When Unum, the world’s largest disability insurance company, wanted to gain a better understanding about the important issues surrounding disability insurance, it turned to Synectics.


The expert panel that Synectics gathered included:

  • An amputee who scaled Mt. Everest,
  • A disability organization lobbyist,
  • A nurse specialist.

The Synectics-led team worked on their development process, employed team-on-team presentation, and staged a skit to highlight the key issues, which included:

  • Medical needs,
  • Psychological problems,
  • The impact of disability on families,
  • Re-entry of the claimant into a different job .

The powerful insights that emerged from the sessions suggested improvements to:

  • Overall service,
  • Counseling,
  • Information sharing, including providing a pre-approved list of disability-related organizations and services,
  • Improvements to the Unum website,
  • Communications, including chat or similar services.


With that new understanding of the important issues and invigorated by the power ideas that emerged from the Synectics-led team, Unum created a new and innovative business model.

Today Unum, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading provider of employee benefits—including disability, long-term care, life, and voluntary insurance—serving one in five U.S. employers who provide group long-term disability benefits.  More than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 do business with Unum.

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