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Unum Insurance Review & Complaints: Health & Life Insurance

Unum Insurance is a supplemental health insurance and life insurance company that provides products solely through employers. Their employee benefits plans are offered at group rates, generally as voluntary coverage that employees can choose from.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 16, 2020

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Unum is a supplemental health insurance and life insurance company that provides products solely through employers. Their employee benefits plans are offered at group rates, generally as voluntary coverage that employees can choose from.

About Unum

Unum was founded as Union Mutual Life Insurance company and was incorporated in Maine in 1848. The company’s first acquisition was in 1940 when they purchased Massachusetts Accident Company’s health and accident business. In 1960 they introduced what would become their flagship product, group disability insurance.

In 1986 they became one of the first mutual companies to convert to a publicly traded company. This change was accompanied by the name change to Unum, and this was followed by several more acquisitions and expansions.

Unum merged in 1999 with Tennessee-based Provident and began operations as UnumProvident, but by 2007 went back to using just the name Unum. Headquarters is now located in the Provident office in Chattanooga, TN, but they still have offices in Portland, Maine as well as several other cities across the country. Unum also operates in the UK.

Unum writes group disability, life, accident, and critical illness along with supplemental health plans for hospitals, dental, and vision. They do not sell to the general public at all, focusing only employer-offered voluntary benefits.

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Unum Products

Unum offers an array of group products from which employers can choose the options they want to offer to their employees.

Disability

Unum’s top product, disability insurance is available in both short-term and long-term formats. Short-term is offered from 9-52 weeks while long-term can provide coverage up until retirement.

The benefit amount varies and can provide up to 60% of the insured’s income. Short-term disability is portable in some cases, while long-term is portable in most.

Also available an is add-on individual disability that can provide increased benefits and is fully portable.

Life Insurance

Unum’s group life plans are available as either term life insurance or whole life insurance. The website does not list details on the plan’s death benefits or issue requirements, which is not surprising since they likely vary based on the options selected by the employer.

Unum’s life insurance can be portable in most cases, but that should be verified with the employer.

Accident Insurance

Unum’s group accident insurance policy provides benefits paid directly to the insured to cover medical bills including ambulance, hospital, and follow-up treatment.

The amount paid out depends on the type of injury, and the plan includes a benefit for accidental death or dismemberment.

Critical Illness

Critical Illness insurance provides a lump sum payment upon diagnosis with a list of covered illnesses, including heart attack, stroke, cancer, organ failure, and blindness.

The amount of the benefit varies and again depends on what is offered by the employer.

Hospital Insurance

This group policy provides a lump sum benefit that can be used for the out of pocket costs associated with a hospital stay. Covered expenses include emergency room co pays, hospital stay coinsurance and co pays, and deductibles.

Dental & Vision

Unum offers both dental and vision insurance plans with access to a large network of providers. The plans vary, but cover things like annual exams, routine dental care and other treatments like fillings, and prescription eyeglasses or contacts.

The available network also varies by area, and there are several plan options that employers can select to offer to their employees.

Rates

Since Unum only offers group benefits, rates will vary greatly depending on how much of the cost is being subsidized by the employer and what coverage is being offered.

Group rates are almost always more affordable than individual rates since the cost is shared across many people.

Claims

Claims can be filed and managed entirely online by logging into the member area of the website. No claims information is available outside of that area of the site, but there is a toll-free number that can be called to get more information or ask questions about how to file or the status of a claim.

The claims process varies based on the type of product. Since many life insurance beneficiaries may not have access to user accounts for the policyholder, the toll-free number would be the best bet for finding out how to file that sort of claim.

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Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Unum Group has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), lowered due to six complaints that were not resolved. There are 98 complaints on file in the past three years, and 31 were closed in the past 12 months.

Consumer Affairs has a total of 320 reviews on file, with 35 ratings in the past year adding up to a one-star overall rating. Only one review out of these was five-star, and the rest were one-star. Most of the complaints cite failure to pay claims, either because they have not yet been approved, or have been approved but not payment received.

We often find that group benefits companies do not have a lot of reviews online, since many people handle issues through their company’s HR department. That makes the number of complaints online somewhat unusual for this type of company, and it raises some concerns.

The Bottom Line

Most employees do not have any say in what company is used for group benefits, so the choice comes down to purchasing what is offered or seeking out individual coverage. Unum’s group products are likely more affordable, but their reputation is not as solid as we would like to see. A less expensive policy means little if they do not pay claims; it may well be worth choosing individual policies and paying more.

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Review Information

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

20 Comments

  1. I had major surgery on Oct 28, 2019.

    My doctor submitted all the required documentation to Unum which included my return to work date for December 30, 2019.

    However based on their review and opinion closed my claim on December 23, 2019.

    The claim rep assigned to my case did a poor job of returning calls during my recovery and had an awful attitude when my doctor’s office reached to challenge their (Unum) decision on my case.

    They don’t care about the person or what they are going thru medically.

    This company is horrible and has no problem taking your money and denying medical claims.

    Reply
  2. Unum is despicable!

    They take your money for the premium but when you are sick or hurt they don’t want to pay.

    They change the person handling your claim every 6 months.

    The new person handling my claim was so rude, no empathy & shouldn’t be working with people!

    They have spent more time processing my claim then paying me as they should.

    What governing body should a person file a complaint about Unum, the Insurance Commission?

    I’ve had it with Unum.

    Reply
  3. Reading these comments is depressing, not only because of the misery that UNUM has caused for so many but also the fact that I worked for UNUM back in the 90s.

    I left the company then because they were asking me to handle disability claims in a way that I knew was wrong.

    We all have a basic sense of right and wrong, and UNUM’s practices then were simply wrong.

    And the sad thing is that a quarter of a century later, it looks like UNUM’s ways have not changed.

    When I worked there I tried to maintain integrity in how I handled claims, and I ended up on probation because I wasn’t being “aggressive enough”.

    My best advice is that people get legal help when UNUM tries to play games with them.

    Reply
  4. My parents made payments on two UNUM long term healthcare policies for three decades.

    We jumped through UNUM’s long ring of hoops for months when my Mom got sick four and a half years ago.

    We never got a cent from them. She died on July 22, 2015.

    Since February, we have been working again on their many records, time frames, documents requirements to try and obtain payments for my father who is in confined to a wheelchair, on a catheter, wears Depends and needs bad baths, very messy No. 2 clean-ups, complicated bed-based pajama changes and other assistances every day.

    I live with my father; My brother and I are his nurses and we both have full-time jobs/commitments.

    Considering that people who need longterm health care are already an advanced stage of declining health, how is UNUM — or any long term healthcare provider with so many distinct requirements — in any way helping people with the needs they purchased the insurance for in the first place?

    At this point? I want to unite with others who have endured this very draining, frustrating, manipulative process and hold UNUM accountable.

    Reply
  5. I have never seen a company more completely inept than Unum. A family member of mine has been struggling with a medical issue recently, and her employer contracts with Unum for short-term and long-term disability benefits. It has taken them no less than 6 months to process and approve her claim, which was fully covered by the policy that her employer has with Unum. It is understandable that it may take up to a month to approve a claim, as it does take time to request/gather records and to review the details of the claim and send it through proper channels of approval. This has taken MONTHS longer than was necessary, largely due to lack of action, lack of follow up, and lack of communication between several Unum employees. No one seems motivated to do anything quickly, and once a task is completed (i.e. records request or a request between departments) it is left to sit for days or weeks before follow-up is done.
    It is frustrating that the short-term claims and long-term claims are handled by separate departments who do not have access to records from the other department, even if it relates to the same patient and medical issue. It is understandable that these may need to be handled separately, although records should be readily available to both departments working on the same claim. In addition to this, there is no urgency whatsoever to communicate between the two departments. In this case, the long-term claim was approved, and the patient was told that they were “waiting on short-term approval” before sending any funds at all. However, no one in long-term reached out to anyone in short-term to advise them of the approval or trigger the next step in approval for the short-term claim. This delayed the short-term approval by 2 additional weeks. Funds have still not been received, even though both claims have been approved at this point.
    In the meantime, the patient has had no income at all. Her medical issues have caused significant stress and disruption in her life. To have no income for 6 months and deal with creditors, lack of grocery money, lack of funds to pay utilities and rent, and the ever-present possibility of homelessness is absolutely ludicrous. This has been more harmful to her than helpful. Because of her medical situation, she has not always been able to make daily phone calls to follow up with Unum and try to facilitate records requests, answer questions, and generally try to push the process along. When follow up calls were made, they were often not returned for days, or not returned at all until another follow up call was made by the patient. It is clear that Unum employees are either significantly overworked, or simply not interested in doing their jobs. Their action or lack thereof has a drastic effect on the lives of the patients. They need to be reminded of this.
    Since the opening of this claim, the patient’s employer has thankfully contracted with a different company to provide these benefits. This is a welcome change and provides relief at the prospect of any future claims, as any other company in the business is surely a better choice than Unum.

    Reply
  6. I have no idea why Unum is in business when they only look out for themselves. Since last year I am dealing with a traumatic brain injury, but Unum has treated me from the beginning like I’m fit to go back to work. Well, due to depression, stress, memory loss, balance issues, etc. I just got out of the hospital psych ward for wanting to die because of Unum keeping me in limbo about my LTD. No, not denied yet, but this has been going on for many months. I have kept them updated with all my medical records, their requested forms, everything they have asked. I am treated like all I want is a free ride and apparently, Unum thinks my doctors don’t know what they are doing either. Anyone with a choice should stay as far away from Unum as possible.

    Reply
  7. This company is a rip-off and a bunch of incompetent people working for them. The job is to not pay people what’s entitled to them. How dare they keep people’s money?Expose them for the thieves they are.

    Reply
  8. Unum is a rip off to consumers. My only brother was killed in a truck accident they denied my claim because he had a percentage of alcohol in his system. I found out later there wasn’t an autopsy done. So how did they know? All lies. There needs to be a federal investigation of this company.

    Reply
  9. Unum is a poor excuse for an insurance provider, they look for every way they can not to stand behind the people who pay them for security. I would NEVER recommend then to anyone, if my ex employer did not chose them I would definitely go else where. But I had no choice in the matter and now my employer terminated me because I’m to sick to perform my job. They deserve each other, bad insurance, bad employer. Anyway Unum is worst insurance I ever dealt with.

    Reply
  10. Unum is a bunch of Thieves. I have been paying weekly out of my paycheck for a temporary disability if something was to go wrong. Well, just so happened that I got hurt and have been out of work for over 4 months waiting to see an orthopedic surgeon. My policy was only for 13 weeks, it has been over 18 weeks. I filed all paperwork, my employer filed all paperwork and gave me copies of my benefit receipt where I have been paying in. The company told me I would be receiving pay as soon as they processed it, the paperwork, and then when I called to check on it, told me that I was not qualifying because I got hurt at work. The salesman that sold me this at open enrollment told me that it would cover me in the event of an accident with medical proof with ease. I have Aflac at the time of starting my employment but I canceled it due to a slightly better rate at open enrollment. My employer told me because it was a workman’s comp injury that I would most likely get the difference of my pay was all for the 13 weeks out of the insurance company. They are now trying to do everything they can not to pay a single penny. I will be contacting a lawyer. I don’t care if the lawyer gets every penny himself as long as Unum has to pay. Somebody has to take this company into their hands and punish them for all that they are doing to these innocent people.

    Reply
  11. I had gastric bypass surgery 10 yrs ago… I lost over 200 pds…. Sounds great… well no…. since having this surgery I’ve had many .. many … issues… including chronic anemia to which I was receiving blood transfusions once a month & iron infusions once a week…. I would be at work & wake up in the emergency room because I passed out due to a low blood count… I was made aware that this is going to be an ongoing issue…. besides others… hence they denied my claim… & after 24 yrs… I lost my job & have been fighting for
    SS Disability for 3 yrs….smh….
    I wish I could sue them for all of my money back….

    Reply
    • You can sue – but you need to get a lawyer that is willing to get in the mud just like Unum. In Florida the scummiest is someone like [Redacted] – a horrible human being, but a lawyer willing to do the job – I am sure in your state you have someone similar. Go for it — Unum has been destroying peoples lives for too long

      Reply
  12. Seems like UNUM’s games is just that,to not pay the very ppl whom in trusted there lively hoods in there hands…I pray that we find lawyers who would go after these ppl for what there doing to ppl,there reps get on the phn and so everything to make you believe there not at liberty to pay when truth is We pay you(UNUM)for those moments and you leave us evicted and out of options im really thinking of forming some type of civil suit against this company its too many ppl with too many stories including myself.

    Reply
  13. I applied for short term and long term disability through my employer. I filled out UNUM’s form and mailed it in. I was quite surprised to get a letter a few weeks later denying me coverage. The letter I got back stated that I was denied due me stating “anxiety” as a health issue. I called UNUM to ask why I would be denied coverage due to anxiety and was told that they always deny for anxiety. I explained that I have never missed a day of work or have been hospitalized for anxiety. And not only did I not take anxiety medication that I took NO medication of any kind. I’m very healthy. Again told too bad so sad we don’t accept people with that diagnosis. I turned around and cancelled my life insurance with them same day. I’m not giving them another dime of my money.

    Reply
  14. Wow, yes exactly like the comments above. I would never recommend this company to anyone. My physician took me off work due to my medications that I was taking due to complications of shingles which has caused a chronic pain syndrome. My right leg was not very functional so driving was impossible along with the medication being so strong. They refused to pay. When I did get my current physician accommodate allowing me to work from home my insurance payments which had been on hold came out of my first check, a huge chunk of change and guess what my claim has been closed and denied because the physicians did not turn notes in on time and then a note from December stated I was functional which was way before I was even taken off work. I am lucky that it was only a few months of pay but I have dropped Unum as of yesterday. I will never ever recommend them to anyone. They were constantly asking for paperwork even though I had only had a few appointments and then just closed it. Do not use this company ever!

    Reply
  15. I had surgery on both feet, like the other comments, UNUM required I get documents from my doctor every two weeks at my expense and heartache. It’s very difficult to heal when you are constant being harass. It is an added stress. My doctor missed sending the medical notes on one visit and UNUM closed my disability claim without any notification to me. This is the worst I have experienced with an insurance company. We spend years paying for insurance, and come time to use it; it is a pain. UNUM looks for reasons not to pay. UNUM does not have our best interest in mind, they only look out for themselves. Wouldn’t recommend this company.

    Reply
  16. UNUM looks for any excuse to deny. I got UNUM LTC insurance when I was in my 40’s and since then this past Christmas missed ONE payment. My policy was cancelled and it was offered to me to apply and be reviewed and that I could be reinstated. I am now 63 and of course, no matter how healthy I am (or maybe because I AM healthy and a woman who will live longer) they rejected my ‘new’ application. I am allowed to know why but I believe they will lie. I have had a thyroid condition which is controlled for now over 30 years and take medication for it, but all my labs and other tests are fine. This is age discrimination and being healthy and gender discrimination. Basically they got almost $20,000 of my money for free and now I am unprotected. Luckily I am healthy, but one never knows. I thought they were a reputable company, but after reading consumer reports and finding out mine is not an isolated experience – I doubt they are reputable or moral at all.

    Reply
  17. Sounds like this company, UNUM should meet Edward Jones, they deserve each other. Ed Jones charges a fee no matter if they perform or not and it sounds like Unum charges a fee no matter if they perform or not. Sounds like a perfect union! d

    Reply
  18. I had my hip replaced and the day I got home from the hospital I received a call from Unum asking me if I was ready to go back to work part time. I have a warehouse job with heavy lifting and carrying. The Dr said I would be out of work 3 months. Unum made me resubmit paperwork (which the Dr charged for) every 2 weeks (at my own expense) and argued with the Dr’s orders. They act like they receive commission by denying you the benefits that you pay for

    Reply
  19. Unum denied my long term disability claim after approving it for two months. I am on continuing care for treatment from my doctor regarding a back injury. My doctor forward unum information concerning treatment and put me on disability until waiting results of treatments. Unum did not like her treatment plans and denied me continued disability.

    Reply

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