Unum is one of the leading providers of short-term disability and long-term disability, claiming that one out of three companies in the Fortune 500 offers its benefits to their employees. Being an employee of a company with group Unum benefits is about the only way you can be covered by the company’s disability policies.
In addition to group short-term and long-term disability, the company also offers individual disability insurance. This product is marketed as supplemental insurance for high-income individuals. It requires a minimum income to qualify and must be purchased through a company broker. The company says on its website that this policy is also ideal for employees who rely on commissions and bonuses not covered under traditional long-term disability insurance.
Unum disability insurance basics
The company’s coverage can be employer-paid, employee-paid, or shared. Its plans are available in all 50 states.
Its short-term disability will provide benefits for up to a year. Its long-term coverage and individual supplemental coverage have a maximum benefit period up to retirement age, as determined by the employer sponsoring the plan.
The two standard group plans will pay up to 60 percent of your income, while its individual coverage will pay up to 75 percent of pre-disability income.
The company's long-term disability insurance plan has two Own Occupation options. You can add residual and partial definitions of disability, and benefit periods of 12 to 60 months, or the benefit duration to the policy.
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Pros of Unum disability insurance
Online reviewers of Unum point out that one of the advantages of its supplemental plan is that there is no offset by other income. That means the policy benefits will not be affected by workers' compensation or Social Security disability payments.
The company is also touted for its online member portal and mobile app to manage your coverage.
Another advantage is that Unum’s long-term disability insurance covers mental health disability for up to 24 months.
Learn More: Is Mental Illness A Disability?
Cons of Unum disability insurance
In addition to not having individual policies available, one of the disadvantages of Unum is that its short-term disability does not cover workplace injuries. This is offered by some insurers to supplement workers' compensation. You can only make a claim on workplace injuries that are not covered by workers’ compensation. Also, back disorders are covered but not back injuries.
Additional features and add-ons
Unum’s disability insurance plans typically include the following benefits:
Waiver of premiums
After 90 days of total disability, your premium may be waived for as long as the disability continues up to the maximum benefit period.
Your disability payments can continue without a new elimination period if you become disabled again due to the same condition within a specified number of days.
This benefit provides an additional 10 percent, up to $1,000, to help with rehabilitation costs.
Your eligible survivor will receive a lump sum benefit equal to three months of your gross disability payment if you die while on disability for at least 180 consecutive days.
Two-year survivor income benefit
This benefit pays two years of your monthly benefit to your eligible survivor if you’ve been disabled for at least 12 consecutive months before your death.
Work-life employee assistance program (EAP)
Employers can choose to add an EAP to the long-term disability coverage.
Catastrophic disability benefit
This feature provides up to 100 percent of your earnings if you are disabled with an injury that prevents you from performing daily living activities
Residual disability benefit
The benefit takes effect if lose at least 20 percent of your income as a result of a disability that allows you to perform some work.
Work incentive benefit
Used with the residual disability benefit to provide up to two years of monthly payments that fill the gap between what you are able to make now and your income prior to your illness or injury.
This is a benefit you can receive for up to two years after returning to work if you need time to re-establish your full pre-disability earning potential.
Guaranteed coverage increase
Gives you the option to increase your monthly coverage annually to keep up with your income increases.
Emergency travel assistance
Unum’s group plans include worldwide travel assistance for covered employees who get sick or injured while traveling 100 or more miles away from home, whether for work or pleasure.
Learn More: Disability Insurance Riders, Explained
Unum is a Fortune 500 company that was founded in 1848. In 2020, the company reported revenues of $13.2 billion and provided $7.6 billion in benefits.
Unum Group is the parent company for several insurers. The company’s group disability policies are underwritten by Unum Life Insurance Company of America. In New York, its disability insurance is underwritten by First Unum Life Insurance Company.
The company’s individual disability plan is underwritten by Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Unum Life Insurance Company’s current financial ratings are:
- Standard & Poor’s - A (6th highest of 22 ratings)
- Moody’s - A3 (7th highest of 21 ratings)
- Fitch Ratings - A- (7th highest of 21 ratings)
- A.M. Best - A (3rd highest of 13 ratings)
Joel Palmer is a freelance writer and personal finance expert who focuses on the mortgage, insurance, financial services, and technology industries. He spent the first 10 years of his career as a business and financial reporter.
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