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NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

Cancer is the leading reason employees stop working and take long-term disability leave, according to claims submitted to Unum, a provider of income insurance. Unum analyzes claims activity each year and shares results during Disability Insurance Awareness Month to help foster a better understanding of the value of DI insurance and other coverage.

“Disability insurance – often complemented by critical illness insurance – will give employees much-needed financial support as they manage through an absence from work due to injury or illness,” says Robert (Jake) Jacob of Unum. “We also work closely with employers whose employees are out on disability, helping them offer the necessary support and accommodations their employee needs to return to work in a productive and safe manner.”

Highlights from this review of 2013 data show:

  • More than 16 percent of long-term disability claims submitted to Unum in 2013 were for cancer.
  • Breast, genitourinary and digestive cancers are the three most common.
  • Cancer patients are getting older. In 2008, 16 percent of all cancer-related claims were for employees over 60 years old. In 2013, it was 20 percent.
  • The average length of time away from work has decreased by 3 percent since 2008, with breast cancer patients showing the highest return-to-work rates.

“Recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients,” Jacob adds. “Early detection and treatment options have improved dramatically, so the focus for cancer patients is on living beyond the disease. A rewarding career, network of coworkers, and support of the employer are key motivators for recovery.”

In addition to cancer, other leading causes of long-term disability claims for Unum in 2013 were:

  • Back disorders (14.4 percent)
  • Injuries (10.1 percent)
  • Cardiovascular (9.2 percent)
  • Joint disorders (9.1 percent)

Leading causes of short-term disability claims were:

  • Normal pregnancy (19.5 percent)
  • Injuries, not back (10.1 percent)
  • Pregnancy complications (8.3 percent)
  • Digestive/intestinal (7.8 percent)
  • Back (7.1 percent)



By Ayo Mseka




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