Sallie Mae Inc. has hired Securian Financial Group to administer claims for a new “total and permanent disability” provision that will come with Sallie Mae private education loans.

Sallie Mae, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the student loan company, will be removing the primary borrower’s and cosigner’s obligation to repay the Smart Option Student Loan in the event the primary borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled, according to Securian, a unit of Minnesota Mutual Companies Inc., St. Paul, Minn.

Sallie Mae also will forgive any unpaid balance in the event of a primary borrower’s death, Securian says.

Securian says it will be offering Sallie Mae the same kind of electronic claims processing it uses to process claims at its own Minnesota Life Insurance Company subsidiary.

In other disability protection news:

- Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, Columbia, S.C., a unit of Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn. (NYSE:UNM), says the most common reasons for accident insurance claims submitted to Colonial Life in 2009 were:

- Back sprain or strain.

- Ankle injury.

- Knee injury.

- Fractured arm.

- Open wound on a finger.

- Custom Disability Solutions, South Portland, Maine, a unit of Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, Philadelphia, recently published a description of some of the surveys it has conducted for clients over the past 12 months.

Recent projects have included surveys on use of gainful occupation and earnings test qualifiers in the definition of disability; a maternity claims practices; and war exclusions and limitations.