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As a manger of any large insurance company you have been asked to undertake an assessment of the current environment in which your company (to be chosen by the student) would need to appreciate before deciding to launch (or not to launch) an entry into another country or region. What strategic plans would you propose in order for the company to remain competitive?

· Major characteristics of the country might include items of social, educational, economic, cultural, political, infrastructure, significance…etc. It is therefore up to the student to select those aspects that he/she considers most significant.

· It might be a good idea to start by analysing the current activities of your company and the factors influencing the activities you identify.

· Select a country or a region from 5 world areas: Africa, Asia, Europe (especially the East), Middle East, and the Americas as a potential target. It will be up to the student select his/her country/region.

· Review and reveal a critical understanding of the literature relevant to the subject area and relate theory to practice.

· Show an understanding of the implications of the assignment for the case study organisation and/or management practice generally.

· Provide evidence of the authors' willingness to express their own ideas. Original and creative approaches to the topic will be welcome, and accordingly rewarded.

· Show the authors' ability to reflect on learning arising from the completion of the module.
· Read through thoroughly the literature and identify key words and points of issues, especially strategic aspects.

· Formulate a draft assignment plan featuring the main headings and sub-headings of the assignment.

· Ensure you have good paragraphs of introduction and conclusion with a bibliography reflecting research sources.

· Produce a content list at the commencement of the assignment.

· The assignment must be in English and typed with each page numbered. Appendices may be included to feature tabulations and other specified relevant data.

· The plan of the assignment should be logical in the sequence of points discussed.

· The pose should be a rational and analytical commentary and completely focused on the assignment. Assignments full of assertions and opinions will receive poor (even failing) grades. Logical and well-reasoned arguments will receive high grades.

· Avoid checklists and any slang language. Summary lists should be fully explained in the text. Ideally use shorter sentences rather than longer sentences. Overall the projects should have a strategic focus. It should be professionally presented and, where appropriate, be illustrated by examples drawn from your own experiences.

· All research data used should be identified in the text and the bibliography.
· The assignment must represent all your own work and not extracts without acknowledgement from research sources or other colleagues/students. Assignments which copy material from the Module or text books without acknowledgement will be given a fail grade. Do NOT copy any material from a fellow student's assignment. BOTH assignments will be given a fail grade so don't give your assignment to another student.

· The 'Harvard' referencing system should be adopted. For more details on how to use the 'Harvard' referencing system you may refer to;

o Cottrell, S. (1999) The Study Skills Handbook (UEL edition) Basingstoke, Macmillan.
o Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students (third edition) Harlow, Pearson Education Ltd.

· Keep to the terms of the assignment and do not introduce irrelevant information. Answer the question set not the one you wish had been set.

· Ensure the assignment is completed by the date specified and has the required number of words.


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Background of Unum
UnumProvident Corporation (NYSE: UNM) is a publicly owned insurance holding company formed by the June 30, 1999 merger of UNUM Corporation of Portland, Maine and Provident Companies, Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This merger was the culmination of combining the three leading income protection carriers into one....Paul Revere, Provident and UNUM. UnumProvident is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is part of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
Through its subsidiaries, UnumProvident is the industry leader1 in group and individual income protection and related coverages and services, insuring more than 25 million people. UnumProvident offers a comprehensive, integrated portfolio of products and services backed by industry-leading return-to-work resitsces and disability expertise. Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, UnumProvident has significant U.S. operations in Portland, Maine, Worcester, Massachusetts, Glendale, California and Columbia, South Carolina (Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company) and in the United Kingdom, Dorking, England. The Company employs more than 13,000 people worldwide.
In 2003, UnumProvident reported revenue totaling $10.0 billion which included $7.6 billion of premium income. Total assets at December 31, 2003 of Unum stood at$49.7 billion and shareholder equity stood at $7.3 billion.
Market Strength of the Selected Company
More than 45% of Fortune 500 companies and thousands of companies of all sizes as Unum and as thousands of indivduals across the country have chosen to do business with the people of UnumProvident trusting its insurance products and related services to:
help protect employees and individuals from the financial effects of illness, injury, death or long term care needs, enable them to stay at work or to return to work after an illness or injury, and balance their work with their personal lives
help employers better manage their overall benefits program, enhance productivity, and provide for their employees' welfare.
Benefit solutions are designed to meet the specific needs of employers in all size segments in a wide range of industries.
What the company says about its strenghts
"At UnumProvident, Unum and its employees are committed to making a difference in the lives of those Unum and its employees serve. By offering a range of insurance solutions specifically designed for the needs of its customers, Unum and its employees help individuals and families balance their work and personal lives, protect their incomes and assets from the financial effects of injury or illness, and return to work after an absence. "
The company's community services and reputation
UnumProvident and its employees are an important part of the communities . As a company, it United Way and other philanthropic giving programs. In fact, a cornerstone of The UnumProvident Commitment is the responsibility to its communities, and last year alone it gave $3.3 million to charitable groups in the U.S. and the U.K. in addition to the $790,000 of employee contributions to local organizations

Its employees' volunteer efforts are another way Unum and its employees give back to its communities. By volunteering to be a mentor, work on a local Habitat for Humanity home or by giving time to any number of organizations, UnumProvident employees truly make a difference. Volunteer activities are so important that it has created the "Voice of the Volunteer" program to recognize the good works of employees throughout the company.
At its heart, UnumProvident is a company of people serving people. Unum and its employees provide more than a benefit check to claimants...Unum and its employees provide a wide range of benefits and services designed to help people during what is often the most trying time of their lives - loss of income due to illness or injury.
Unum and its employees are committed to paying all valid claims. In 2003 alone, Unum and its employees replaced over $4.1 billion in lost income to help support families. To common knowledge, this is more than any other income protection provider in the world.
Its claims paying philosophy is simple, yet direct:
Make appropriate decisions by providing a thorough, fair, and objective evaluation of all claims
Pay all valid claims in a timely manner with a high level of service
Partner with its customers in their efforts to return to work or to independent living
Its claims process -- Unum and its employees call it "The Benefits Center" -- is unique helping its customers return to work following an injury or illness. Unum and its employees have invested heavily in a highly innovative process that is supported by a significant number of specialty and clinical facilities, including its FMLA services, disability reporting/analysis, integrated disability management and more. Within its claims operation, its employees are all working on behalf of the millions of customers who have put their trust in UnumProvident. Through these commitments, Unum and its employees have generated return-to-work results better than industry averages1.
UnumProvident is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has offices around the globe with a significant corporate presence in Portland, Maine; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Glendale California. Its subsidiaries include Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company in South Carolina and Unum Limited in England.
Its focus on helping people return to the fullness of their lives extends beyond its business interests and into the cities and towns where Unum and its employees live, work and play. UnumProvident has long recognized the importance of providing philanthropic support in the communities Unum and its employees call home and encitsage its employees to do so, as Unum and its employeesll. In 2003 Unum and its employees contributed more than $3.3 million to not-for-profit organizations across the United States and United Kingdom through locally made-decisions in its home cities. Through its matching gift program, Unum and its employees matched an additional $790,000 of donations made by North American employees to local organizations and schools. This dedication to helping its communities reach their highest potential is a natural extension of its mission to help its claimants return to the fullness of their lives.

Committed to putting people first, Unum and its employees have the privilege of protecting the incomes of more than 25 million people around the world through its industry-leading income protection plans, and of serving the needs of millions more through its related life, long term care and supplemental insurance programs. Unum and its employees focus its resitsces on making a difference, one person at a time.

An important part of its leadership commitment to customers, shareholders and partners is to maintain a solid financial base to support its specialty business. Over the past 18 months, UnumProvident has taken a number of steps to strengthen its financial position for the benefit of policyholders, including raising significant levels of capital and strengthening its reserve base. As a result of these and other steps, its balance sheet is now stronger than at any other time since its 1999 merger.
Through the restructuring efforts over the past year Unum and its employees have taken the right steps to build a stronger company. As Unum and its employees move forward, Unum and its employees will remain focused on meeting its financial and strategic objectives and improving its operating earnings.
Nothing is more important to its than the ability to be there when its customers needs it most - following a disabling accident or illness.
Benefiting hundreds of thousands of individuals and families each year, the fair, thorough and objective claims process Unum and its employees have worked hard to build resulted in the replacement of $4.1 billion in lost disability-related income in 2003 alone. While Unum and its employees are proud of its achievements and industry leadership in this area, Unum and its employees continue to listen to its customers, their advisors, regulators and others to help us further improve its process for the benefit of those who count on us
the financial effects of disability, critical illness, long term care and yits own mortality. Whether you purchase UnumProvident's coverages through yits employer or through an insurance agent, Unum and its employees supply the products that will help meet yits specific insurance needs
Disability income protection insurance
Long term care insurance
Life insurance