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Unum profit falls in 4th quarter due to $167.6 Million in investment losses

NEW YORK, Feb 3, 2009 - Unum Group said on Tuesday that net income fell sharply in the fourth quarter, hurt by investment losses, but operating earnings beat Wall Street expectations by a penny.

Unum, the largest long-term disability benefit insurer in the United States and Britain, said net earnings fell 74 percent to $41.8 million, or 13 cents a share, from $160.5 million, or 44 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Unum said it had $167.6 million in net realized investment losses, largely the result of writing down impaired investments.

Earnings from continuing operations, which analysts use to measure performance, were $209.4 million, or 63 cents a share, compared with $213.1 million, or 59 cents a share a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 62 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company expects its earnings from continuing operations to be between $2.45 and $2.55 a share in 2009, shy of analysts’ average expectation of $2.63 a share.

The company said it is looking for a new chief financial officer to replace Robert Greving, who is retiring later this year, according to a separate statement.

Gregory Dell, a disability income attorney with Attorneys Dell & Schaefer stated, “despite Unum’s recent financial performance they have been actively pursuing lump-sum buyouts from individuals that are currently collecting long-term disability benefits.”

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