Cancer Remains Leading Cause Of Unum’s Disability Claims

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

For the 12th year cancer is the top reason for long-term disability claims for Unum (NYSE: UNM), followed closely by back disorders, according to 2012 claims data.

Cancer claims were nearly 16 percent of the company’s long term disability claims, while back disorders made up 15.1 percent of claims. The leading reasons for Unum’s short term disability claims in 2012 were maternity (18.9 percent of claims) and non-back injuries (10.5 percent).

Disability Insurance Awareness Month in May is a good opportunity to highlight the value of disability coverage, not only for the financial benefit it provides, but also for the support that employees receive as they recover and return to work. Recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients.

“Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work,” said Kristin Tugman, senior director of Health and Productivity at Unum. “It helps create a sense of normalcy and control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.”

Advances in cancer treatment have lead to much higher rates of survival from diagnosis. The American Cancer Society estimates that the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will grow to nearly 18 million by 2022. The Cancer Society also observes that the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor is the next critical area of attention for families, care givers and employers.

“We work closely with employers whose employees are out on disability because of cancer,” Tugman said. “When a cancer patient is ready to resume some work responsibilities, we can help the employer offer the necessary support and accommodations their employee needs to return to work in a productive and safe manner.”

Cancer patients experience a wide range of side effects from treatment, including fatigue and cognitive issues that are the result of “chemo-brain,” Tugman said. As the employee transitions back to work, possible accommodations could include:

  • Clearly defining work expectations and limitations
  • Creating a flexible or reduced work schedule
  • Modifying work stations to avoid having to stand or sit for too long
  • Allowing extra time for breaks to combat fatigue
  • Coaching and providing feedback on performance

Through research and education Unum offers employers guidance on how they can support workers through cancer diagnosis and treatment, and help those employees return successfully to the workplace.

“Although cancer remains a significant area of focus for our disability claims professionals,” Tugman said, “we are seeing some dramatic trends in recovery and return to work. And we recognize the importance in helping the customer – and their employer – learn to see beyond the diagnosis and to understand the important role that returning to work can play in a cancer survivor’s overall recovery.”

Other leading causes of long term disability claims for Unum in 2012 were:

  • Back disorders (excluding injury) (15.1%)
  • Injuries (9.8%)
  • Behavioral health issues (9.8%)
  • Circulatory system disorders (9.0%)
  • Joint disorders (8.3%)

Leading causes of short term disability claims were:

  • Normal pregnancy (18.9%)
  • Injuries (10.5%)
  • Complications from pregnancy (8.4%)
  • Digestive disorders (8%)
  • Back disorders (7.1%)
  • Cancer (6.8%)

Volkswagen Chattanooga Donates 2017 Passat To Siskin Hospital For Inpatient Therapy Gym

Just in time for the holidays, Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation has received a brand-new 2017 Passat, which will help its patients better prepare for the real-life challenges they will face when they leave the hospital.   The car, given by Volkswagen Chattanooga, will be in one of the hospital’s therapy gyms. It will replace the current 1978 Pontiac Grand ... (click for more)

Erlanger Heart And Lung Institute Hires Dr. Michael Mikolaj

The Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute announces the addition of Michael Mikolaj, MD to its network of cardiologists.    Dr. Mikolaj received his medical degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. After completing the internal medicine residency program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he completed additional fellowship training ... (click for more)

Valerie Bray Pleads Guilty In Death Of Well-Known Runner Cameron Bean

A long-time Moccasin Bend Hospital employee pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning in connection with the death of well-known runner Cameron Bean. Ms. Bray pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality involved. Defense attorney Bill Speek said she faces one-two years on each charge at a sentencing hearing on Feb. 1 at 1:30 ... (click for more)

Officer Who Was Shot Returned Fire; Is Recovering Well; Shooter Still On Loose

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday morning that the officer who was shot three times on Thursday is recovering well.   Chief Fletcher said the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest and one bullet hit the vest, which protected him during the shooting.  The officer was able to return fire, although Chief Fletcher would not comment on how many bullets ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennessee Electors Of The President - And Response (2)

This an open letter to the following people who are Tennessee's presidential electors this year: Joey Jacobs (Brentwood), Beth Scott Clayton Amos (Nashville), Jason Mumpower (Bristol), Susan Mills (Maryville), Liz Holiway (Harriman), Lynne Davis (Lascassas), Tom Lawless (Nashville), Mike Callahan (Monterey), Pat Allen (Clarksville), Shannon Haynes (Alamo), and Drew Daniel (Memphis).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)