Unum is one of the leading income protection insurers in the world. Although it has a relatively small UK portfolio, in the USA it is a top insurer, so claims details from there are relevant.
For the ninth consecutive year, cancer is the leading cause of long-term disability claims for Unum, followed closely by complicated pregnancies.
Cancer claims were 11.8 percent of long-term disability claims in 2009, while complications from pregnancy made up 11.7 percent of claims. The leading reasons for short-term disability claims in 2009 were maternity (22.6 percent of claims) and non-back injuries (9.5 percent of claims).
As treatments for cancer have become more effective, return-to-work rates for people who are diagnosed with the three most prevalent cancers have improved substantially.
- In 2001, 47 percent of Unum’s customers who were diagnosed with breast cancer returned to work. In 2008, the number was more than 53 percent
- In 2001, 28 percent of those diagnosed with prostate cancer returned to work. In 2008, the number was 34 percent
- In 2001, 23 percent of those diagnosed with colon cancer returned to work. In 2008, the number was 33 percent
And many people diagnosed with the most common cancers return to work prior to needing long term disability coverage; their surgery and treatment allows 50 percent to 70 percent of claimants to return to work in five to seven months.