At the annual meeting of shareholders on Thursday, Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) President and CEO Richard P. (Rick) McKenney addressed the company’s strong performance, customer focus, and the growing need for the financial protection Unum provides.
“Consistent, solid performance in our core businesses – and our relentless focus on customer service – has led us to become one of the world’s leading providers of financial protection benefits in the workplace,” Mr.
McKenney said. “Through our three principal businesses – Unum US, Unum UK and Colonial Life – we help protect more than 35 million workers and their families in the event of illness or injury through our disability, life, accident and critical illness coverage.”
In 2017, Unum had record revenues of $11.3 billion and paid nearly $7 billion in benefits. The company delivered earnings per share growth of more than 10%; record net income of nearly $1 billion; and returned roughly $600 million in capital to shareholders, among other measures.
“With the outstanding results generated by our core businesses in 2017, we entered 2018 better positioned than ever for the long term,” said Mr. McKenney. “There is tremendous opportunity to grow our company.”
Separately on Thursday, Unum’s board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $750 million of the company’s outstanding common stock through Nov. 24, 2019. This new authorization replaces the previous authorization of $750 million that was scheduled to expire on Nov. 25.
The board of directors also authorized an increase of 13 percent in the quarterly dividend paid on its common stock. The new rate of 26 cents per common share, or $1.04 per share on an annual basis, will be effective with the dividend expected to be paid in the third quarter of 2018.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, among other voting items, Unum shareholders re-elected 11 directors for terms expiring in 2019: Theodore Bunting, retired group president of utility operations at Entergy Corporation; Michael Caulfield, former president of Mercer Human Resource Consulting; Susan DeVore, president and CEO of Premier, Inc.; Joseph Echevarria, retired CEO of Deloitte LLP; Cynthia Egan, retired president of T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services; Kevin Kabat, chairman of the board of Unum Group and retired president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp; Timothy Keaney, former vice chairman of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; Gloria Larson, president of Bentley University; Rick McKenney, president and CEO of Unum Group; Ronald O’Hanley, president and COO of State Street Corporation; and Francis Shammo, retired CFO of Verizon Communications. Pamela Godwin, president of Change Partners, Inc., retired from the board on Thursday.