Chattanooga-based Unum Group marks 175 years as insurance powerhouse

Insurer Unum Group on Friday marked 175 years in business as some employees bagged about 1,000 snack packs for food-needy children in the lobby of its downtown Chattanooga headquarters.

“It was a good year for Unum,” said Martha Leiper, the company’s chief investment officer, about 2022. “It’s a good time for employees to engage in giving back.”

The voluntary benefits company that offers disability, life, dental and vision insurance among its products has lasted so long because it meets a need, Leiper said in an interview.

“People need financial protection,” she said. “They need a way to have a backstop in case something happens in their lives.”

The company that employs about 2,800 in the city and around 10,000 worldwide is one of the oldest businesses in Chattanooga. It traces its start to 1848 when Union Mutual was chartered in Maine and later became Unum.

In 1887, Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co. was founded in Chattanooga. A series of mergers and acquisitions from 1993 to 1999 by Unum, Provident, Paul Revere and Colonial Life created what was known as UnumProvident and later Unum. Chattanooga became the headquarters of the insurance powerhouse.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga’s Unum Group names new head of diversity and inclusion)

While the combined company initially stumbled executing its business plan with the share price of its stock tumbling, it later regrouped.

Early this year, Unum posted better earnings for 2022 over 2021 on solid operating performance and favorable trends in its business, the insurer reported.

For the year, after-tax adjusted operating income was $1.25 billion, or $6.21 per share, versus $890 million, or $4.36 per share, in 2021, according to Unum.

Last December, Unum officials said it was adding about 100 new posts in Chattanooga and 200 companywide.

Leiper said the company will celebrate 175 years

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New bill calls for restoring mortgage insurance tax deduction

The fight to restore the mortgage insurance tax deduction and make it permanent was revived in Congress, with the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives.

However, similar bills in both the House and Senate introduced in the last session failed to gain traction.

The move has broad support in the mortgage, banking and housing industries; signatories to a November letter sent to Senate Committee on Finance chairman Ron Wyden, D.-Oregon, and ranking member Mike Crapo, R.-Idaho, including the U.S. Mortgage Insurers, Mortgage Bankers Association, Community Home Lenders of America, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and American Bankers Association, among others.

This new bill, “The Middle Class Mortgage Insurance Premium Act of 2023,” is sponsored by Reps. Vern Buchanan, R.-Florida and Jimmy Panetta, D.-California.

“We are grateful to Representatives Buchanan and Panetta for their continued leadership on this critical legislation that would make permanent the ability of middle-class homeowners to deduct private and government MI premiums on their individual federal income tax returns, importantly restoring parity with the deductibility of mortgage interest,” a statement from USMI President Seth Appleton said.

Borrower-paid mortgage insurance premiums finally became deductible in 2007 after several years of efforts by the industry; in Congress this was led by Sen. Gordon Smith, R.-Oregon.

But Congress failed to make that permanent and therefore it had to be reapproved on an annual basis. It continued with several extenders but passage was not guaranteed, as battles for inclusion in 2011 and 2014 showed.

The deduction expired after tax year 2021. Between 2007 and 2020, homeowners claiming the deduction, which also applies to Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs mortgages, saved a total of over $61 billion on their taxes, the USMI said. An average of 3.3 million people claim the deduction each

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Pasco County woman sees 55% jump in car insurance rate: ‘I went into complete shock’

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — From the grocery store to your rent or mortgage, it seems price increases are hitting everyone from every direction.

And now, here’s a new one that’s sucker-punching Florida drivers: Astronomical increases in car insurance rates.

8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi has been digging into what’s behind these increases.

We’ve seen such turmoil in the property insurance market. Of course, that has a direct impact on Tampa Bay homeowners. But car insurance has a direct impact on almost every single one of us.

Despite having no accidents, no tickets and no changes, one family in Pasco County saw their bill spike 55 percent.

“I went into complete shock,” said Pat Parlee. “I mean who can afford that type of increase.”

Starting next week, to insure two cars, Pat will be paying $115 more each month.

The cost of renewing her auto insurance went up 55%, going from over $1,200 to roughly $1,900—and that just covers half the year.

Pat’s been with her insurer, United Services Automobile Association or USAA for decades.

“After the shock wore off, I said what is going on that’s causing this,” said Pat, “I couldn’t get a straight answer on if there’s any types of caps on how much your auto insurance can increase.”

“So, that’s why I reached out to you because you’ve been so involved in everything with the insurance.”

8 On Your Side contacted the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and found, for USAA, the state’s new insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky approved, on average, a 20% rate hike, statewide.

The rate hike impacts customers differently, according to insurance experts.

In a statement, USAA says “the price of goods and services has increased significantly” and “USAA has

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Iowa woman fakes neighbor’s death for life insurance: feds

Now the 37-year-old Iowa woman has been sentenced to prison, authorities said.

Now the 37-year-old Iowa woman has been sentenced to prison, authorities said.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

A woman secretly added herself to her neighbor’s life insurance policy, then faked the Iowa neighbor’s death so she could steal death benefits, authorities said.

Kimberly Nicole Hollingshed, of Muscatine, fraudulently received about $100,139 from the life insurance company in April 2022, according to a March 9 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

She used that money to buy a 2014 Buick Encore, a 2008 Jeep Liberty and a 2008 Hummer H3, according to Hollingshed’s plea agreement that she signed in November.

Now the 37-year-old woman has been sentenced to 24 months in prison on a count of wire fraud, court records show.

The defense attorney representing Hollingshed did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on March 10.

Federal authorities said Hollingshed accessed the neighbor’s life insurance policy in February 2022, then she added an online profile without her neighbor’s permission.

“With online account access, Hollingshed made changes to the victim’s policy and added herself as a policy beneficiary,” officials said.

Once Hollingshed was listed as a beneficiary, in April, authorities said she told the life insurance company that her neighbor died and started the process to claim her death benefits.

The insurance company required a copy of the woman’s death certificate before processing the claim, according to the plea agreement.

As her neighbor hadn’t actually died, the woman provided a forged Iowa certificate of death, prosecutors said. She started with a real death certificate belonging to a 96-year-old Iowa woman who died in 2017, but changed the name, cause of death, location of death and other details, according to court records.

The insurance company processed the claim, and the money was deposited into

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Former Florida insurance commissioner appointed to Aspen board – The Royal Gazette

Updated: Mar 10, 2023 07:44 AM

David Altmaier: to join the board of directors of Aspen (File photograph)

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited has appointed David Altmaier to its board as a non-executive director, subject to receipt of any required regulatory approvals.

Mr Altmaier was previously the commissioner of insurance for the state of Florida, leading the office of insurance regulation between April 2016 and December 2022.

He started at the OIR in 2008, serving in a number of increasingly senior roles, including as director of property and casualty financial oversight and, prior to assuming the role of commissioner, as deputy commissioner of property and casualty insurance.

Mr Altmaier has also held multiple leadership positions within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, most recently as president.

Group chief executive officer and chairman Mark Cloutier said: “I am delighted to welcome David to the board of Aspen.

“His extensive regulatory experience and standing in the industry will make him an excellent addition to our board of directors. I look forward to working with him, and our fellow directors, as we continue to strengthen Aspen’s position within the market.”

Mark Cloutier, Aspen’s CEO

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CG Insurance internships available – The Royal Gazette

Created: Mar 13, 2023 07:58 AM

The 2022 CG summer interns, from left, Kelly Trott, Amber Simons, and Vanessa Varao, participating in one of the programme’s community service days (Photograph supplied)

College students and recent graduates considering career possibilities within the insurance industry can now apply for summer internships with CG Insurance.

The in-person programme introduces successful applicants to various aspects of the insurance business.

It runs from June 26 until August 18.

In addition to being offered in Bermuda, the programme will operate in the Cayman Islands, Barbados and The Bahamas.

It leverages CG’s global network by including a group-wide project along with localised projects and activities based on the areas of focus.

The departments that have available internship openings include property and casualty, medical, pensions, life, risk and compliance, finance, talent, marketing, and legal.

Interns can take part in career and networking activities including team building, community service days, mentor assignments, professional skills training and on-the-job coaching.

“We have been developing our internship programme for years with the aim to provide students and developing professionals the opportunity to have a dynamic and rewarding experience while earning a paycheque,” CG chief executive officer Naz Farrow said.

“These internships are a way for us to invest in the future by tapping into the strength and promise of our youth while also promoting their professional success. We take pride in being a people-first company and these internships exemplify that commitment.”

All applications must be submitted by March 31 to be considered.

To be eligible, applicants must be a citizen of the country in which they are applying, enrolled in a fully accredited degree programme, or have graduated from one no earlier than October 2022.

Naz Farrow, chief executive officer of CG Insurance (File photograph)

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Lawmakers’ Social Security numbers, home address stolen in DC Health Link data breach

Illustration of a stethoscope draped over the dome of the US Capitol building.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A hacker who uses the pseudonym “Denfur” is selling a database they claim includes stolen sensitive data from at least 55,000 customers of D.C.’s health insurance marketplace, including members of Congress and their staffs.

Driving the news: Congressional leaders started warning lawmakers on Wednesday about the breach at DC Health Link and suggested they freeze their credit while an investigation continues.

  • DC Health Link, which confirmed the breach and dark web leaks in a statement, helps all city residents purchase health insurance, not just members of Congress.

What’s happening: Researchers at Check Point Research told Axios Thursday that a malicious hacker had posted the database for sale on the “biggest English-speaking dark web hacking forum.” The member claims the database includes sensitive data from thousands of customers, including Social Security numbers, birthdates and home addresses.

  • Denfur is now selling the stolen database for just “a few dollars,” researchers noted. Denfur signed off the post with “Glory to Russia!”
  • CyberScoop reports that a sample of the stolen data includes information about former defense officials and lobbyists, and the Associated Press reported it was able to authenticate data belonging to two victims in the set.
  • Axios has seen the dark web post, which was still live as of Friday morning.

Why it matters: Malicious actors often rely on stolen personal data to commit identity theft and hijack online accounts, and it’s rare for them to be able to collect verifiable information from high-ranking U.S. officials.

What they’re saying: “Such precious information will have high demand in the dark web and, in the wrong hands, can lead to significant downstream consequences,” Sergey Shykevich, threat intelligence manager at Check Point Research, said in a statement.

Zoom out: The breach comes as lawmakers focus more on cybersecurity issues plaguing the health care

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Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokerage Inc. reaffirms commitment to help fire-stricken communities to start anew

*A fire victim receives assistance from Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokerage, Inc.*

According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), a total of 13,000 Metro Manila fire incidents were recorded in 2022 alone. While the number of fire incidents decreased by 4.02% based on the recent statistics last December, the damage to property and the loss of lives remain high. For the first two months of 2023, a series of fire incidents has already hit the country, especially in Metro Manila, Davao City, and Iloilo; with 94 cases recorded in the first four days of March alone, leaving 20.4 million pesos worth of damages. With the high incidence of conflagration, the BFP further stepped up its awareness-building efforts especially as March is considered Fire Prevention Month in the Philippines.

For many years now, Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokerage, Inc. (CLIB) has worked with the BFP in observance Fire Prevention Month. These include information dissemination drives from both organizations, as well as community engagement in driving the importance of prevention and safety especially during summer months where incidents of fire tend to increase. Part of its community-engagement efforts is Cebuana Lhuillier’s constant presence and rapid response to Ka-Cebuanas whose communities fall victim to fire.

“Our efforts in reaching more communities, especially those in the far-flung locations, during incidence of fire has always been part of the service provided by Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokerage to the community it serves. Our goal is to be able to serve the most vulnerable of our kababayans during times of disasters like fires. More than just providing them information on how to protect themselves during emergencies, we also wanted to ensure our clients that we
are actively present and accessible when they need us the most. This highlights our commitment to be our Ka-Cebuanas partners at every stage

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Insurance status mediates racial, ethnic inequities in cervical cancer, finds study

Insurance status mediates racial, ethnic inequities in cervical cancer

Insurance status mediates racial and ethnic inequities in advanced-stage cervical cancer diagnosis, according to a study published online March 10 in JAMA Network Open.

Hunter K. Holt, M.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues examined the extent to which racial and ethnic differences in the diagnosis of advanced-stage cervical cancer are mediated by insurance status in a cohort of 23,942 women aged 21 to 64 years (59.4 percent had private or Medicare insurance).

The researchers found that patients of all other racial and ethnic groups had a lower proportion with a diagnosis of early-stage cervical cancer compared with White women (48.7, 49.9, 41.7, 51.6, and 53.3 percent for American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic or Latina, and White, respectively). Compared with women with Medicaid or uninsured women, a larger proportion of women with private or Medicare insurance received a diagnosis of early-stage cancer (57.8 versus 41.1 percent). Compared with White women, Black women had higher odds of receiving a diagnosis of advanced-stage cervical cancer in models adjusting for confounders (odds ratio, 1.18). Health insurance mediated more than half of the racial and ethnic inequities in the diagnosis of advanced-stage cervical cancer across all racial and ethnic-minority groups compared with White women (ranging from 51.3 percent for Black women to 55.1 percent for Hispanic or Latina women).

“This study suggests that insurance is a modifiable risk factor that plays an important role in the racial and ethnic inequities observed in the diagnosis of advanced-stage cervical cancer,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to Flatiron Health, an independent subsidiary of Roche.

More information:
Hunter K. Holt et al, Mediation of Racial and Ethnic Inequities in the Diagnosis of Advanced-Stage Cervical Cancer by Insurance Status, JAMA Network Open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.2985


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Homeowners fed up with property insurance rates continuously sky-rocketing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of Florida homeowners insured by Citizens Property Insurance are complaining about the abrupt price hike in their property insurance.

The homeowner’s insurance industry is in crisis in Florida. More and more homeowners are getting dropped by their insurance companies, forcing them to pay for Citizens Property Insurance.

In just one year, the policy count for the state-backed insurance company has grown from 750,000 policies to more than 1.5 million Florida homeowners, and the increased number of Citizen’s policyholders has caused some insurance premiums to double.

Insurance Agent Sean Way told News4JAX there’s an increased demand for policies from Citizens insurance following the damage from Hurricane Ian in Central Florida in 2022. Way said several insurance carriers stopped offering coverage for certain zip codes that experienced historic damage during the storm.

“Our homeowner’s insurance increased $3,500 since last year. I want to know why it increases greatly each year with no claims,” one Insider shared with News4JAX.

Way said while homeowners are seeing exponential price hikes for their policies, insurance companies are seeing positive effects from new insurance regulations passed during a special session.

“The effects that the legislation has had for our carrier partners are from the standpoint of getting away with one-way attorney fees, where the carriers were responsible for paying those fees. It has put the carriers in a position where they’re opening up more capacity,” Way said. “And when we say that, that means they’re writing in areas that they wouldn’t have written before, for various underwriting reasons. In time, the legislation should have a positive impact on our industry and our citizens of the state of Florida.”

Insurance agents said that property insurance relief would not happen anytime soon because of potential natural disasters this year. On the other hand, if Florida

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