High unemployment continued to hurt publicly traded U.S. group disability insurers’ results in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The U.S. group income protection unit at Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., said its group long-term disability (LTD) and short-term disability (STD) insurance sales fell to $105 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, from $110 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Premium revenue from in-force cases fell to $514 million, from $536 million.
“Ongoing price competition, along with challenging economic conditions which negatively impact employment levels and the company’s continued commitment to disciplined pricing, renewals, and risk selection were contributing factors to the decline in [in-force] premium income,” the company said.
At Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, in-force disability premium revenue fell to $470 million, from $471 million, and disability sales fell to $37 million, from $50 million.
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“With high unemployment and low wage inflation within our in-force customer base, the environment is still dampening our ability to grow our top line.” Rick McKenney, the company’s chief financial officer, said during a recent Hartford earnings conference.
At StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, Ore., the parent of Standard Insurance Compay, in-force group disablity insurance premium revenue increased 1.3%, to $513 million, but total group sales fell to $73 million, from $93 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. LTD sales fell to $22 million, from $37 million.
Like Unum and Hartford, StanCorp is attributing the soft group disability results to a weak job market.
Sales of individual disability were also slow: they fell 7.4% at Unum to $11 million, and 0.5% at StanCorp, to $41 million.