Whatever you do, show kindness

Whatever you do, show kindness

Work Wisdom

Whatever you do, show kindness

Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced back pain. If you’re over the age of 18, there’s a good chance your hand is up. Research from the CDC found 39% of adults aged 18 and over experienced back pain, and the percentage increased with age.

While many instances of back pain are not debilitating, serious back disorders are a leading cause of long-term disability claims and one of the most common reasons people miss work. Internal claims data from Unum corroborates this.

Unum customer Steve Colantoni has lived with back pain for the better part of two decades. He’s had surgeries, steroid injections, performed physical therapy and visited chiropractors. Nothing worked, at least not for very long.

“My pain got to the point where I couldn’t sit at a desk or visit the places I needed to for work,” said Steve. “When I started suffering from neuropathy, I made the difficult decision to file a long-term disability claim.”

Steve’s claim was assigned to Unum Senior Benefit Specialist, Byrne Strating, and later transitioned to Benefit Specialist Mary Duarte’s administration.

“I’ve dealt with various insurance companies for a long time. The process hasn’t always been smooth but dealing with Unum was a dream experience. From day one, Byrne and Mary made everything easy for me and treated me with care. They both made me feel like I was their top priority.”

Unum customer, Steve Colantoni

That’s the kind of feedback Mary strives for with every Unum customer she helps.

“Every day I come to work, I treat people the way I’d like to be treated, and I take that same approach to handling claims,” she explained. “I do prep work before I call our customers to learn more about them, so they know it’s not the first time I’m seeing their claim.  When I first talked to Mr. Colantoni, he wasn’t just a claim number to me. I was familiar with him and ready to help.”

Most don’t expect an illness or injury to prevent them from working and earning a living. With Steve, it was a little different. Because of the intensity of his treatment over a long period of time, he suspected the day would come when he’d have to file a disability claim. That didn’t make him feel better when he needed to start thinking about paying his bills.

“I didn’t have a huge income, but I was comfortable. I made enough to enjoy things like going out to dinner every once in a while,” he said. “Then I had to start planning for that loss in income, worrying about how the bills would get paid.”

Byrne and Mary gathered the necessary medical and other information to move his claim through as fast as possible so Steve could maintain his financial independence.

“I was under a lot of stress, but once everything started falling into place, I felt so much relief,” said Steve. “I used to manage a customer service team and my mantra was ‘kill ‘em with kindness.’ When you show people you care, you always win them over. Without question, I’d want Byrne and Mary on my team.”

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