Unum Group is boosting its stock dividend this year by another 11.5 percent, raising the quarterly payment to stockholders to 14 .5 cents per share.
The Chattanooga-based insurer announced the dividend increase today at its annual shareholders meeting in Portland, Maine. The increase will boost the annual dividend rate to 58 cents per share. Unum shares closed Wednesday ahead of the announcement at $27.59 per share.
"Our consistent operating performance and strong capital position have enabled us to again increase our common stock dividend, which along with our recent share repurchases is part of our strategy to return capital to shareholders," Unum CEO Tom Watjen said in a statement today.
With the latest increase, Unum will have n early doubled its dividend rate since 2007 when the company's dividend was 7.5 cents per share. The company has raised its dividend for five consecutive years.
Unum has also repurchased approximately $2.3 billion of its stock since the fourth quarter of 2007, reducing its outstanding share count by 26 percent.
Unum also announced today Kevin P. McCarthy, chief operating officer of the company and chief executive officer of its Unum U.S. operating unit, intends to retire in the first quarter of 2014. He is stepping down from his role as CEO of Unum U.S. effective July 1, 2013, while maintaining his position of chief operating officer of Unum Group.
Michael Q. Simonds, currently chief operating officer of Unum US, will succeed McCarthy as CEO of that unit.