Shares of Unum Group rose more than 2.5%, or 89 cents per share, on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday after the Chattanooga-based insurance giant announced it was increasing its dividend amid what CEO Rick McKenney said was an improvement in the business environment.
Unum announced that it would increase its quarterly dividend payment by 10% to 33 cents per share, payable from the third quarter dividend payments. This increase brings the forward dividend yield to 3.7% and the annual dividend payment to $1.32.
“Our disciplined execution in 2021 has generated continued profitability in a challenging environment that has allowed us to aggressively invest in growing our business and returning greater value to shareholders,” McKenney said at the meeting. company’s annual Thursday. “We have seen this performance accelerate in the first quarter as strong sales results and continued premium growth set a good foundation for a successful 2022.”
Although higher interest rates increase the cost of doing business for many companies and capital-intensive borrowers, the Federal Reserve’s tightening policy and higher interest rate environment are helping Unum realize more investment income on its insurance reserves.
Last year, McKenney said Unum paid out $8.2 billion in benefits across a wide range of financial protection products.
“Our corporate purpose of helping the world of work thrive throughout life’s moments has never been more relevant, and our team of more than 10,000 employees in the United States and Europe is committed every day to make a difference in the lives of those who rely on us,” he said in a statement at the company’s annual meeting.
Based on preliminary voting results, Unum shareholders elected 12 directors for terms expiring in 2023: Theodore Bunting, Jr., Susan Cross, Susan DeVore, Joseph Echevarria, Cynthia Egan, Kevin Kabat, Timothy Keaney, Gale King, Gloria Larson, Rick McKenney, Ronald O’Hanley and Francis Shammo. Shareholders also approved the Unum Executive Compensation Plan and approved the Unum Group 2022 Stock Incentive Plan.