Summer kicks off a time of family barbecues and outdoor fun, but it also is a time for something else – accident claims.

Unum has noticed nearly a 20% increase in accident claims for emergency room visits, follow-up treatments and fractures and lacerations during summer months. For the past two years, the number of accident-related claim payments has averaged close to 15% higher now than any other time of year for Unum.

“While no one can predict how or when an accident will occur, individuals and families can be financially impaired by one – even if they have solid medical insurance,” according to Debbie Cecil, director of product development at Unum. “And this benefit is paid in addition to other core coverages, so there are no offsets to existing medical coverages. That’s another reason why financial protection benefits such as accident and disability insurance are so important and are growing in popularity.”

 Eastbridge Consulting Group reports that accident insurance sales in the workplace are up 14% across the industry in 2011. Unum’s accident sales have grown about 20% in each of the past four years. In the past five years, Unum has paid more than $40 million in benefits for more than 56,000 accident claims.

Cecil explained that the ease of enrollment, including the fact that accident insurance is guaranteed issue, meaning there aren’t any health questions at the time of enrollment, could contribute to the growing popularity of this type of coverage. And at a time when 42% of American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck, accident insurance can help lessen the financial burden of an unplanned expense.

“Some of the most common accident claim payments we see include emergency room services, follow-up treatments, doctor visits, fractures, hospital services and physical therapy,” Cecil said. “These medical events can really drain a family’s bank account. If a family has accident insurance, however, they are given a lump sum payment that can be used as needed to help soften the financial impact of these types of incidents.” Cecil also noted the affordability of this type of insurance. “One claim can often repay the annual premium,” she added.

Accident insurance benefits vary according to the defined injury – from sport-related to catastrophic events – and typically include benefits for follow-up doctor’s visits, emergency room treatment, hospitalization and surgery benefits and physical therapy. Catastrophic events are also covered by accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

An additional benefit to accident insurance is the inclusion of wellness options. These options can encourage healthy choices that can lead to better outcomes and lower health care costs.

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