supplemental basis. Such options are increasingly important as economic difficulties put pressure on low and middle-income workers. Unum has also expanded its offering of services to help employers and government agencies manage costs, such as its leave management program, flexible corporate contribution programs, and wellness initiatives. In 2012 it launched its GetBenefitSmart.com site to provide information that helps consumers select appropriate benefit coverage options.
While expanding in areas where the greatest market needs are seen, the firm also occasionally exits (or places into runoff) certain businesses where demand has slowed.