Unum is Making Some Changes, But Are They Good For Your Plan?
In previous posts, we have discussed how courts and juries have reprimanded Unum and its various subsidiaries for wrongfully denying disability claims. Now, Unum is once again making the headlines—this time for making significant changes to its leadership at the highest levels of the company.
Essentially, Unum is undertaking a widespread overhaul of its upper management. Marco Forato is now the senior vice president for global growth strategy, Steve Mitchell is the new chief financial officer, and Steve Zabel is the new president of the U.S. closed block operations. Additionally, Vicki Gordan has been promoted to senior vice president and chief internal auditor, and Matt Royal is now the chief risk officer for Unum.
While any change of leadership can have substantial ramifications, those insured by Unum should take particular note that Unum has appointed a new “president of the U.S. closed block operations.” “Closed block” refers to Unum’s discontinued product lines, which, according to Unum’s 2014 Annual Report, include long-term care and older individual disability policies. If you are a physician or dentist with a Unum policy, your policy is probably part of Unum’s “closed block” operations.
Unum’s new president of “closed block” operations will likely face a challenging task because any losses suffered from paying out Unum’s old disability policies cannot be offset by new business. Additionally, such “closed block” operations are a relatively new phenomenon in the insurance industry, so there is a very small reserve of historical data for Unum to draw upon.
What does this mean?
Generally speaking, a company does not make such extensive changes without expecting results. Consequently, it is likely that several, if not all, of Unum’s newly appointed leaders will be under substantial pressure to perform. Because fresh leaders often want to leave their own mark on their industry, insureds should pay close attention to any new changes in policy announced by Unum during this transitional period.
More specifically, insureds with older individual disability policies with Unum should be aware that Unum will likely be looking for new, creative ways to deny their claims. If you have such a policy and you feel that Unum has arbitrarily changed your policy’s terms and/or wrongfully denied your disability claim, you should consult with an experienced disability insurance attorney to ensure that Unum’s leadership is not improperly exceeding the scope of their newly acquired authority.