Unum Group Corp. has moved toward entering the U.S. dental and vision benefits markets by completing a previously announced acquisition of H&J Capital LLC, the parent of Starmount Life Insurance Co. and AlwaysCare Benefits.
Starmount Life is an insurer licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia. AlwaysCare is a benefit plan administrator.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based companies sell a wide variety of individual, group and voluntary insurance products, but they are best known for AlwaysCare's dental and vision plans.
Starmount generates about $180 million in premium revenue per year from insurance products that provide coverage for about 940,000 people.
Mike Simonds, president of Unum's Unum US unit, said in a statement about the deal that the Unum acquired H&J because Unum sees strong market demand for dental and vision insurance.
"Starmount’s solid products and networks, combined with Unum’s scale and capabilities, will help us create real value for our clients and expand access to financial protection benefits in the workplace," Simonds said.
Unum will introduce Unum Dental and Unum Vision products underwritten by Starmount in 2017, Unum said.
Colonial Life, a Unum worksite marketing arm, will introduce Colonial Life versions of the Starmount dental and vision products in 2018, Unum said.
All of the products Unum, Colonial Life and Starmount write are "excepted benefits," or health-related insurance benefits that fall outside the scope of the Affordable Care Act rules that now apply to major medical insurance products.
Erich Sternberg is now the chief executive officer of Starmount, and Deborah Sternberg is the president. Starmount has about 220 employees.
Unum, which is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says it will keep Starmount headquartered in Baton Rouge, under the direction of the Sternbergs. Starmount will keep its current employees, Unum says.
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