At the annual meeting of shareholders, Unum Group President and CEO Richard P. "Rick" McKenney spoke on "a year of good operating results, profitable growth, and the expansion of both the company’s geographic footprint and portfolio of products and services."
“We excelled at serving our customers who rely on us during some of life’s most challenging times, and we continued to invest in creating a world-class customer experience,” Mr.
McKenney said. “We also continued our focus on social responsibility, principled governance and environmental stewardship. And, despite industry headwinds, we stayed the course on our capital plans.”
In 2018, Unum had record revenues of $11.6 billion and paid more than $7 billion in benefits. The company delivered earnings per share growth of more than 21 percent and reported after-tax operating income of more than $1.1 billion, among other measures.
“We help protect more than 38 million workers and their families in the event of illness or injury through our disability, life, accident and critical illness coverage,” Mr. McKenney said. “In addition, we have seen the benefits of disciplined growth in new dental products and dental insurance networks; launched easy-to-use digital tools that help customers easily access and manage their leave benefits and seamlessly integrate with existing HR platforms; introduced a new voluntary benefits offering in the U.K.; and expanded our geographic reach with the acquisition of Pramerica Zycie, a financial protection provider in Poland.
“With these opportunities in front of us, I am excited about where we are headed in 2019.”
Also, Unum’s board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $750 million of the company’s outstanding common stock through Nov. 23, 2020. This new authorization replaces the previous authorization of $750 million that was scheduled to expire on Nov. 24, 2019.
The board of directors also authorized an increase of 9.6 percent in the quarterly dividend paid on its common stock. The new rate of 28.5 cents per common share, or $1.14 per share on an annual basis, will be effective with the dividend expected to be paid in the third quarter of 2019.
Also at today’s meeting, McKenney acknowledged the outstanding contributions of Chief Financial Officer Jack McGarry, who earlier this week announced he is retiring from the company in October. Steve Zabel, currently president of Unum’s closed block of business, will succeed McGarry as CFO.
Among other voting items, Unum shareholders re-elected 11 directors for terms expiring in 2020: Theodore Bunting, retired group president of utility operations at Entergy Corporation; Susan Cross, former executive vice president and chief actuary of XL Group, Ltd.; 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, retired 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. Michael Caulfield, former president of Mercer Human Resource Consulting, retired from the board today.