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 place to get it.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 17, 2021

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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 protection that employees can choose from to get the ideal coverage for their needs.

What is 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 insurance, accident, and critical illness coverage 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. Businesses can purchase an employee benefits plan for their workers, and those workers can typically customize their benefits packages.

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What insurance products does Unum offer?

Unum offers an array of group products and services from which employers can choose the options they want to offer to their employees. Here is a look at some of the company’s main insurance offerings.

Disability

Unum’s top product, disability insurance policies, are 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 insurance policy that can provide increased benefits and is fully portable. You can speak to your employer for details to learn more about disability income protection options that may be available to you.

Life Insurance

Unum’s life insurance plans are available as either term life insurance or whole life insurance. Term life insurance can expire while whole life insurance offers permanent coverage. The website does not list details on these group life insurance plans’ death benefit amounts or issue requirements, which is not surprising since they likely vary based on the options selected by the employer.

Unum life insurance can be portable in most cases, but details of availability 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, offering an additional layer of financial protection.

Critical Illness

Critical Illness life 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 that may not be covered by other medical insurance. Covered expenses include emergency room copays, hospital stay coinsurance and copays, and deductibles.

Hospital insurance benefit amounts will vary based on the employee insurance benefit options selected by your employer.

Dental & Vision

Unum offers both dental coverage and vision coverage plans with access to a large network of providers. The different Unum coverage 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.

Are the rates competitive?

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 as part of the employee benefits program.

Group rates, across the entire insurance industry, are almost always more affordable coverage. They tend to be cheaper than individual life insurance or other individual insurance products since the cost is shared across many people.

What is the claims process like?

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 to get answers to common claims questions about how to file or to check your claim status.

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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What do the ratings and consumer reviews say?

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.

What’s 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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