Unum agrees to acquire AlwaysCare parent

The Sternberg family started Starmount in 1983. The Sternberg family started Starmount in 1983.

Unum Group Corp. (NYSE:UNM) has agreed to pay $127 million plus net assets for H&J Capital LLC, the parent of Starmount Life Insurance Company and AlwaysCare Benefits.

The Sternberg family founded the Baton Rouge, La.-based business in 1983. Starmount Life is an insurer licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia and AlwaysCare Benefits is a benefit plan administrator.

Starmount sells individual products through the Starmount Life unit. It markets group and voluntary benefit plans under the AlwaysCare brand name.

The company is best known for its dental and vision plans, but it also sells life, accident, disability and critical illness insurance.

Starmount generates a total of $180 million in premiums per year, or about $191 per covered life per year, from providing insurance for 940,000 covered lives. 

Erich Sternberg is the chief executive officer and Deborah Sternberg is the president.

Unum says it intends to keep Starmount's headquarters and its 220 employees in Baton Rouge. The business would also keep its current management team, according to the company. Unum is not assuming that it would have to achieve any significant "corporate synergies," or major cuts in Starmount's operations, to make the deal worthwhile.

Unum hopes to complete the deal by Sept. 30.

Mike Simonds, president of the Unum U.S. unit, said in a statement that the company believes the deal will help it increase dental and vision benefits sales.

Unum is best known as a disability insurer, but it generated $43 million in dental benefits sales in 2015. It has dental benefits partnerships with United Concordia and Health Plan Services.

Unum is hoping it can begin offering access to Starmount dental products to its Unum U.S. and Colonial Life distribution teams in 2017 and 2018. The teams would have a chance to market the products to about 170,000 employer customers, and that could increase dental premium revenue to about $500 million per year within five years, Unum says.

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