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Unum UK pays claims of £366m in 2021 amid growing importance of early intervention and rehabilitation

  • Cancer leading cause of claims across Unum’s Group Income Protection (30%), Critical Illness (65%) and Life Insurance (36%) products
  • Rehabilitation referrals for cancer claimants achieve a 98% return to work success rate as Unum announces overall success rate of 95% (1,295 individuals) across all referrals
  • Mental health-related claims reduce from 18% to 11% amidst greater focus on preventative support, early intervention and early notification — all identified as key to success
  • Annual Help@hand appointments exceed 15,500 and Mental Health Pathway queries increase by 65% as employees reach out for early support prior to claim

Unum UK, one of the UK’s leading employee benefits providers, paid a total of £366m in claims in 2021 (a £6.5m increase from 2020), with the majority (£202m) being for Group Income Protection. Early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation support are being credited as key to helping employees ahead of claim as utilisation of Unum’s support services continued to increase.

Cancer continues to be the most common cause for claims across all of Unum Group Risk products, accounting for 30% of Group Income Protection claims, 36% of Life Insurance claims and 65% of Critical Illness claims. 

Encouragingly, rehab referrals (post-claim) for patients with cancer had a 98% success rate in helping people return to work in 2021. This is against a backdrop of an overall success rate of 95% for people returning to work or achieving an agreed outcome after referral to Unum’s rehabilitation team.

Elsewhere, Unum saw a decrease in Group Income Protection claims for mental health, falling from 18% to 11% in 2021. This correlates with a 65% increase in Mental Health Pathway queries for pre-claim specialist support (the Pathway provides Unum Group Income Protection customers with a single access point), together with a 141% increase in mental health referrals from our Wellbeing Checks .

And Unum’s award-winning Help@hand app, powered by Square Health — which connects people to health and wellbeing services such as remote GPs, mental health support and physiotherapy — saw 15,900 appointments booked throughout the year. Mental health services accounted for 4,700 (29%) of all appointments, 43% of which were for people aged 25–35. 

Finally, as dentists reopened following lockdown closures, dental claims rose by 41% in 2021 to £19 million — including payments new for 2021 of up to £50 annually to patients and insured dependents whose dental surgeries charged for additional pandemic-related PPE.

Paula Coffey, Director of Claims, Rehabilitation and Medical Services at Unum UK, said: 

“2021 was the year of rehabilitation and early intervention for Unum UK, with our Mental Health Pathway, Wellbeing Checks, Help@hand app and cancer support services all seeing a significant increase in usage. We are particularly proud of our 98% success rate for rehab referrals for patients with cancer.

“Whilst we’re delighted to have supported so many people reach a successful outcome, we can only do so once we know an employee needs our support. These figures show that our pre-claim rehabilitation is both valuable and effective — but delayed notification of an employee experiencing poor health could lead to missing out on the benefits of early intervention. In a world where so many of us are moving to hybrid or remote working, the importance of early notification helps give employees support at the earliest opportunity.” 

 * A Wellbeing Check provides guidance and self-management techniques for employees covered by Unum Group Income Protection who may be struggling with their wellbeing, helping them to make achievable and realistic changes that will benefit their performance, mood, energy and productivity, enabling them to thrive in the workplace and at home. 

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