(AP Photo/George Widman)

Unum Group Corp. has applied for permission from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to increase long-term care insurance (LTCI) rates.

Richard McKenney, the chief financial officer at Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn. (NYSE:UNM), talked about the LTCI rate increases today during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

The company’s Unum US units has applied for permission from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to increase rates.

The company has received approvals from 35 states and for 88% of the requested rate action, McKenney said.

The company stopped selling individual LTCI coverage a few years ago, McKenney said.

“We’ve been pretty open about the challenges of this business,” McKenney said.

The problems have come partly because of high persistency rates — the tendency for policyholders to keep their policies — but also because of high loss ratios, McKenney said.

The moves to increase prices should help but will take time to take hold, he said.

The recent 1.5 percentage point drop in 30-year Treasury rates has also hurt, McKenney added.

The product is still profitable, but it’s a “long-tailed product,” and “it’s going to be a difficult product to manage in today’s environment,” McKenney said.