About UNUM Life Insurance Company of America

Through injury or illness, Unum works to keep employees employed. A top disability insurer in the US and the UK, it 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 and dental insurance. Among its US subsidiaries are Unum Life Insurance Company of America, Provident Life and Accident, First Unum Life, Colonial Life & Accident, and Paul Revere Life Insurance. The company operates as Unum Limited in the UK. Unum's products are sold through field sales agents and independent brokers.

Operations

More than 60% 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 under the Unum America and Provident Brands.

The group's Colonial Life segment -- which offers accident, sickness, disability, and life products -- accounts for nearly 20% of sales, while the Unum UK segment represents more than 5% of sales.

Unum also generates revenue from its Closed Block segment (about 15% of sales), which services policies in the runoff segments (long-term care, non-workplace individual disability) where the company no longer issues new policies.

The company covers roughly 33 million people worldwide and counts 181,000 businesses in the US among its customers (including a third of the Fortune 500).

Geographic Reach

The US market contributes more than 60% of Unum's annual revenues. Unum runs four primary operating centers (in Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, South Carolina) and more than 35 sales offices scattered across the US market. Its Unum Limited office in Dorking is the headquarters for the smaller Unum UK operations, which include Ireland.

Sales and Marketing

Unum uses its own sales force, as well as independent agents, consultants, and brokers, to market its products to employers.

Financial Performance

Unum's revenues have inched steadily upward for the past five years. In 2017 revenue increased 2% to $11.3 billion as total premiums earned and net investment income rose. The company's US sales increased 20%, partly due to the introduction of dental and vision products it introduced the prior year. UK and Colonial Life sales also rose, but to a lesser extent.

Net income rose 7% to $994.2 million in 2017 despite an increase in selling, general, and administrative expenses. This helped boost operating cash flow, which increased 3% to $1.1 billion.

Strategy

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.

Specific goals include securing new customers, investing in growth that meets new demands of the market, and expanding into new geographic areas and distribution channels. Acquisitions play a part in reaching these goals. For example, Unum plans to expand its presence in Europe by acquiring Polish insurer Pramerica Zycie.

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.

While expanding in areas where the greatest market needs are seen, the firm also occasionally exits (or places into run-off) certain businesses where demand has slowed.

Like most insurers, Unum's profit margins have been negatively impacted by ongoing low interest rates. To minimize those effects, the company is gradually increasing its investment activities around alternative assets. Unum is also banking on the benefits that will continue to arise from US tax reforms passed in 2017.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2016 Unum bought Louisiana-based H&J Capital, the owner of Starmount Life Insurance and third-party administrator AlwaysCare Benefits, for $127 million. Starmount operates in 49 states plus the District of Columbia, offering individual products for dental, vision, life, and accident coverage. It also offers group and voluntary benefits including dental, vision, life, accident, disability, and critical illness, under the AlwaysCare Benefits brand.

In 2018 the company agreed to buy Pramerica Zycie, a Polish life insurer, from Prudential Financial for an undisclosed amount. That deal will allow Unum to expand its European operations beyond the UK.

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UNUM Life Insurance Company of America

2211 Congress St
Portland, ME 04122-0003
Phone: 1 (207) 575-2211
Fax: 1 (207) 770-2340

Stats

  • Employer Type: Public
  • Vice President: Kathi Ewen
  • Vice President: Robert Mitchell
  • Vice President: Sandra Sincero
  • Employees: 3,900

Major Office Locations

  • Portland, ME

Other Locations

  • Glendale, CA
  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • Windsor, CT
  • Tampa, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Columbia, MD
  • Naples, ME
  • South Portland, ME
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Memphis, TN
  • Seattle, WA
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