Unum Strong, Well-Positioned For Future, CEO Watjen Tells Shareholders

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unum (NYSE:UNM) is succeeding at providing both valuable financial protection benefits to millions of working people and strong returns to stakeholders in what continues to be a challenging economic environment, according to President and CEO Thomas R. Watjen. Mr. Watjen made his comments to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Thursday in Portland, Maine.

“We grew the businesses we targeted for growth, generated strong profitability in our core businesses and maintained a solid financial foundation while delivering on our commitments to customers and shareholders,” Mr. Watjen said. “We finished the year well-positioned for the future.”

Unum paid more than $6 billion in benefits in 2012 to help protect the future of workers and their families and helped more than 230,000 individuals return to work and a productive lifestyle.

“The financial protection we provide through the workplace has never been more important than it is today,” he added, noting 40 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and half of all households couldn’t raise $2,000 within a month if they had to. “When people need them most, benefits such as disability, life, accident and critical illness insurance protect against financial hardships that can derail the stability of individuals and families.”

Executive Vice President and CFO Richard P. McKenney, who also addressed shareholders at today’s meeting, said Unum continues to execute in a sound, sustainable manner that creates steady value, with a total return to shareholders that has significantly outperformed the industry over the past five years. The company repurchased $500 million of its stock in 2012 and increased its dividend by 24 percent. Since 2007, the company has repurchased $2.2 billion in stock and increased its dividend by 73 percent.

He also noted the significance of financial strength ratings upgrades by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in 2012.

“The company’s solid earnings growth, increased shareholder returns and significant risk-based capital demonstrate the success of our commitment to a disciplined management and operating approach,” Mr. McKenney said. “Unum has outperformed its peers over the past several years in key industry measures through a focus on operating discipline, which leads to a strong balance sheet and capital position.”  

Unum achieved operating earnings per share growth of 5.7 percent in 2012. The company’s total operating return on equity across all business lines was 12.2 percent.

“Each year brings its own unique challenges and changes, but I’m confident the approach we’ve taken to managing the business can continue to create long-term value for shareholders,” said Mr. McKenney. 

Mr. Watjen added that the company’s success has gone well beyond financial results to include very high customer satisfaction survey results, increased community and social responsibility efforts, and an elevated stature as a leading voice in its industry.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Unum shareholders voted to re-elect four directors for terms expiring in 2016: E. Michael Caulfield, former president of Mercer Human Resource Consulting; Ronald E. Goldsberry, automotive industry consultant; Kevin T. Kabat, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Fifth Third Bancorp; and Michael J. Passarella, former audit partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Shareholders also voted in favor of an amended and restated certificate of incorporation to declassify Unum’s board of directors, approved the compensation of the company’s named executive officers, approved the annual incentive plan, and ratified the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm.


Tennessee Tax Revenue For March Released

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin announced Monday that Tennessee tax revenue fell short of budgeted estimates in March. March sales tax revenues reflect retail activity occurring in February, and overall March revenues were $993.6 million, which is $100.9 million less than we collected in March of 2016 and $70.1 million less than the budgeted estimate ... (click for more)

First Tennessee's Operation Hope Provides Financial Literacy To Underserved Chattanooga Communities

With April being Financial Literacy month, First Tennessee’s Operation HOPE is spreading the word about the services they provide to low-income or moderate-income youth, individuals and families in Chattanooga’s underserved communities. Operation HOPE provides multiple services that help those who are struggling financially to get back on their feet. Their programs include Credit ... (click for more)

City Vows Lincoln Park To Be Preserved Despite Major Road, Sewer Projects

City officials vowed on Tuesday that Lincoln Park will be preserved despite a major road extension and sewer relocation planned nearby. Maura Sullivan, the city's chief operating officer, said the Trust for Public Land will hold public meetings geared around ideas for refurbishing the African-American park that once featured ball fields, a swimming pool and other attractions. ... (click for more)

Teen Shot At Brainerd Tunnel; Gunshot Came From Passing Vehicle

A teen was shot in the Brainerd Tunnel on Tuesday afternoon. He was identified as Adrian Williams, 19.   Chattanooga Police responded at 3:16 p.m. to a shots fired call at the 2600 block of Bailey Avenue (the tunnel).   At the same time officers were arriving on the scene, the victim walked into a local hospital suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot ... (click for more)

Don't Clog Up The Last Remaining Semi-Unobstructed Route Into Town From North Of The River

The proposal to turn Hixson Pike in Riverview into a more pedestrian friendly street is more than absurd.   Let's be honest. This is the last semi-unobstructed route into town from north of the river, due to I-27 construction and the bike lane/parking lot that is North Market Street.  So, now the businesses in Riverview would like parking on this main artery? ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: New Orleans Slaps History

It was balmy and relatively quiet on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. The flowers of spring were in full flush on Canal Street and, as darkness began to cloak the city, no one was aware that a cadre of police snipers was quietly setting up in a hotel parking garage across from the Liberty Place monument. Shortly after 1 a.m. yesterday morning, a number of large trucks rumbled past ... (click for more)