Unum’s disability claims reflect workforce health trends

A snapshot of disability leave experience from Unum, the leading provider of group and individual disability insurance in the U.S. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--()--As the leading provider of disability benefits in the U.S., Unum (NYSE: UNM) tracks the top causes of disability leave and shares results each May during Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Claims data over the last decade shows several long-term trends in the health of America’s workers.

Disability claims for joint disorders and musculoskeletal issues have increased significantly over the past 10 years. Unum’s Senior Vice President of Benefits Greg Breter points to aging and obesity as drivers. “Conditions related to joint and back issues can be tied to the aging workforce,” Breter said. “But the rise of obesity in the U.S. is causing a greater increase in conditions like arthritis, joint replacements and back issues. It’s also contributing to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems and certain types of cancer.”

But there’s also good news. Long term disability claims for complicated pregnancies have decreased nearly 50 percent over the last decade. “Fewer C-section deliveries, early detection and intervention in high-risk pregnancies, and access to more resources for new moms are all contributing to this experience,” Breter said.

Cancer has stayed the No. 1 reason for long term disability claims over the last decade, while pregnancy continues to top the list of reasons for short term disability.

Unum received more than 419,000 new disability claims in 2016 and paid $3.8 billion in disability benefits, accounting for more than half of the total $6.9 billion in benefits paid by the company. Here’s a look at the top causes for disability in 2016:

       
Long term disability:
Cancer 16.4%
Back disorders 13.2%
Injury 11.6%
Cardiovascular 9.3%
Joint disorders 9.3%
 
Short term disability:
Pregnancy 28.2%
Injury (excluding back) 11.3%
Joint disorders 7.5%
Back disorders 6.7%
Digestive system 6.5%
 

ABOUT UNUM

Unum Group is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, Starmount and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. The company reported revenues of $11 billion in 2016, and provided $6.9 billion in benefits.

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Contacts

Unum Group
Kelly Spencer, 423-294-4508
Toll free 866-750-8686
Kspencer2@unum.com

Release Summary

As the leading provider of disability benefits in the U.S., Unum tracks the top causes of disability leave and shares results each May during Disability Insurance Awareness Month.

Contacts

Unum Group
Kelly Spencer, 423-294-4508
Toll free 866-750-8686
Kspencer2@unum.com