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Disability Bits: Unum, Guardian, Fineos, Crowe Paradis, Petersen

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Unum Group Corp. is selling new voluntary benefits products through the Simply Unum program.

Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn. (NYSE:UNM), introduced the Simply Unum benefits program for small and midsize employers in 2007. The company recently expanded the program to include California, Hawaii and Maryland, and it now operates the program in every U.S. state.

Unum, a leader in the traditional group disability insurance market, also has moved to put the new voluntary disability products on the menu in most markets that the Simply Unum program serves. The Simply Unum voluntary disability products are now available in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

Unum began offering the voluntary disability products through Simply Unum in a few test markets in October 2009.

Another new Simply Unum feature, the Benefit Credits program, gives employers the ability to contribute a set dollar amount toward employees’ insurance purchases.

In other disability insurance news:

- Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, is suggesting that consumers consider combining disability insurance with critical illnes insurance.

“Traditionally, medical plans pay for treatments outlined in a plan contract, but often do not pay for many of the expenses related to recovery,” the company says in an article it prepared in conjunction with the February 2010 American Heart Month campaign.”After a waiting period, disability insurance replaces a portion of your income if you can’t work due to injury or illness. With a critical illness policy, you receive a lump sum of money a short time after being diagnosed with a major illness. Most policies allow you to use the money as you choose.”

- Fineos Corp., Dublin, Ireland, and Crowe Paradis L.L.C., Wakefield, Mass., have formed a strategic partnership.

Fineos, a disability insurance claims software company, and Crowe Paradis, a Social Security and Medicare benefits advocacy firm, plan to build Fineos Claims into the Crowe Paradis Disability Logic system. The system can help advisors of people with health problems predict how likely an individual claimant is to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

- Petersen International Underwriters Inc., Valencia, Calif., a Lloyd’s of London correspondent that is active in the high-end disability insurance market, has added a Producer Zone tab to its website, at

Producers can use the zone to check the status of new business and get information about proposals, billings, paid-to-dates, in-force policies, lapsed and canceled policies, and commissions.