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Unum headquarters in downtown Chattanooga.

Unum will increase its quarterly dividend by 13.5 percent, according to Richard McKenney, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

McKenney made the announcement today at the insurer's shareholders meeting in Chattanooga, bringing the total dividend per common share to 10.5 cents, as of the third quarter of 2011.

This is the third consecutive year the company has raised the dividend, after increasing it 10 percent in 2009, and another 12.1 percent in 2010.

Tom Watjen, president and chief executive officer, said the company has consistantly focused on rewarding shareholders for their patience over the last few years of the recession.

"Our consistant 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," Watjen said.

The announcement comes as Unum is in the process of buying back $1 billion in common sharers, bring its total share repurchases since 2008 to $1.28 billion. Officials plan to buy an additional $920 million in stock back to complete the current effort under way.

For more information, pick up a copy of Thursday's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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