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Unum Group (UNM) Strengthens Portfolio with New Coverage


Unum Group UNM recently launched two products – Unum Dental and Unum Vision – as part of its employee benefits package. This new addition will enable Unum Group to become the only provider of employee benefits packages that considers health and retirement.

Unum Dental and Unum Vision products offer flexible plan designs, comprehensive national provider networks, and a convenient mobile app with provider locators, benefit overviews and claims tracking. While Unum Vision is now available across the country, Unum Dental is being marketed in the South and Midwest regions. The company intends to make Unum Dental available in other markets by 2018.

Starmount Life Insurance Company will deal with the new coverage. We would like to remind investors that Unum Group acquired Starmount, a dental and vision insurance business, in 2016 to capitalize on the growth opportunity in the dental market. The buyout was part of the company’s strategy to focus more on employee benefits business. Starmount is also expected to underwrite Colonial Life Dental and Vision, which are to be introduced in 2018.

Unum Group is one of the leading disability income writer sand the voluntary business writers in the U.S. Over the past few years, the company’s conservative pricing and reservation practices have contributed to its overall profitability. For 2016, Unum Group expects operating earnings to grow at the higher end of 3–6% from 2015. Unum Group also anticipates 2017 operating income per share to grow between 3% and 6%.

Shares of Unum Group outperformed the Zacks categorized Accident and Health Insurance market in the last year. While Unum Group shares gained 51.26%, the industry displayed 29.39% increase. The company also saw its estimates moving north over the last 60 days. Banking on solid persistency levels in core business lines, sturdy volume of sales, and solid benefits experience, we expect the company to deliver strong results in the quarters ahead. This in turn should drive the stock higher.

Unum Group is set to release its fourth-quarter results on Feb 1. However, our proven model cannot conclusively show that the insurer is likely to beat on earnings this time around. This is because Unum Group has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, which makes surprise prediction difficult in spite of its favorable Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is currently pegged at 97 cents. The insurer delivered positive surprises in the last four quarters with an average beat of 4.59%.

Stocks to Consider

Investors interested in the insurance industry can look at Arch Capital Group Ltd. ACGL, Everest Re Group Ltd. RE and OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. OB.

OneBeacon Insurance, a provider of specialty P&C insurance products and services, delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 35.82%. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Arch Capital offers property, casualty, and mortgage insurance and reinsurance products worldwide. It delivered positive surprises in all of the last four quarters with an average beat of 9.27%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2.

Everest Re, which writes P&C, reinsurance and insurance in the U.S., Bermuda and international markets, delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 25.64%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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