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Unum in the spotlight

18 November 2007

The past record and current involvement of American insurance giant UnumProvident in the British welfare benefits system was the subject of a BBC News at 10 special report on 6th November.

Reporter Mark Daly of the Secret Policeman fame was assisted for months by Benefits and Work members whilst researching the story. The theme was also taken up in an interview the following morning on BBC Radio Scotland with Steve Donnison of Benefits and Work and Ann Mckechin, MP for North Glasgow.

The News at Ten story covered Unum's record in the US, the finding that it was an outlaw company and the fines levied against it for unfair practice in relation to claims handling. Peter Dewis of Unum, formerly a DWP employee and author of the Disability Handbook, was interviewed claiming that a thorough review of Unum's practices in the UK showed that there were no such problems here. The report also featured a call by MP Ian Gibson for an investigation into Unum's involvement in the UK's benefits system. Sadly, much of the information about Unum's role in the changes to the personal capability assessment did not make it into the final report.

The radio interview on Good Morning Scotland on 7 November was notable for Glasgow North Labour MP Anne McKechnie making the bizarre claim that most incapacity benefit claimants stayed on the benefit for life before accusing Steve Donnison of making 'wild allegations' for pointing out that disability groups had not been properly consulted about welfare reform.

The - rather better - version of the News at Ten report broadcast in Scotland on the 6.00pm news is available from this link on Youtube. (Many thanks to StopUnum for alerting us to this).

Benefits and Work members can learn more about Unum's involvement in the UK's benefits system:

US medical scandal company at heart of UK welfare reform 11.08.06

 

© 2007 Steve Donnison