Our history

Historical photo of Union Mutual building

165 years of helping others

Since our founding in 1848, Unum has been known for breaking new ground in the business of benefits. Integrity, determination, innovation and leadership were at the core of our company 165 years ago, and they are just as relevant to our business today.

Just as long-lasting has been our commitment to being there when people need us most, a simple but compelling philosophy that began before the Civil War during a time when investing in insurance to protect yourself from the financial effects of illness and injury was a radical idea. We persevered during the fledgling insurance landscape then, and we're equally committed today to educating consumers about the value of financial protection benefits.

Take a look below at Unum and its predecessor companies throughout the years.

19th century

1848: Union Mutual is chartered in Maine and sets up its headquarters in Boston. The first policy is issued the following year for $5,000 in life insurance.

1864: In what would become the first of many firsts, Union Mutual becomes the first American company to reinsure the business of another by reinsuring Chicago Mutual Life.

1881: Union Mutual relocates from Boston to Portland, Maine.

1887: Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company is founded in Chattanooga, Tenn. The company would quickly find a niche in the railroad insurance business.

1895: The Masonic Protective Association (MPA) is created in Worcester and sells insurance exclusively to Masons.

20th century

1924: Union Mutual offers the industry's first group life insurance plan.

1930: The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company is founded by the MPA to expand its business beyond serving Masons. Paul Revere would eventually buy out the MPA.

1937: Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company is founded in Columbia, S.C.

1939: Provident becomes the first insurer to offer disability benefits.

1970: National Employer's Life Permanent Health Insurances Limited (NELPHI) is incorporated in the U.K.

1986: Union Mutual changes its name to Unum.

1989: Unum becomes the first to offer group long term care coverage.

1990: Unum acquires NELPHI and renames it Unum Limited the following year.

1993: Unum merges with Colonial Life.

1997: Provident completes acquisition of Paul Revere.

1999: Unum and Provident merge to form UnumProvident Corporation. That year, the company becomes the first to offer an employee assistance plan with group disability coverage.

21st century

2007: UnumProvident Corporation changes its name to Unum Group, with three primary divisions: Unum US, Unum UK and Colonial Life.

A visual history

Read more about the history of Unum and see a timeline in pictures in 160 years of innovation.