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MIDDLE AMERICA'S BELIEF IN OWN INVINCIBILITY DEFIES REALITY UNUM RELEASES ATTITUDE STUDY ON DISABILITY, LONG TERM CARE

 MIDDLE AMERICA'S BELIEF IN OWN INVINCIBILITY DEFIES REALITY
 UNUM RELEASES ATTITUDE STUDY ON DISABILITY, LONG TERM CARE
 PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans age 30 to 65 with household incomes of more than $30,000 believe that becoming disabled would potentially devastate them personally and financially, yet many substantially underestimate the risk of disability, according to a new Gallup study released today by UNUM Corporation.
 More than half of the 508 adults surveyed believe it would be at least somewhat likely that becoming disabled would cause them to lose their savings (59 percent), their standard of living (54 percent) or their job (53 percent). Many also felt that a disability would cost them their self-esteem (49 percent), home (24 percent), friends (20 percent), and spouse (15 percent).
 Yet, on average, these Americans underestimate by more than half the chance that they will become disabled at some point during their working years. Respondents said they thought they had a 16 percent chance of becoming disabled during their working years. In reality, men have a 43 percent chance and women have a 54 percent chance of becoming disabled.
 "People fear becoming disabled, but many have a feeling of invincibility," said Robert Ostrander, senior vice president, UNUM Individual Disability. "They're gambling that it won't happen to them."
 Even those with disability insurance do not have peace of mind. Survey participants with disability insurance were as likely as those who don't have coverage to feel that they would lose their job (56 percent and 60 percent, respectively), self-esteem (45 percent and 50 percent), and their home (25 percent and 30 percent).
 "It's clear that most people don't understand the need for or value of disability insurance," Ostrander said. "They need to work with their brokers, financial planners or employers to learn more about their policies." (See following for questions to ask about disability insurance.)
 The UNUM Disability and Long Term Care Study was conducted by The Gallup Organization. In July, Gallup completed phone interviews with 508 adults age 30 to 65 who live in households with an annual income of $30,000 or more. The sample error for this study is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
 Another key study finding was that Americans know little about their disability insurance coverage. More than half (55 percent) of those who had disability insurance said they did not know the provisions of their disability coverage. Less than a third (29 percent) correctly believed that between 51 and 74 percent of a person's income is replaced under most long term disability policies, and only one-fifth (19 percent) correctly believed that most policies pay benefits until age 65.
 Long Term Care: The Forgotten Priority
 Americans worry about needing long term care like they worry about becoming disabled. Fully 75 percent of all survey respondents believe that it would be more damaging financially if they or their spouse needed long term care than it would be if either of them died.
 When asked to rank financial priorities, financially planning for long term care ranked second only to saving for retirement (74 percent vs. 91 percent, respectively). However, more than two-thirds (69 percent) haven't planned for the possibility of needing nursing home care or long term care in their own homes. And, 43 percent of those surveyed had never heard of long term care insurance.
 "Long term care is a huge unfunded liability that most Americans just don't want to think about," said David Hughes, senior vice president, UNUM Long Term Care. "But through careful, long term planning, most Americans can achieve the kind of financial protection that gives peace of mind."
 Similar to their feelings about disability, many Americans underestimate the likelihood that they well need long term care. Three in 10 (30 percent) believe that they will need nursing home care. In reality, four of 10 over age 65 will need some form of long term care at some point, according to industry sources.
 Most adults surveyed (64 percent) expect that their spouse would care for them when they need long term care. However, men believe this more strongly than do women (74 percent vs. 53 percent, respectively). Women expect to rely more on professional care providers (19 percent vs. 11 percent for men) and their children (15 percent vs. 2 percent for men).
 Three-fourths (75 percent) of those who have heard of long term care insurance said it would be important to have flexibility in deciding how to use long term care insurance benefits.
 "Finding flexible solutions to long term care needs will be a primary issue with consumers in the 1990s," Hughes said.
 UNUM Corporation (NYSE: UNM) is a specialty insurance holding company with $10.9 billion in assets. UNUM is the nation's leading provider of disability insurance products and services and a major provider of employee benefits including long term care insurance and retirement products. The company also markets special risk products and is a leading reinsurer of long term disability and other specialty insurance business. Headquartered in Portland, Maine, UNUM and its affiliates operate in North America, the United Kingdom and the Pacific Rim.
 -0- 10/29/92
 /CONTACT: Tracy Sherman of UNUM, 207-770-4356 or Dave Walsh of Mona Meyer McGrath & Gavin, 612-832-5000, for UNUM/ CO: UNUM ST: Maine IN: INS SU:


DS -- MNFNS2 -- 6360 10/29/92 07:34 EST
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Date:Oct 29, 1992
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