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Why Is Unum (UNM) Up 16.6% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Unum (UNM - Free Report) . Shares have added about 16.6% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Unum due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Unum Group Q4 Earnings Miss Estimates, Revenues Beat

Unum Group’s  fourth-quarter 2020 operating net income of $1.15 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.4%. Also, the bottom line decreased 18.4% year over year.

The company witnessed soft performances across its Unum U.S., Unum International and Colonial Life segments.

Operational Update          

Total operating revenues of Unum Group were nearly $3 billion, down about 2% year over year on the back of lower premiums, net investment income and other income. However, the top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.3%.

Net investment income decreased 3.7% to $593.5 million.

Total benefits and expenses increased 56.1% year over year to $4.1 billion, largely attributable to rise in benefits and change in reserves for future benefits and other expense

Quarterly Segment Update

Unum U.S.: Premium income was $1.5 billion, down 1.5% year over year.

Adjusted operating income was down 45.5% year over year to $143.5 million, attributable to lower group disability line of business and group life, accidental death and dismemberment line of business and supplemental and voluntary line of business.

Unum International: Premium income remained almost flat year over year at $165.7 million.  Adjusted operating income was $20.7 million, down 13.4% year over year.

Unum UK line of business’ premium income was £108.9 million, down 4.4%, attributable to  lower persistency in both the group long-term disability and group life product lines as well as lower sales, partially offset by rate increases in the group long-term disability product line. Adjusted operating income, in local currency, of £15.4 million was down 11.5%.

Benefit ratio was 75.6%, down 170 basis points (bps), due to lower inflation-linked experience in benefits related to its group products. Persistency decreased in group long-term disability but improved in group life business and supplemental line of business.

Colonial Life: Premium income declined 1.4% to $418.8 million attributable to lower sales, partially offset by a higher level of persistency. Sales decreased 26.5% to $154.2 million. Adjusted operating income decreased 18.8% to $71.2 million.

Benefit ratio deteriorated 510 bps year over year to 56.6 due to unfavorable experience in the life and disability product lines, resulting from the impacts of COVID-19.

Closed Block: Premium income decreased 1.43% year over year due to policy terminations and maturities, partially offset by premium rate increases on certain in-force business in the long-term care line of business. Adjusted operating income was $104.2 million, more than double year over year.

Corporate: The segment incurred an operating loss of $42.7 million, narrower than operating loss of $50.5 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Full-Year Highlights

Adjusted earnings were $4.93 per share, down 9.4% year over year. The bottom line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.98. Operating revenues of $12 billion for 2020 decreased 0.5% year over year and marginally beat the consensus estimate.

Capital Management

As of Dec 31, 2020, the weighted average risk-based capital ratio for Unum Group’s traditional U.S. insurance companies was approximately 365%. Unum Group exited the quarter with cash and marketable securities worth $1.5 billion.
Book value per share of Unum Group improved 8.7% year over year to $53.37 as of Dec 31, 2020.

Business Update

Closed Block individual disability reinsurance transaction is expected to free $650 million of capital. Of this, $400 million was realized in the fourth quarter.


Unum expects a modest year-over-year decline in after-tax adjusted operating income per share for 2021.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in estimates revision. The consensus estimate has shifted -10.74% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, Unum has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with a D. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise Unum has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.

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