Cancer Leads Causes of Unum’s Disability Claims
for 10th Year
Survivors of Cancer More Likely to Return to Work Than in Past Years
April 28, 2011 04:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--For a decade, cancer has been the leading cause of
long term disability claims for Unum (NYSE:UNM), according to 2010 data from the leading provider of group
But as treatments for cancer have become more effective, return-to-work rates for people who are diagnosed with
some of the most prevalent cancers have improved.
“Years ago, if you had cancer, you very likely weren’t coming back to work,” said Robert Jacob, a director of
health and productivity for Unum. “With advances in treatment and early detection, the questions surrounding cancer
and the workplace have evolved.”
Cancer has consistently prompted about 14 percent of Unum’s long term disability claims over the last decade.
During the next three years, Unum will participate in an initiative by the National Business Group on Health to
develop comprehensive resources for employers on the spectrum of cancer-related benefits and workplace
“We hope our expertise in disability, absence management and return-to-work strategies can be valuable resources
in this effort,” said Jacob, who is working with the NGBH on behalf of Unum.
Through research and education, Unum has offered employers guidance on how they can support workers through
cancer diagnosis and treatment and help those employees return successfully to work.
Tools in this effort include the guide “Moving Beyond: Cancer Survivors at Work.”
May, which is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, presents a good opportunity to highlight the important role
benefits play in helping to protect employees financially and keeping businesses strong, Jacob said.
“As more people return to work after a cancer diagnosis, it becomes even more important for employers and
employees to understand the role of disability coverage and effective return-to-work strategies,” he said.
Unum data shows that:
l For claims received in 2001, 47 percent of Unum’s long term disability customers who were diagnosed with
breast cancer returned to work. For claims received in 2008, the number was 52 percent.
l For claims received in 2001, 23 percent of those diagnosed with colon cancer returned to work. For claims
received in 2008, the number was 30 percent.
l For claims received in 2001, 28 percent of people diagnosed with prostate cancer returned to work. For
claims received in 2008, the number was 30 percent.
And return-to-work rates for people on Unum short term disability claims due to breast cancer more than doubled
from 2001 to 2008, rising from 28.8 percent to more than 60 percent.
“Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work,” Jacob said. “It helps
to create a sense of normalcy and control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.”
Other leading causes of long term disability claims for Unum in 2010 were:
l Back injuries, about 12 percent of claims
l Other injuries, about 9 percent of claims
Leading causes of short term disability in 2010 were:
l Pregnancy, about 22 percent of claims
l Injuries, about 9 percent of claims
l Digestive disorders, about 7 percent of claims
Unum (www.unum.com) is one of the leading providers of employee benefits products and services in the United
States and the United Kingdom. Through its subsidiaries, Unum provided $6 billion in total benefits to customers in